POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI PENS EMOTIONAL LETTER FOR FUNERAL OF HIS BROTHER, GEORG RATZINGER

Pope Benedict was able to watch the funeral of his brother Georg via live-streaming from Rome yesterday. Following is a letter he wrote about his brother that was read in the Regensburg cathedral by Abp. George Gaenswein, Benedict’s longtime private secretary. Benedict remembers his brother as first and foremost a priest, a man of God and a cheerful soul.

POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI PENS EMOTIONAL LETTER FOR FUNERAL OF HIS BROTHER, GEORG RATZINGER

By Vatican News

The funeral of Father Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, was held on Wednesday at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Regensburg, Germany.

Fr. Georg Ratzinger died at the age of 96 on 1 July after being hospitalized in Regensburg, the city where he lived the greater part of his life. His death came just over a week after the Pope emeritus made a visit in mid-June to Regensburg to be with his ailing brother.

Following his brother’s death, Pope Francis sent a personal note of condolences to his predecessor, assuring the Pope emeritus of his prayers both for his brother and for Benedict himself.

During the funeral celebrated by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, Archbishop Georg Gänswein read an emotional letter written by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI for the occasion.

Gratitude
“At this hour when you offer my brother the final brotherly service and guide him on his final earthly path, I am with you,” the Pope emeritus assured in his letter.

Pope emeritus Benedict also said that people “from many countries, social and professional backgrounds” had written to him in a way that touched his heart.

Lamenting his inability to reply to each one of them personally, he nonetheless thanked them for accompanying him at this time. He also thanked all those who have been with his late brother “visibly and invisibly” during these past weeks.

“The echo of his life and work, which I have received in these days in the form of letters, telegrams and emails, goes far beyond what I could have imagined,” he wrote, adding that Cardinal Newman’s quip “cor ad cor loquitur” has become true for him, as hearts speak to each other beyond words on paper.

Priest and musician
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI said three characteristics came up in his recollections about his brother.

The first – wrote the Pope emeritus – is that his brother “received and understood his vocation to the priesthood as a musical vocation at the same time.”

He recalled that already in the early years of his elder brother’s life at Tittmoning, Georg took the personal initiative to train himself thoroughly in music. These studies led him to become the Kapellmeister of Regensburg Cathedral and guide of the Regensburger Domspatzen (The Regensburg Cathedral choir) – a title that Georg would not have accepted – the Pope emeritus said, if their Mother was still alive. The Pope emeritus recalled that their mother died around the same time as Kapellmeister Schrems, the predecessor of Georg Ratzinger as Domkapellmeister of Regensburger Domspatzen.

He remarked that this service became “more and more of a joy” for his late brother, adding, however, that “hostility and rejection were not lacking, especially in the beginning.” At the same time, he noted that his brother became a father figure to the many young people who remained with him in the choir.

“My heartfelt thanks also go to all of them at this hour when I was allowed to experience again how he had become and always realized himself again as a priestly person, being a priest and musician,” he wrote.

Cheerfulness
The second characteristic about his brother that the Pope emeritus remembered is “his cheerfulness, his humor, and his joy for the good gifts of creation.”

“At the same time, however,”  he wrote, “he was a man of direct speech as he expressed his convictions openly.”

He said that despite living in almost total blindness for more than 20 years, his brother “accepted” his situation and “overcame it inwardly.”

A man of God
The Pope emeritus pointed out that “sobriety and honesty were the true center” of his late brother’s life, adding that, “in the end, he was always a man of God.”

Recalling his last visit with his brother, the Pope emeritus said that, when he said “goodbye” to his brother on June 22, he “knew it would be a farewell from this world forever.” Yet he expressed surety in the fact that “the good Lord, who has given us this union in this world, reigns in the other world and will give us a new union.”

“In the end, I would like to thank him for allowing me to be with him again in the last days of his life,” he wrote. “He did not ask me to visit him. But I felt it was time to go see him again. I am deeply grateful for this inner sign that the Lord has given me.”

In conclusion, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI thanked his brother. “Thank you, dear Georg, for all that you have done, suffered and given me.” He also thanked Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer for his assistance.

(A good friend, author and fellow journalist, Michael Hesemann from Dusseldorf, Germany, posted some photos of the funeral of Pope Benedict’s brother, Georg on his FB page but there was no possibility to share. That has been remedied so click below to see those pictures. Michael knew Msgr. Georg and knows Benedict XVI as well. He wrote a terrific book, an interview with Georg, called “My Brother the Pope.” https://www.facebook.com/michael.hesemann/posts/10158464482432270?comment_id=10158464573717270&reply_comment_id=10158469852797270&notif_id=1594285160976192&notif_t=comment_mention

VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND – FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

There will probably be little news from or about Pope Francis this month as he traditionally reduces his working schedule, including the weekly general audiences and private encounters, during July. He is scheduled to appear at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace on Sundays for the Angelus as part of his working vacation.

