Pope Benedict’s brother says he knew about his resignation several months ago,The Guardian reports
Georg Ratzinger, 89, told the AFP on Monday that he accepts brother’s decision to step down, saying Benedict had done ‘everything he possibly could’ to serve .
Ratzinger, a priest and former choirmaster at Regensburg cathedral, said his brother had told him of his decision in person several months ago, reportedly during the summer holiday they spent together, including at the pope’s retreat of Castel Gandolfo.
“I didn’t offer him any advice in what are very personal circumstances,” he said. “And I certainly didn’t try to influence him. The responsibility is his and his alone, the decision is one he reached himself,” he said.
“The truth is, in old age your powers start to wane,” he said, adding that his brother would soon be 86, “an age that not everyone is able to experience”. He said the pope’s doctor had advised him against taking long journeys and that he was finding walking increasingly difficult.
Ratzinger has always been open about the frailty of his brother – sometimes even being chastised by Vatican officials alarmed at his frankness with reporters, particularly after he revealed Benedict had suffered a heart attack.
Before his brother was elected pope, Ratzinger commented: “I hope the chalice passes him by”, and urged the cardinals to choose “a somewhat younger pope”.
Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday that he will retire at the end of February.