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Vatican says pope hit head during Mexico trip

3:10 PM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
Pope Benedict XVI/AP
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VATICAN CITY - For the second time in three days, the Vatican announced an unknown health issue for Pope Benedict XVI when it confirmed the pontiff fell and cut his head in a trip to Mexico.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the March 2012 mishap had no impact on his decision Monday to resign.

Lombardi confirmed reports from Italy's La Stampa newspaper and others that Benedict hit his head and bled when he got up in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar bedroom in Leon, Mexico.

Lombardi said the wound had no impact on the pope's activities during the trip.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano had reported this week that Benedict had decided to resign after his trip to Mexico and Cuba, a mission that exhausted the 85-year-old pope. The Vatican did say that the six-day trip was a factor in Benedict's resignation.

The news of his head injury comes after the Vatican revealed Tuesday that Benedict has been aided for years by a heart pacemaker, a surgically implanted device that regulates heartbeat. That had nothing to do with the pope's resignation, the Vatican has said.

The resignation was due entirely to the pope's general health and advanced age. Benedict himself said Wednesday that he was resigning "for the good of the church," and has said at his announcement that the public duties and travel necessities of being pope were becoming far too taxing.

Benedict was the oldest pope to be appointed since Clement XII in 1730 when he was elected in April 2005. He is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, effective Feb. 28. A conclave of the church's 117 cardinals under age 80 will be held to appoint a new pope. The Vatican said a decision should be reached before Easter.

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