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Retired Pope Travels to Germany to Visit His Brother

Retired Pope Benedict XVI is seen in a file photo praying with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger in his private chapel at the Vatican. The Vatican announced June 18, 2020, that Pope Benedict XVI, who is 93, traveled to Germany to visit his ailing older brother, who is 96. (Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters) 

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Retired Pope Benedict XVI, who is 93 years old, traveled to Germany to visit his ailing older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who is 96.

The Vatican press office confirmed that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI went to Germany June 18 to visit his brother.

“The pope emeritus is now in the city of Regensburg, where he will spend the time necessary,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was accompanied by his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, one of the consecrated laywomen who cares for him and his household and the vice commander of the Vatican gendarme corps, Bruni said.

The two brothers, who were ordained to the priesthood together in 1951, have always been close. While his brother was pope and even after he stepped down from the papacy, Msgr. Ratzinger would come to the Vatican to spend Christmas and a summer holiday with his brother.

The two also had a sister, Maria, who died in 1991.

While Father Joseph Ratzinger pursued advanced theology studies, served as a professor and an archbishop before moving to the Vatican as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then as pope, Msgr. Ratzinger became famous as director of the renowned Regensburg boys’ choir from 1964 to 1994, when he retired.

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