At 96 years old, Benedict XVI’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, also an ordained priest, died in the city of Regensburg, where he lived his entire life until his death. His brother Joseph Ratzinger tried to visit his brother on June 18, who was already dying. Thus, the former pontiff would remain as the only member of his family alive.
«From the beginning of my life, my brother has always been for me not only a companion but also a reliable guide. He has been for me a point of orientation and reference with the clarity and determination of his decisions. He always showed me the way to follow, even in difficult situations», the former Pontiff mentioned gratefully on August 22, 2008.
Georg Ratzinger was born in Pleiskirchen, Bavaria, on January 15, 1924. From his youth, he had a great bond with the church. At age 11, he played the organ in a local parish church. In 1935, he entered the minor seminary in Traunstein, but did not obtain, in 1942 he enrolled in the Reichsarbeitsdienst, and later in the Wehrmacht. In 1945, he was held prisoner in Naples for a few months. Later, after his liberation, in 1947, together with his brother, he entered the seminary of the Herzogliches Georgianum in Munich to finally be ordained a priest with his brother and 40 other companions in the cathedral of Freising on June 29, 1951, for Cardinal Michael Von Faulhaber.
As for his personal life, he was considered a frank man and little used to diplomacy. Given his great closeness to his brother, he openly declared himself against his choice as High Pontiff, since this would mean severe readjustments regarding their relationship.
«I must admit that I was not expecting it and I was a little disappointed … Due to their burdensome commitments, I understood that our relationship would have to readjust a lot. In any case, behind the human decision of the cardinals is the will of God, and to this, we must say yes», he mentioned on that occasion.
Although the causes of his death have not been clarified by the diocese of Regensburg, the priest was in a serious state of health several months earlier. Given the emergence of the Coronavirus, he was unable to visit the Pope Emeritus on April 16 for his birthday, as was the custom. However, on June 18, he receives him on what would be his deathbed in Munich.