Read as much as you want on BostonGlobe.com, anywhere and anytime, for just 99¢.

Pope has had pacemaker for years, Vatican acknowledges

Will have no role in election of successor

Pope Benedict XVI waved to the crowd at the end of a papal Mass in Regensburg, southern Germany, in 2006.

Wolfgang Radtke/AP File

Pope Benedict XVI waved to the crowd at the end of a papal Mass in Regensburg, southern Germany, in 2006.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is acknowledging for the first time that Pope Benedict XVI has had a pacemaker for years and that its battery was replaced a few months ago in secret.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Benedict had the pacemaker installed ‘‘a long time’’ before he became pope in 2005. He called the latest medical procedure ‘‘routine.’’

Continue reading below

It was the first time the Vatican has mentioned a papal pacemaker.

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.

Benedict is resigning on Feb. 28 because he says he has become too infirm to handle the burdens of the papacy. He will become the first pope to step down in six centuries.

Continue reading it below

Lombardi also said Tuesday that Benedict XVI will play no role in election of his successor.

‘‘The pope will surely say absolutely nothing about the process of the election,’’ Lombardi told reporters at a Vatican briefing. ‘‘He will not interfere in any way.”

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week