VATICAN CITY Pope Benedict XVI hit his head during his March 2012 trip to Mexico, the Vatican said Thursday, but denied the accident had any “relevant” role in his resignation.
It was the latest revelation of a hidden health issue to emerge from the Holy See since the pope’s resignation announcement, and adds to questions about the gravity of the pontiff’s condition. On Tuesday, the Vatican said for the first time that Benedict has a pacemaker, and that he had its batteries replaced just three months ago.
Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported Thursday that Benedict hit his head and bled when he got up in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar bedroom in Leon, Mexico. The report said blood stained his hair and sheets.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi confirmed the incident but said “it was not relevant for the trip, in that it didn’t affect it, nor in the decision” to resign.
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported earlier in the week that Benedict had taken the decision to resign after the Mexico-Cuba trip, which was physically exhausting for the 85-year-old pope.
Earlier Thursday, Benedict held a 45-minute, off-the-cuff reminiscence about the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s, blaming the media for what he called the media’s distorted interpretation of the church meetings at the time for many “calamities” that plague the Catholic Church today.