VATICAN CITY – The new Pope Benedict XVI (search) has no apparent history of chronic health problems, but the 78-year-old German has been hospitalized at least twice since the early 1990s, according to records and reports.
In September 1991, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that temporarily affected his left field of vision, according to the veteran Vatican (search) journalist John Allen in his 2000 book "Cardinal Ratzinger." There is no indication that it left any lingering health difficulties.
In August 1992, he cut his head after slipping in the bathroom during a vacation in the Italian Alps, the Italian news agency ANSA reported at the time.
Thomas Frauenlob, director of St. Michael's seminary in Traunstein where the pope studied as a youth and still visits annually, said he had never heard of any major ailments.
"He seems healthy," said Frauenlob, who last saw him over the New Year's holiday. "He comes and eats and drinks whatever he wants."
But the Rev. Thomas Reese (search), an expert on Vatican affairs, believed the new pontiff's health was "not that good" during the past year. He gave no specifics.