Emeritus Pope visits seriously ill brother in Germany

Emeritus Pope Benedict

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, 93, left the Vatican for the first time last week since his 2013 resignation.

Benedict went to visit his older seriously ill brother, Msgr Georg Ratzinger who is being cared for in his home.

The Vatican says the Emeritus Pope’s visit was “purely private” and he would stay in the Bavarian city of Regensburg for as long as necessary.

His personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, one of the consecrated laywomen who cares for him and his household, a doctor, a nurse and the vice commander of the Vatican gendarme corps accompanied him.

The short-notice visit was sanctioned by Pope Francis.

In addition to visiting his brother, Benedict visited his former home where he greeted old neighbours and prayed at his parents’ grave.

Germany’s bishops were delighted to welcome the emeritus pope. He was met at Munich airport and welcomed by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, who accompanied him on to Regensburg by car.

“It is with great joy and respect that I welcome emeritus Pope Benedict,” the president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, declared in Bonn.

Batzing said he was praying for Benedict and his brother.

Diocesan spokesman Clemens Neck says Benedict’s visit with his brother was “invigorating” for both and the two had prayed together, although the state of Georg’s health meant they could not talk very much.

“It’s more about being there,” said Neck.

The emeritus pope and his brother were ordained to the priesthood together in 1951 and have always been close. Msgr Georg, who was a longtime choirmaster in Regensburg, often visited Benedict for Christmas and summer holidays.

Benedict returned to Rome on Monday.


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