Rev. Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, died on Wednesday in Regensburg, Germany. He was 96. The Diocese of Regensberg said that the priest suffered from a serious illness. Last month, Pope Benedict even traveled from the Vatican to see his brother in Germany.
Fr. Georg Ratzinger was a celebrated choirmaster and has served various German churches. He also traveled frequently to the Vatican to visit his younger brother even before he became pope and up until his retirement. Their relationship always had a special place in each other’s hearts.
As we celebrate Fr. Georg’s life, we take a look at the closeness and brotherhood of the Ratzinger boys.
They were ordained together.
Georg and Joseph (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) were ordained together on June 29, 1951 in the Cathedral in Freising. Georg entered the St. Michael’s Archdiocesan Minor Seminary in Traunstein first, and Joseph followed him years later. “Take good care of Joseph,” his mother instructed Georg—one that he kept all throughout their lives. (Read: Popes Benedict and Francis star in Netflix’s ‘The Two Popes’)
They both loved Inspector Rex.
After the war, the Ratzinger brothers remained close. Georg would often visit Joseph at the Vatican where the latter was archbishop. In the as-told-to memoir My Brother, the Pope in 2011, Father Georg was asked if they watched television together at the Vatican. He replied, “Well, before the news, there used to be a television series Inspector Rex. We always used to watch it, because we like dogs, too. We are well acquainted with Herr Helmut Brossman, the owner of the German shepherd Rex, who plays the title role. He lives in the vicinity of Regensburg.”
Georg expressed dismay when Joseph was elected Pope because it would limit their time together.
The two brothers, though had different paths in life, remained extremely close. So when Joseph became Pope Benedict XVI, his kuya was not so happy. Georg was concerned that the stress of becoming the Holy Pontiff would affect his brother’s health and would limit their time together. However, the Pope Emeritus had his quarters modified in the Apostolic Palace—he had a special apartment made for his beloved brother, Georg! (Read: The Pope’s Home: Casa Santa Marta)
They were both fans of music.
Both Georg and the former pope loved classical music and the piano. In fact, it was the career path that Georg pursued. He was a well-renowned choirmaster of one of Europe’s greatest children’s choirs, the Regensburg Domspatzen from 1964 to 1994. Pope Benedict XVI is also a skilled piano player! A talent he must have learned from his older brother, no? (Read: You Won’t Be Able To Guess How These Popes Spent Their Free Times)
My Pope encourages everyone to pray for the eternal repose of Father Georg Ratzinger’s soul. May he rest in peace.