Pope vows to keep low profile as details of head injury emerge14 February 2013
Pope Benedict XVI suggested again today that he planned to keep a low profile after he retires on 28 February. Meeting priests based in Rome he said: "Even if I am withdrawing into prayer, I will always be close to all of you ... even if I remain hidden to the world."
The Vatican said today that Benedict XVI's private secretary, the 56-year-old Mgr Georg Gänswein, would remain as his secretary and live with him in the nearby monastery in which he is to take up residence - as well as remain prefect of the new pope's household.
The Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi confirmed today that the Pope had fallen and hit his head during his trip to Mexico last March, which contributed to his thinking about resigning.
Italy's La Stampa newspaper reported today that Benedict had hit his head on the sink when he got up in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar bedroom in Leon, Mexico. Blood stained his hair, pillow and carpet, the report said, but the cut was neither deep nor serious and was obscured from view by his skullcap.
Yesterday in his Ash Wednesday address, the Pope appeared to rebuke those who have pointed out "scandals and injustices" in the Church while not allowing God to challenge their own behaviour. Quoting from the reading from Joel 2, which includes the exhortation "Rend your hearts and not your garments", he said: "Today, in fact, many are ready to ‘rend their garments' over scandals and injustices - which are of course caused by others - but few seem willing to act according to their own ‘heart', their own conscience and their own intentions, by allowing the Lord transform, renew and convert them."
And speaking as cardinals began thinking about who to elect as his successor, he also made an impassioned plea for unity, saying that division - sins against the unity of the Church - "disfigured" the face of the Church. He said Lent was a time for "overcoming individualism and rivalry". He also urged his hearers from seeking their own glory.
And, in a statement made poignant by his dramatic resignation announcement two days earlier, he added: "The true disciple does not serve himself or the ‘public', but his Lord, in simplicity and generosity."
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