Georg Ratzinger travels to Rome to visit his brother

The older brother of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says his famous sibling "just feels freer now" and his life is "more relaxed"

Georg Ratzinger travels to Rome to visit his brother

Regensburg, December 29, 2014 ( Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, former music director of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the Boys’ Choir of the Cathedral in Regensburg, flew on Monday from Munich to Rome to visit his brother, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He will stay there until January 16, the prelate told Bavarian Radio on Monday. He looks forward to his weeks at the Vatican, not only because of his younger brother’s company, but also because of the good food. The cleric himself admits that he still has a good appetite. Moreover he likes the mild climate in Italy in the winter months. On January 15 Georg Ratzinger will turn 91.

The Monsignor commented on the present routine of his younger brother Joseph (aged 87), the Pope Emeritus: “He just feels freer now, after all. In the morning he opens his mail and writes letters, in the afternoon he often has audiences with bishops and God knows what else. But it is all more relaxed.” In Rome Georg Ratzinger will be met at the airport, otherwise “I couldn’t manage it.” On account of his age he cannot stand for any length of time waiting for his luggage.

Generally they take good care of him in every respect, the brother of the Pope Emeritus assured the interviewer. After the death of his housekeeper Agnes Heindl, who died in November 2013 at the age of 88, Sister Laurente now looks after him. The nun, who belongs to the Mallersdorf Sisters, does not just bake for him. She provides him and his brother and “if necessary” the Vatican too with gift packages of her homemade sweet mustard.

For many years now it has been Msgr. Ratzinger’s custom to visit his brother in Rome during the holidays. In 2011, in an interview with Michael Hesemann, he explained: “Naturally I travel to Rome for Christmas, but not until December 28, when the church celebrations are over…. So we spend the feast of the Epiphany together, which in Italy is celebrated even more than in Germany; there, unlike at home, it is the time for exchanging gifts…. When I visit my brother, we talk about all sorts of topics: about the past, about the problems in today’s world, about personal things, about health, and naturally about the weather occasionally, too.”

(Translated by Michael J. Miller)

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About Michael J. Miller 127 Articles
Michael J. Miller Michael J. Miller translated Priesthood and Diaconate by Gerhard Ludwig Müller for Ignatius Press and Eucharist and Divorce: A Change in Doctrine? for the Pontifical John Paul II Institute.