Today Pope Benedict XVI thanked his brother Georg Ratzinger for having always been his companion, for being “a benchmark of confidence” and for helping him to accept his old age “with serenity, humility and courage.”
The Holy Father spoke during a ceremony presenting his older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger with the honorary citizenship of Castel Gandolfo, the Italian town south of Rome, where the Pope’s summer residence is located.
Benedict XVI revealed that “since the beginning of my life, my brother has not only been a companion, but also a trustworthy guide with the clarity and determination of his decisions. He always has shown me the path to take, including in difficult situations."
The Holy Father recalled the years he lived in Regensburg, where his brother was the cathedral choir director for 30 years. “The Sunday music offered me comfort, consolation, and a reflection of the beauty of God" the Pontiff recalled.
“We have reached the last stage of our lives, old age. The days left to live are progressively fewer, but in this stage, my brother helps me to accept with serenity, humility and courage the weight of each day. I thank him," he added.
The Pope also expressed gratitude to the town council for honoring his brother saying, “if it’s possible [Castel Gandolfo] has become even dearer to my heart.”
The Pontiff’s brother
Georg Ratzinger was born in 1924 in Pleiskirchen near Altötting, Germany. He is the oldest of three children. The second child of the Ratzingers, Maria, devoted her life to the care of her brothers (Georg and Joseph) until her death in 1991.
In 1946 George and his brother Joseph, now Pope Benedict, joined the seminary of the Archdiocese of Munich–Freising and received their priestly ordination in 1951.
In 1964, Georg became the choir director at the Regensburg Cathedral. Currently he lives in Pentling, near Regensburg in the house shared with his brother, Pope Benedict.