Pope Benedict XVI to stay at summer residence



Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI will stay at the papal summer residence outside Rome when he officially steps down Feb 28 before moving into a former nunnery within the Vatican walls, the Holy See announced.

"When renovation work on the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican is complete, the Holy Father will move there for a period of prayer and reflection," said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

The first pontiff to retire in six centuries has said that he will move out of the papal apartments overlooking St Peter's Square after he ceases to be Pope at 8 p.m. Feb 28.

He initially stays at the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, a medieval castle beside a lake that is equipped with a swimming pool, where his predecessor the late John Paul II had therapy for Parkinson's disease.

Eighty-five-year-old Benedict announced Monday that he would resign at the end of the month due to advanced age and frail health. His move took his close aides and the world by surprise.

Lombardi denied that the pontiff was suffering from any particular illness although it has emerged that the Pope underwent surgery to replace his pacemaker three months ago and was advised against long-distance travel. "I reinterate that there are no specific ailments but rather a weakening due to old age. The replacement of the pacemaker was routine and in no way contributed to the decision that has been taken," Lombardi said Tuesday.

Cardinals hope to elect a new Oope before Easter, March 31.

IANS