Litany of secrets after papal retirement bombshell

VATICAN CITY (AP) — For an institution devoted to eternal light, the Vatican has shown itself to be a master of smokescreens since Pope Benedict XVI's shocking resignation announcement.

On Thursday, the Vatican spokesman acknowledged that Benedict hit his head and bled profusely while visiting Mexico in July.

Two days earlier the same man acknowledged that Benedict has had a pacemaker for years, and underwent a secret operation to replace its battery three months ago. The Vatican brushed aside criticism for keeping quiet about the pope's December pacemaker procedure, on grounds it was "routine."

And as the Catholic world reeled from shock over the abdication, it soon became clear that Benedict's post-papacy lodgings have been under construction for months. That put holes in the Vatican's early claims that Benedict kept his decision to himself until he revealed it.

John Thavis, author of "The Vatican Diaries," notes that "every Vatican employee and official takes an oath of secrecy."

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