Speaking a press conference in Regensburg June 22, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer praised the bond between the two brothers.
He said: “One can only wish everyone such affection, such a fraternal togetherness, as witnessed in the relationship of the Ratzinger brothers. It lives on fidelity, trust, selflessness and a solid foundation: in the case of the Ratzinger brothers, this is the common, living faith in Christ, the Son of God.”
“The two brothers met nine times. Each of these encounters has clearly given them vitality, fresh courage and joy. Nine times they found each other with few words, with the familiar gestures and above all in prayer. Up to this day, the Eucharist was celebrated every day at the bedside -- in the smallest circle. On Friday, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, I was allowed to preside at Mass. One feels this is the source upon which they live.”
The bishop of Regensburg continued: “Benedict’s journey was perhaps also a farewell to his Bavarian homeland ... It was palpable how much Benedict blossomed when he saw the familiar landscape, the familiar lanes and paths, and, above all, the people through the windows of his car.”
Voderholzer added: “Benedict’s journey was also a spiritual journey. In my view, a circle was closed when we prayed together on Sunday at the shrine of St. Wolfgang in the Regensburg Cathedral. We prayed an intercessory litany to St. Wolfgang, then the Our Father, an Ave Maria. We sang the Te Deum and the Salve Regina. I asked Benedict for his blessing for the faithful and the church in Regensburg, which he willingly gave.”
Benedict XVI was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger in the town of Marktl in Bavaria in 1927. His older brother Georg is his last living family member.
On his final full day in Bavaria, Benedict XVI offered Sunday Mass with his brother in Luzengasse, Regensburg. He later went to pray at the shrine of St. Wolfgang, the patron saint of Regensburg diocese.
Archbishop Nikola Eterović, the apostolic nuncio in Germany, traveled from Berlin to meet with the pope emeritus in Regensburg over the weekend.
"It is an honor to welcome the pope emeritus again in Germany, even in this difficult family situation,” Eterović said June 21 following their meeting.
The nuncio said his impression during his meeting with Benedict was “that he feels good here in Regensburg.”
The former pope arrived in Bavaria on Thursday, June 16. Immediately upon his arrival, Benedict went to see his brother, the diocese reported. The brothers celebrated Mass together at the house in Regensburg and the pope emeritus then went to the diocesan seminary, where he stayed throughout the visit. In the evening, he returned to see his brother again.
On Friday, the two celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, according to a statement.
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On Saturday the former pope visited the residence in Pentling, just outside Regensburg, where he lived while serving as a professor from 1970 to 1977.
His last time seeing the home was during his 2006 pastoral trip to Bavaria.
The diocese said Benedict XVI then stopped at the Ziegetsdorf cemetery to spend time in prayer at the graves of his parents and sister.
Christian Schaller, deputy head of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute, told Regensburg diocese that during the pope emeritus’ visit to his former home “memories awoke.”
“It was a trip back in time,” he said.
Benedict stayed at his Pentling home and in its garden for about 45 minutes, and was reportedly moved by old family portraits.