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Pope Benedict XVI Visits Ailing Brother in Germany

The Pope Emeritus left the Vatican to be with his 96-year-old brother who is currently in poor health in Germany.

It is no secret that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is very close to his brother Georg. That’s why when the former pope knew that his elder brother was sick, he immediately rushed to Germany to be by his side.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI left Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican to be with the 96-year-old Georg Ratzinger, who is in poor health, in Germany. He went there Thursday morning, June 11, with his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein. Also with him were his doctor and his nurse, a member of the Memores Domini community, and the vice commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie. (Read: The Man Who Serves Two Popes)

Benedict was greeted by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer before he proceeded to Regensberg. He will reside at the diocesan seminary there. According to a statement from the Diocese of Regensberg, it is the wish of the two brothers that their “deeply personal meeting remain private.” No public appearances are anticipated. (Read: Prayers Of The Vatican In Difficult Times)

In addition, Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, said that Benedict XVI will remain in Germany as long as necessary.

Ratzinger Brothers

A 1951 photograph of the Ratzinger family shows Georg Ratzinger, back row, left, and Joseph after their ordination. Seated, from left, are Maria Ratzinger, mother Maria and father Josef. (Photo from Ersbistum Muenchen Und Freising via AFP / Getty Images / USA Today)

Born three years apart, Benedict XVI and his brother Georg, were ordained on the same day, June 29, 1951 in the Cathedral of Freising. Though they wish to be together all the time, life have taken them in different directions.

Georg is a brilliant musician while Joseph (Benedict XVI) is a noted theologian. Despite this, their bond remained firm—Georg would often visit his brother in the Vatican during the years when Benedict was pope and even after his resignation. The two of them would enjoy their favorite German beer. (Read: Happy 92nd Birthday, Pope Benedict!)

In 2008, the city of Castel Gandolfo has given honorary citizenship to Georg. In light of the momentous event, Pope Benedict XVI said that his brother “has always been for me not only a companion but also a trustworthy guide.”

Truly, Pope Benedict XVI has great affection for his brother.

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