Re­tired pope’s el­der brother

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION / WORLD - BY DAVID RIS­ING

BER­LIN — The Rev. Ge­org Ratzinger, the older brother of Emer­i­tus Pope Bene­dict XVI who earned renown in his own right as a direc­tor of an ac­claimed Ger­man boys’ choir, has died. He was 96.

The Re­gens­burg dio­cese in Bavaria, where Rev. Ratzinger lived, said that he died Wed­nes­day. His death came just over a week af­ter Bene­dict made a four-day visit to Re­gens­burg to be with his ail­ing brother.

Or­dained on the same day as his brother, Rev. Ratzinger proved to be a tal­ented mu­si­cian and went on to over­see the record­ing of nu­mer­ous mas­ter­pieces and con­cert tours around the world by the Re­gens­burger Domspatzen, a sto­ried choir that traces its his­tory back to the 10th cen­tury. But his rep­u­ta­tion was tar­nished as he apol­o­gized for us­ing cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment to dis­ci­pline boys.

The pope had his quar­ters in the Apos­tolic Palace mod­i­fied with a spe­cial apart­ment for his brother, who trav­eled fre­quently from his home in the Bavar­ian city of Re­gens­burg to Rome. Elected to the pa­pacy in 2005, Bene­dict stepped down in 2013 and was suc­ceeded by cur­rent Pope Fran­cis.

The two came from a re­li­gious Catholic fam­ily, the sons of po­lice of­fi­cer Josef and Maria Ratzinger.

Born Jan. 15, 1924, in the Bavar­ian town of Al­toet­ting, Ge­org Ratzinger showed an early tal­ent for mu­sic, play­ing the church or­gan at age 11. The fam­ily even­tu­ally set­tled out­side nearby Traun­stein in 1937, where he and his brother joined the sem­i­nary.

Though the Ratzinger fam­ily was an­tiNazi, Ge­org Ratzinger was en­rolled into the Hitler Youth in 1941. In his book “Salt of the Earth,” Bene­dict re­marked on the time and his own sub­se­quent en­roll­ment at age 14.

In 1942, Rev. Ratzinger was drafted into a fed­eral la­bor force, and the same fall en­tered the reg­u­lar Ger­man armed forces as a ra­dio op­er­a­tor in a sig­nals unit. Af­ter serv­ing in France, the Nether­lands and Cze­choslo­vakia, Ratzinger was sent in 1944 to Italy where he was wounded in fight­ing.

He was cap­tured by U.S. forces and spent the rest of the war as a POW.

Rev. Ge­org Ratzinger

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.