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Former Pope Benedict In Germany To Visit Ailing Brother

Channels Television  
Updated June 18, 2020

 

Former pope Benedict XVI travelled from the Vatican to Germany on Thursday to visit his sick brother, officials said, in his first trip abroad since his shock resignation in 2013.

The unexpected trip to the Bavarian city of Regensburg was described as “a private visit” made necessary by the deteriorating health of Benedict’s 96-year-old brother Georg Ratzinger, said Clemens Neck, a spokesman for the Regensburg bishopric.

“It might be the last time the brothers see each other in this world,” Neck told AFP.

The Vatican confirmed the trip and said the only other time 93-year-old Benedict had left the Vatican since his resignation was a visit to the Castel Gandolfo papal palace outside Rome.

It is believed to be his first time back in Germany since 2011.

Benedict, seen as a traditionalist in the Catholic Church, stunned the world when he became the first pope in 600 years to resign, citing health reasons.

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The former pontiff, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger, now lives in a small former monastery inside the Vatican and has largely stayed out of the public eye.

“I wish Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI a good stay in Germany and the necessary rest to privately look after his brother,” Georg Baetzing, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, said in a statement.

The trip comes just days after numerous EU countries reopened their borders to Europeans as coronavirus lockdowns are eased.

Benedict’s brother Georg is a priest himself and a former conductor of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the cathedral choir of Regensburg.

AFP