Retired Pope Benedict XVI’s Elder Brother Dies, Aged 96


Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI’s elder brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger was confirmed dead today, Wednesday, in Bavaria, aged 96.

Msgr. Ratzinger’s death comes just a little more than one week after the Pope Emeritus’ visit. Msgr. Georg Ratzinger died in Bavaria at the age of 96.

Pope Benedict XVI is a retired prelate of the Catholic Church who served as head of the Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013.

Benedict’s election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John.

According to information released by the Vatican, retired Pope Benedict was able to say a last goodbye to his elder brother on June 22 (after celebrating the Feast of Sacred Heart on June 19) at the end of a four-day trip to Germany to spend time with his ailing brother.

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“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,” Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg said June 22.

According to Voderholzer, the Eucharist was offered every day at Georg’s bedside during Benedict’s visit. The bishop said that when he participated in the Mass with the two brothers he felt that this “is the source upon which they live.”

Late Msgr. Ratzinger was born in Bavaria on January 15, 1924 as the first son of Joseph and Maria Ratzinger. He expressed an early talent for music, learning to play the violin and the church organ as a child.

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He went on to serve as the choir master of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the cathedral choir of Regensburg, from 1964 to 1994.

On June 29, 2011, he celebrated his 60th anniversary as a priest in Rome together with his brother. Both men were ordained priests in 1951.

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