EWTN employees have been given Friday, July 3 and Monday, July 6 as holidays so these pages might be quiet. I’ll stay on top of news stories and may pop in if something extraordinary develops (which we really do not want to happen in such hot weather). Often I repost stories I see on Facebook so you may find some news there (facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420).

In any case, I wish each and every one of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, healthy and patriotic July 4th! Our nation truly needs prayers and that would be the best gift to our country on this 244th anniversary!

VATICAN INSIDER GOES UNDERGROUND

This weekend on “Vatican Insider,” I’ll take you on a tour of the Vatican’s famed “scavi” – Italian for excavations – the celebrated pre-Constantine necropolis (‘city of the dead’) that lies under the basilica named for the first Pope, Peter, who is buried in this necropolis. In fact, one of the most special visits you will make in the Eternal City, and possibly all of Italy, is to the scavi.

I mention Constantine as he became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict in February 313 that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.

Because of the extremely limited number of people allowed into the scavi on a daily basis, reservations are given out on a first come – first served basis. I absolutely recommend that you contact the scavi office for tickets between three and four months prior to your arrival in Rome. YES, 3 or 4 months before you arrive!

I do not know all the rules and regulations regarding tours in a coronavirus era but here’s a link to the website. I just spoke to the scavi office and learned they will re-open Monday, July 6: http://www.scavi.va/content/scavi/en/ufficio-scavi.html

FRANCIS EXPRESSES SYMPATHY AND CLOSENESS TO BENEDICT XVI ON LOSS OF BROTHER

The Vatican today published Pope Francis’ letter to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI whose older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 96, died in Regensburg, Germany Wednesday morning, July 1. On June 29th the brothers marked the 69th anniversary of priestly ordination.

Addressed to “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus,” Francis wrote: “You had the sensitivity to be the first to inform me of the news of the death of your beloved brother, Monsignor Georg. I wish to renew my deepest sympathy and spiritual closeness to you in this moment of sorrow.  I assure you of my prayers for the repose of the soul of the late and lamented, that the Lord of life, in His merciful goodness, may welcome him into heaven and grant him the reward prepared for faithful servants of the Gospel. I pray also for you, Your Holiness, invoking the Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the support of Christian hope and tender divine consolation.

Always united in faith in the Risen Christ, the source of hope and peace,

Filially and fraternally,

Francis

Vatican media file photo

GEORG RATZINGER, BROTHER OF POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT, DIES IN REGENSBURG – FABRIC OF ST PETER: THE POPE APPOINTS EXTRAORDINARY COMMISSIONER

I have no words to express my gratitude, my heartfelt THANK YOU, GRAZIE, GRACIAS; MERCI for the hundreds of birthday cards that, even today, continue to arrive! Cards with messages, flowers, videos, photos, prayers, and Masses said for me. Cards from my family and an extended worldwide family of friends and fans, people whom I know well in person and people I feel I know well but have never met. Your words made my already very rich life just that much richer and if I could, I’d respond to each one of you! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Many thanks to Jim and Joy of “At Home with Jim and Joy” for a beautiful birthday tribute after my appearance from Rome towards the end of Monday’s live show (about minute 23). Included was a cake made by the show’s producer Mark and decorated by his wife, Maria! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPz3aUtmX7s)

Photos of my birthday celebrations to be posted later today or tomorrow due to the commitments I have this afternoon.

GEORG RATZINGER, BROTHER OF POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT, DIES IN REGENSBURG

The elderly Bavarian priest had been hospitalized in Regensburg, in Bavaria, where he lived and where he received his brother Joseph’s final visit, with whom he had been ordained on the same day.

By Vatican News

Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of the Pope emeritus, died Wednesday morning, aged 96. He had been hospitalized in Regensburg, the city where he lived the greater part of his long life. With his death, Joseph Ratzinger – who had desired to make the journey by plane to see his dying brother one last time – remains the only member of the family still alive. The two brothers – one a musician and kappellmeister of a famous choir, the other first a theologian and then a bishop, cardinal, and finally pope – were ordained together on the same day, and were always closely united.

FOR MORE: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-07/georg-ratzinger-death-benedict-xvi-brothers.html

FABRIC OF ST PETER: THE POPE APPOINTS EXTRAORDINARY COMMISSIONER

Pope Francis appoints Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Mario Giordana as extraordinary commissioner whose role will be to bring clarity to the administration of the Fabric and update its Statutes.

By Vatican News

Following the recent promulgation of the Motu Proprio “On transparency, control and competition in the procedures for the award of public contracts of the Holy See and Vatican City State,” the Holy Father, on 29 June, appointed Apostolic Nuncio,  Archbishop Mario Giordana as Extraordinary Commissioner for the Fabric of Saint Peter (Fabbrica di San Pietro).

A statement from the Holy See Press office said the Archbishop will be tasked with “updating the Statutes, clarifying the administration and reorganizing the administrative and technical offices of the Fabric.” In this delicate task, the Commissioner will be assisted by a commission.

