CNA Staff, Jun 18, 2020 / 05:35 am
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is making a private visit to Germany to see his ailing brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.
CNA Deutsch, CNA's German-language partner agency, said June 18 it had confirmed with sources close to the pope emeritus that Benedict XVI was visiting his 96-year-old brother in Regensburg.
It is believed to be Benedict XVI’s first trip outside Italy since he stood down as pope in 2013.
CNA Deutsch reported that the private family visit was motivated by the state of Msgr. Ratzinger’s health.
Benedict, 93, made the journey from Rome to his Bavarian homeland with his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein.
In a statement June 18, Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, said: “It is with great joy and respect that I welcome Pope emeritus Benedict XVI to Germany. We are happy that he, who was a member of our bishops’ conference for several years, has returned to his homeland, although the occasion is a sad one. The pope emeritus wants to be close to his brother, Protonotary Apostolic Dr. Georg Ratzinger, whose health has deteriorated.”
“From the bottom of my heart I wish Pope emeritus Benedict XVI a good stay in Germany and the necessary rest to look after his brother privately. My prayers will accompany his stay and the journey of his brother Georg.”
The Diocese of Regensburg said in a statement Thursday: “Pope emeritus Benedict XVI flew this morning from Rome to Bavaria to be at the side of his seriously ill 96-year-old brother. It is perhaps the last time that the two brothers, Georg and Joseph Ratzinger, will see each other in this world.”