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Pope's brother worries about burdens of the office

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2005

REGENSBURG, Germany — The older brother of Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday he is worried about the burdens of the office on the pontiff and complained he won't get to see him so often.

''I'm not very happy,'' the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, 81, told The Associated Press, sitting in his sunlit Regensburg apartment, a newspaper with a front-page photo of Benedict in his papal robes on the table in front of him.

''The public doesn't see the other side, but it's a difficult job,'' Ratzinger said.

Ratzinger hopes to get to Rome to see his 78-year-old brother soon — perhaps as soon as Saturday.

''He's OK, and his health is good,'' Ratzinger said. ''I just wish for him, that his health holds out and that his office isn't a worry and a nuisance to him.''

As cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger managed to visit Regensburg four or five times a year, and has a house outside town.

''Family life might be a bit more limited,'' the elder Rat-zinger said.

Georg, whose sight is failing, wasn't able to watch his brother come to the window of St. Peter's Basilica on television Tuesday, but he was told about the smile on his face.

''Maybe the sight of rejoicing people loosens one up,'' he said.

He didn't even hear from his brother until Wednesday morning because ''I had the phone off the hook.''

The elder Ratzinger, who was ordained on the same day as Joseph, said those who have reservations about the theological views of his brother should look past the image and understand that he is a ''modest, simple and cheerful person.''

''These are prejudices that people have against him,'' Ratzinger said.

His brother will be pope in his own way, he said.

''Because of his close cooperation with John Paul II, there will be a certain continuity. But because of his different temperament and different circumstances, there will be different emphases,'' he said.

Georg Ratzinger said the poor will be close to his brother's heart, saying he was moved ''very deeply'' by seeing extreme poverty during several trips to South America.



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