Book Excerpt: 'My Brother, The Pope'

PHOTO: Book cover for ?My Brother, The Pope,? the memoirs of Monsignor Georg Ratzinger.

The following is an excerpt from the book, "My Brother, the Pope," the memoirs of Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Pope Benedict XVI, as written by historian Michael Hesemann.

From Chapter IX – Pope (pp. 236-240)

When my brother came to Altötting, naturally I traveled there from Regensburg. I stayed overnight with the Capuchins and ate with them. Before the papal Mass, I met Professor Franz Mussner (b.1916), who taught New Testament exegesis in Regensburg and today lives in Passau, his native city, as a cathedral canon.

Pope Benedict XVI, left, with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, standing at the baptismal font where the Pope was baptised as a child in Germany. Credit: Courtesy Ignatius Press

At that time, he had just celebrated his ninetieth birthday, and when he saw me, he said we two were the only ones who had permission to carry a cane; all the other attendees were forbidden to have one for security reasons.A very festive, beautiful liturgy followed, which visibly moved people. Then during the meal afterward, crispy roast pork and dumplings, I finally sat at a table again with my brother. Instead of taking a siesta afterward, we took a little walk through the convent garden and "chatted". My brother was so happy he could finally be in his homeland again. ...

Next on the itinerary after Altötting was Marktl, where we visited Saint Oswald's, the church where he was baptized. In quiet prayer, we lingered there in front of the baptismal font over which he had been accepted into the communion of Holy Mother Church seventy-nine years before. After that, he took me with him in the helicopter to Regensburg; I sat opposite him, face-to-face, the whole time.

The welcome in Regensburg was overwhelming. I spent the night in the major seminary beside my brother's apartment, for the next morning we wanted to celebrate early Mass together. From there we set out for the great papal Mass on Islinger Feld. On the program that afternoon were his address in the aula magna of the university and an ecumenical evening prayer service. And then finally came September 13, to which we had looked forward for so long. Already when the program for his trip to Germany was being planned, my brother asked for a day he could use for private meetings. On that day, he was with me practically the whole time. There was only one official item on the program at 11:00 in the morning: the consecration of the new organ in the "Old Chapel", of which I had grown so fond that this, too, was actually a private event. Originally he was supposed to travel directly from the major seminary, where he was staying overnight, to the "Old Chapel" on Schwarze-Bären-Straße, but he wanted to drop off something at my house first. So we went there via Luzengasse, which runs by my house. At the time, we thought we would use the nearest entrance to the church, but the chapter of the "Old Chapel" was waiting for us on the north side, and so we entered by the north side, were solemnly greeted there, and arrived punctually for the great consecration of the organ. After that, we returned to my house. Along the way, we met the leader of the Jewish community, Herr Hans Rosengold (who has unfortunately died since), whom my brother thanked for his hospitality -- he had invited the whole papal entourage to dinner.

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