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 CNS Story:

BAVARIA-RATZINGER Sep-8-2006 (660 words) xxxi

Pope's brother hopes to spend time with him in home, garden

By Tess Crebbin
Catholic News Service

MUNICH, Germany (CNS) -- The brother of Pope Benedict XVI, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, said he is looking forward to walking through his garden again with his brother.

The brothers expected to spend some time together Sept. 13, which the Vatican said would be a private day during Pope Benedict's Sept. 9-14 visit to his homeland.

"When we visit his Pentling house, one of the things that I would really like to do with him is walk up and down in his garden, like we always did when he came to visit," Msgr. Ratzinger told the radio section of St. Michael's Federation, the media division of the Catholic Church in Bavaria. "Also, I would like to walk around his house with him, because here in Bavaria, we say that when you walk around your house, that is when you know you are really home."

However, Msgr. Ratzinger, 82, said he is not sure this will be possible.

"I don't know how many people will be there and whether they will be lining the fences. If so, then it certainly would not be right to parade in front of them," he said.

In the interview, Msgr. Ratzinger also remembered how family traditions laid the base for the strong faith of the brothers and their sister, Maria, now deceased.

"We always started the day with morning prayer," he said, "and we all prayed together at mealtimes as well. Then, the day ended in our home with the Easter prayer. On Sundays, Mass was a fixture of our day, and the church holidays were always celebrated together as well."

He said their parents were pleased when both boys announced that they wanted to become priests, "but they did not push us into priesthood, and they would have supported us in whatever career we would have chosen."

At the time of Pope Benedict's priestly ordination in the Freising cathedral in 1951, both brothers were filled with idealism and expectations, Msgr. Ratzinger said.

"We were not in this asking 'What is in it for me,'" he said, "but because we wanted to serve. We were willing to serve in whatever manner, go wherever the bishop would send us, although we both had our preferences, of course. I was hoping for a calling related to my interest in music, and my brother had prepared himself from a theological-science point of view. But we were not in this to indulge in our personal hobbies. We said yes to priesthood to serve, in whatever way was needed, and it was a blessing we both got to follow church careers that were also in accordance with our secret wishes at the time."

Msgr. Ratzinger said it was not easy when his brother, who is three years younger than he is, was called to Munich as archbishop of the Munich-Freising Archdiocese.

"For me, it was difficult," he said, "because our Sunday afternoons together were no longer possible as they had been when he was still at Regensburg. Also, during church holidays, he was now needed in Munich, and so we could not celebrate them together as we used to. But, like when he became pope, I respect his calling and where it leads him. It was for this that we said yes to priesthood."

Msgr. Ratzinger said although his brother is pope the family bonds remain strong.

"Our family has now shrunk from its five original members down to two," he said, "but we still stick together very much."

He said so many people have so many expectations for the papal trip that he hopes "there will be no mishaps."

"Then, I hope that this papal visit will create a good memory in the hearts of the people here, that its spiritual element will impress many and that the faith of the people here will be further strengthened by additional positive elements the visit will provide for them," he said.

END


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