85-Year Old Pope Benedict Stepping Down
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, known as Pope Benedict XVI will resign as leader of the Roman Catholic Church on February 28. The Vatican announced Pope Benedict will resign the Papacy due to his advanced age.
He is the first Pope since 1294, Pope Celestine V, to voluntarily resign from the Papacy.
In September 1991, Ratzinger allegedly suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, which slightly impaired his eyesight temporarily but he recovered completely. This was never affirmed, officially the Vatican said Ratzinger fell and struck his head against a radiator but this was an open secret known to the Conclave that elected him Pope.
Since his election in April 2005 there have been several rumors about the Pope's health but none of them have ever been confirmed. In May 2005, the Vatican revealed that he had subsequently suffered another mild stroke. French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin further revealed that since the first stroke, Ratzinger had been suffering from a heart condition as a result of his age, for which he is currently on medication.
On 17 July 2009, Benedict was hospitalized after falling and breaking his right wrist while on vacation in the Alps. His injuries were reported to be minor.
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