Pope's pacemaker battery replaced months ago

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican ((AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia))
February 12, 2013 2:58:03 PM PST
Pope Benedict XVI surprised the world for a second day in the row, revealing that he has a pacemaker the day after announcing his resignation at the end of the month.

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The pope has had the pacemaker for years, and just got his battery replaced a few months ago without telling the public. The pope is stepping down because of his health but the Vatican says the decision to retire is not from one specific ailment.

"He does have a heart condition, but that wasn't the reason for his resignation. People have pacemakers and have the batteries replaced all the time," Greg Burke, Vatican senior communications adviser, said. "Nothing immediate. There had been rumors that he had bone cancer, that's not true. Nothing immediate, just age catching up with him."

Where does the pope live after retirement? The answer for Pope Benedict appears to be right inside the walls of Vatican City. Construction crews are working to remodel a four-story building at the edge of the Vatican gardens. It's a monastery where cloistered nuns would live. Now it appears the soon-to-be-former pope will call this home.

"This pope will be living quietly, almost like a monk, almost like a scholar, but he won't take part in papal decisions," Robert Moynihan, editor: Inside the Vatican, said.

Benedict's brother, Father George Ratzinger spoke to reporters at his home in Germany. Ratzinger says he doesn't believe the world is ready for a pope from a developing country. He believes the next pope should again be a European, but that's his opinion. He's not a cardinal, so he doesn't vote.


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