Book Excerpt: 'My Brother, The Pope'

Upstairs on the terrace of my house, we drank an aperitif and then ate our midday meal on the ground floor. The Bishop was there and also a small group including his secretary, Monsignor Gänswein. Frau Heindl, my housekeeper, had prepared a delicious meal for us, which in fact almost did not arrive at our table. You see, she lives right across the street on Königsstraße and had cooked there for us in advance because she thought that that was the simplest solution: then she would just have to bring the food over quickly, as she often did. But on that day, our street was blocked off, and the police did not want to let her through. Then dear Frau Heindl became rather indignant: "There's no bomb in the pot, but soup for the Holy Father! And if you don't let me through, then he gets nothing to eat!" she said very energetically. Then the policemen themselves were disconcerted and did not know at first whether they should believe her. So they did not leave her side but came into the house with her as far as the kitchen, where they then saw that what she said was true, that she was practically at home here and was supposed to prepare the midday meal. Eventually there was breznsuppe (pretzel soup), roast beef smothered in onions, spätzle, and finally a pineapple custard; everything tasted wonderful.

After a little siesta, a midday nap, we drove up to Pentling to visit first of all the grave of our parents at the cemetery in Ziegetsdorf. The Bishop and his secretary came along, too. In Pentling, a whole crowd of people had gathered, among them Herr and Frau Hofbauer, who take perfect care of our house there -- they are very fine people. Finally, in our house we ate supper. My brother also lay down for a short time before we drove back to the major seminary, because he was really very tired and had a headache. He enjoyed that day very much, and it was almost like it always was. He loves the little house in Pentling very much; he really feels at home there, for even the most beautiful palace does not have what a one-family house like that has. Of course this visit to his homeland was primarily a pastoral journey, but for him it was also a farewell to his old life.

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