The brother of Pope Benedict XVI gave a rare interview to a German newspaper, Die Welt Am Sonntag, Wednesday, offering a peek into His Holiness's private life and adolescence.
Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, 87, who is a priest, talked about their early years together, education and signs of Benedict XVI's calling emerging through his youth.
He painted a picture of a very conscientious young man.
“He [Benedict XVI] has always had his doubts as to whether he had done really well what was required of him, that he had done it in the best possible way and been true to the trust that had been placed in him,” Msgr. Ratzinger said.
About the signs of his brother’s calling, Msgr. Ratzinger said that Benedict XVI used to believe he had a special talent for teaching theology.
“He was the kind of pupil who could only always give joy to a teacher,” the priest said, emphasizing that liturgy was always an important theme in his brother's life.
The Pope was also apparently always attentive in matters of worship. He worshiped “correctly and with dignity,” Msgr. Ratzinger said.
“Many priests think they have to add something here or change something there. My brother, however, wants an orderly and good liturgy from which man can grasp God’s call.”
The Pope also appears to be “very sensitive about the media.”
“He usually knows what’s behind them. That makes it easier for him - and, of course, the enormous sympathy that he hears again and again also helps him,” Msgr. Ratzinger said.
The Pope's brother has also revealed that His Holiness calls him several times a week on a separate phone, using the number that "only he knows."
In the evenings, Benedict XVI enjoys watching the eight o’clock evening news on television, switching between Italian and German programs. He also reads L’Osservatore Romano.
Msgr. Ratzinger’s book, “My Brother the Pope,” was released in German on Tuesday. In it, he describes his brother’s spiritual development, from a young man, all the way to becoming the head of the Catholic Church.
Msgr. Ratzinger also reveals nicknames which their colleagues created for him and his brother when they both studied theology in Freising. His Holiness was referred to as “book-Ratz” and his brother was called the ”organ-Ratz,” because of his interest in music.
But in the lengthy interview, Msgr. Ratzinger has also expressed concern about his brother's health, especially ahead of the Berlin visit.
"Walking is apparently a difficult for him," he told the German newspaper. "His voice has also become somewhat quieter."
However, "Mentally he shows no deterioration," the brother concluded.