Georg Ratzinger is the brother of Benedict XVI and his last living relative. In his new book “My Brother, the Pope,” he tells the story of their personal history that spans close to nine decades.
Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927 in the small Bavarian town of Marktl. He grew up the son of a police officer in a Catholic family. He was also the youngest of three children in the Ratzinger family. His brother Georg was the oldest child, followed by their sister Maria.
Georg and Joseph joined the seminary together after coming home from the war. However, when they arrived home, they found a Germany that was very different from what they remembered.
“At that time every soldier coming back from the war had to prove that he had a job, to ensure that no one was idle, but that everyone participated in rebuilding the country which was largely destroyed.”
First hand accounts like this are told in the new book “My Brother, the Pope”. It tells the life stories of Georg and his brother Joseph, talking about everything from their time in the seminary to how their parents reacted when they announced they would enter the priesthood.
“They said that one shouldn't influence children in their choice of vocation, at most advise, but children must live their own lives. When it comes to the finding one´s vocation, parents shouldn't determine or to reject what their children want.”
Georg also gives a look at the more personal side of the public figure of Benedict XVI, discussing how the two have grown in their fraternal relationship. He also talks about some of the daily habits of the pope that we often don't hear about.
“He actually doesn’t have much time for recreation. He goes to sleep early. Some think he is a night worker, but he is not. He goes to sleep early. Others think he's an early riser, also not true. He needs quite a lot of sleep. And the other thing is that he also knows that he needs to keep moving. He values his daily walk.”
The story is told by Georg Ratzinger along with German author and journalist Michael HesemannThe book will introduce many people to Georg for the very first time, while also telling the life story of Pope Benedict XVI as never before.