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Germany: Pope Benedict XVI’s brother dies

Benedict XVI’s older brother Georg Ratzinger died in Bavaria at the age of 96, more than two weeks after the pope emeritus’ surprise visit to his bedside, we learned on Wednesday from the Holy See. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, aged 93, flew on June 18 to his hospitalized and very ill brother for a four-day farewell visit, his first trip abroad since his renunciation in 2013 .

The two brothers, both ordained priests the same day in June 1951, were very close. Georg Ratzinger had often visited his famous brother at the Vatican. In Bavaria, the pope emeritus also went to the cemetery where his parents rest, but also his older sister Maria, who died in 1991. The latter took care of her brother Joseph (the future pope) all his life, following him to Rome.

Benedict XVI has fragile health

Due to his fragile state of health, Benedict XVI traveled in the company of a doctor and a nurse, but also of his private secretary, the German archbishop Georg Gänswein, who now takes care of him full-time. In the photos of his trip, he appeared very diminished, moving only in a wheelchair. Benedict XVI dreamed of retiring in his native Bavaria, but paradoxically spent the last four decades of his life at the Vatican.

In seven years of “retirement”, the German pope had previously only left the walls of the Vatican to go a few hours to the pontifical palace of Castel Gandolfo near Rome, in July 2019. Joseph Ratzinger announced in Latin in February 2013 to stunned cardinals that he gave up being pope, after eight years of a pontificate undermined by a deep crisis. This former German professor of theology, who taught for twenty-five years in German universities before being appointed Archbishop of Munich, was the very conservative guardian of the dogma of the Church at the head of the congregation for the Doctrine of faith for another quarter of a century in Rome, before being pope for eight years (2005-2013). (dpa / Le Matin)

Created: 07/01/2010, 2:38 p.m.

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