The press office stated that this choice “also follows a report from the offices of the Auditor General which this morning led to the acquisition of documents and electronic equipment at the technical and administrative offices of the Fabric of Saint Peter.” The latter operation was “authorised by decree of the Court’s Promoter of Justice, Gian Piero Milano, and the Deputy, Alessandro Diddi, after informing the Secretariat of State.”

The Fabric of Saint Peter (in Latin, Reverenda Fabrica Sancti Petri) is the institution created for the management of all the works necessary for the building and artistic construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The Fabric is entrusted with the complex management of the largest church in the world and the structures on the adjacent territory.

 

VATICAN INSIDER: ST. SEBASTIAN BASILICA AND CATACOMBS – POPE BENEDICT XVI CELEBRATES MASS WITH HIS ILL BROTHER ON FEAST OF THE SACRED HEART

I am so happy to share the lovely news of the two Ratzinger brothers – Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and Msgr. Georg – saying mass together in Regensburg, Germany. And this just days before the June 29 anniversary of their priestly ordination in the cathedral of Freising on that day in 1951!

Msgr. Georg lives in this building on Luzengasse in Regensburg.

I took this photo in September 2006 when Benedict made a visit to his beloved Bavaria. Wednesday, September 13, was set aside as a day for the two brothers to spend together – no public activities for Benedict XVI – and the Munich Tourism Office offered several possible day or half-day trips for the media. I signed up for a trip to visit all the places of the pope’s childhood and youth and to this very day, it was one of the best travel memories I ever had in Germany.

When I returned to Rome I bought a photo printer, took perhaps 24 of the best photos I had taken during my trip and made copies from the memory card. I bought a beautiful photo album, put one picture on each page with a one-word description of each place (not that I thought it would be necessary!) and gave that album to Pope Benedict!

Maybe some day I’ll do a slideshow of some of the enchanting places associated with the pope’s childhood and youth.

VATICAN INSIDER: ST. SEBASTIAN BASILICA AND CATACOMBS

As you know, because of the COVID-19 crisis and restrictions imposed on and by people for in person interviews – at least up to now – in recent weeks I have filled what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider with Specials. So far, I’ve explored 6 of the 7 Roman basilicas known as the Pilgrim Basilicas – St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Paul’s outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, and St. Lawrence al Verano. Come with me this weekend as we go to the basilica of St. Sebastian that was built above the catacombs of the same name and is dedicated to the third-century saint who was twice martyred.

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So tune in for some fascinating facts and when you come to Rome, you’ll have this podcast as your guide to St. Sebastian!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE BENEDICT XVI CELEBRATES MASS WITH HIS ILL BROTHER ON FEAST OF THE SACRED HEART

The brothers celebrated Mass together at the house in Regensburg and the pope emeritus then travelled to the diocesan seminary in the afternoon to rest.

Catholic News Agency

REGENSBURG, Germany — Pope emeritus Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass with his ailing brother on the feast of the Sacred Heart during his first full day in Germany Friday.

A June 19 statement from the Diocese of Regensburg said that after Pope Benedict XVI arrived from Rome at noon on Thursday he immediately visited his 96-year-old brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

The brothers celebrated Mass together at the house in Regensburg and the pope emeritus then travelled to the diocesan seminary in the afternoon to rest. In the evening, he returned to see his brother.

The diocese said: “For the first morning in his old homeland, an authentic Bavarian breakfast awaited the pope emeritus in the seminary. There were pretzels, which Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who accompanied him, was also pleased about.”

“In the course of the morning the two brothers will celebrate together a high mass for today’s feast of the Sacred Heart.”

The diocese added that “afterwards there will be apple strudel,” a popular pastry in Bavaria and Austria.

FOR MORE: https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-xvi-celebrates-mass-with-his-ill-brother-on-feast-of-the-sacr

 

POPE EMERITUS AT BEDSIDE OF HIS BROTHER IN GERMANY

POPE EMERITUS AT BEDSIDE OF HIS BROTHER IN GERMANY 

From AciStampa:

A state flight from Ciampino airport brought Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to Munich and then to Regensburg this morning. The Pope Emeritus joined his seriously ill brother Georg with a decision that once again surprises everyone.

Around 12.30 Benedict landed in Munich and then went to his brother’s residence.  Before getting into the car to get to the diocesan seminary where the Pope emeritus is staying, he blessed little Kostantin, two weeks old. Despite his 93 years the Pope emeritus was in good shape and energy.

Monsignor Ratzinger is 96 years old and the bond between the two brothers has always been very strong. The Pope Emeritus was accompanied by Archbishop Gänswein, his personal secretary.

The decision was made quickly after his brother’s health had rapidly deteriorated in recent days, although he remained in his residence.  Because of the pandemic, Monsignor Georg had not been able to be in the Vatican as always at Easter.

Benedict was received by Bishop Georg Bätzing. Prior to his departure Benedict received a visit from Pope Francis.