My brother the pope, a new book by Monsignor Georg Ratzinger (and German writer Michael Hesemann), who is the brother of Joseph Ratzinger aka Pope Benedict XVI – is one of the rarest and most fascinating glimpse into the over-80-year-old bond between Pope and his brother. The book shares the early days and formation of brothers who were ordained as Catholic priests together on the same day in 1951 – after surviving Nazi Germany and World War II.
Noted author and Papal biographer George Weigel calls My Brother the Pope “an evocative portrait that sheds new light on the experiences that shaped some of the thinking of Pope Benedict XVI.”
The book tells the brothers’ early lives, when they were forced to become part of the Hitler Youth and drafted into the army of the Third Reich; and also tells how the Ratzinger family, and their tight knit and devotional Catholic home life, helped the brothers tide over all hardships; and finally adhering to vocations of priesthood.
The Ratzinger brothers celebrated the 60th anniversary of their ordinations to the priesthood last year, and the book includes many pages of black and white and color photos that illustrate the lifelong, lasting friendship the Pope and his brother have enjoyed.
by: Georg Ratzinger
publisher: Ignatius Press, published: 2012-03-01
sales rank: 1093
price: $16.30 (new), $20.07 (used)
It wasn’t always the case that Msgr. Georg Ratzinger lived in the shadow of his younger brother, Joseph. Georg was an accomplished musician, who for over 30 years directed the Regensburger Domspatzchor, the world-famous boys choir of the Regensburg cathedral. Brother Joseph was a brilliant young professor, but mostly known in German academic circles.
Now Georg writes about the close friendship that has united these two brothers for more than 80 years. This book is a unique window on an extraordinary family that lived through the difficult period of National Socialism in Germany. Those interested in knowing more about the early life of Benedict XVI will not be disappointed. They will also learn of the admirable character and inspiring example of the parents, and see how the Catholic faith can shape not just a family, but an entire culture-in this case, that of Bavaria.
Georg’s reminiscences are detailed, intimate, and warm. And while they begin with the earliest years of the Ratzinger family, they continue right up to the present day.
This is not simply a book to satisfy curiosity about a “celebrity”, though it certainly does that. It’s a beautiful portrait of Catholic family life and, in the most literal sense, of enduring fraternal charity. Georg has a talent for telling a story, and the co-author fills in some of the larger historical background. The many photographs, both in black and white and in color, round out a thoroughly enjoyable and inspirational book. Illustrated with 47 photographs.
“Msgr. Georg Ratzinger’s evocative portrait of the Bavarian Catholicism in which he and his brother, the future pope, were raised, offers 21st century readers an intimate glimpse of a lost world that clearly lives on in the minds and hearts of a great musician and a great theologian. The scenes sketched so ably by Msgr. Ratzinger also shed new light on the experiences that shaped some of the thinking of Benedict XVI about the reform of the Church and the future of Europe.”
– George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center