Saturday, September 02, 2006

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The Ratzinger Brothers 1951

I know plenty of people who have "advice" for His Holiness (including me), so this is a surprize.

Pope's Brother Doesn't Offer Advice

By Irene Preisinger, The Associated Press

REGENSBURG, Germany - He may be the pope's big brother, but the Rev. Georg Ratzinger says he does not offer Benedict XVI advice.

"I can't give him much advice because I don't know the accompanying circumstances," Georg Ratzinger told The Associated Press during a brief interview in Regensburg, Germany.

"And superficial advice is often bad advice. So I hold off in that regard," he said.

Looking forward to the pope's visit to Germany and his native Bavaria Sept. 9-14, Ratzinger said he understood the expense of papal travel meant limits on his brother's lingering in his old haunts, including the house the pope still has in Regensburg's Pentling suburb.

One day of the trip is reserved for private time for the two brothers in Regensburg, and for the pope to visit the graves of his mother and father, Maria and Josef, and his sister, Maria, in a local cemetery. Otherwise, the pope will celebrate outdoor Masses in Munich, Regensburg, Altoetting and Freising.

"It's actually just half a day," Ratzinger, 82, said. "Whether it's enough or not, that's all there is. I wish there was more, but a visit is an enormously expensive matter with so many people taking part and the resulting costs. Every second is valuable."


In any case, Georg Ratzinger said he was able to spend almost a month at the papal summer retreat in Castelgandolfo, Italy this year.

The pope, born Joseph Ratzinger, and his brother were ordained priests on the same day in 1951. While Joseph became a theology professor, cardinal of Munich, top Vatican official and then pope, Georg made his career in music, conducting the renowned boys' choir of Regensburg Cathedral.

Asked if the pope, who left Bavaria in 1981 to become the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, gets homesick, Ratzinger said, "there's actually little opportunity, because he's always busy and his thoughts are filled with the tasks he must solve."

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