Pope Benedict XVI 'had pacemaker for years'

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 05:29 hrs

Sydney: The Vatican authorities have revealed that Pope Benedict XVI has had a pacemaker for years and that its battery was secretly replaced months ago.

Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi said Benedict had the pacemaker installed "a long time" before he became pope in 2005.

According to News.com.au, he called the latest medical procedure 'routine'.

Italian daily Il Sole 24 said the Pope had the pacemaker procedure less than three months ago in a Rome hospital and did not miss any public appearances.

The news comes two days after Benedict announced his resignation, saying he has become too infirm to handle the burdens of the papacy.

He will become the first pope to step down in six centuries.

The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new Pope before the end of March. 

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