Pope’s brother visits ahead of birthday

Pope Benedict XVI’s brother is spending the weekend at the Vatican ahead of the pontiff’s 85th birthday.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published photos of the two sitting side-by-side in prayer after Mass on Saturday in the Pope’s private chapel.

It said Benedict on Friday night cut short an Easter week vacation at the papal holiday retreat in the hills outside Rome to welcome Georg Ratzinger, an 88-year-old priest and former choirmaster who is nearly blind.

The elder Ratzinger arrived from their native Germany for several key dates the two will celebrate together. Benedict on Thursday marks the seventh anniversary of his election as pontiff.

Georg Ratzinger has said that the two brothers have always been close. Continue reading

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