“Orgel-Ratz” and “Bücher-Ratz”

There is a delightful piece on the blog Petrus, in Italian.   It concerns the two Brothers Ratzinger.  Here is my translation.

"Orgel-Ratz" and "Bücher-Ratz" (Organ-Ratz and Books-Ratz) amidst music, study and sweets

di Angela Ambrogetti

VATICAN CITY – ”Orgel-Ratz” and ”Bücher-Ratz”. That is what fellow seminarians called the Ratzinger brothers.  Georg was completely dedicated to music and Joseph was enamored of books.  This is how the brothers are today, and when they spend a few days together the Bavarian kids of the past come back.  The news report about the Roman holidays of Monsignor Ratzinger seem to interest only the local German press.  The newspaper of Regensburg reports, for example, about Pope Benedict’s birthday through the eyes of his brother.  Joseph, to receive his big brother, who for years has had serious problems with his vision, put together a mountain of CD’s in his apartment, and in their free time read aloud to Georg the introduction of his Jesus of Nazareth and also every morning the breviary.  The birthday of Benedict XVI was celebrated with simplicity and affection.  Msgr. Gaenswein, the Pontiff’s secretary, had in great secrecy rehearsed celebratory songs, with the Memores Domini, which look to the Pope’s well-being.  The songs were sung after morning Mass.  Then came birthday present time.  Georg Ratzinger had already given his birthday trip: "I am stingy.  My brother got only one present for Christmas, his name day, and this birthday together."  There was the birthday breakfast: croissants with marmalade and an Italian "sacher".  "Very good.  We don’t have it on regular days."  The day continued with the Pope’s official duties and, for Monsignor Georg, listening to music.  After lunch was their appointment for a stroll, on the terrace of the Apostolic Palace.  "A couple turns, about a quarter of an hour."  When the Pope’s brother can’t be in Rome in person, he sends some little gifts, like a dessert made by his housekeeper Agnes Heindl.  Special delivery.  This is what happened last April 12th, when it was entrusted to a pilgrimage lead by Monsignor Heinrich Wachter.  The two tour busses were held up on the autostrada near Florence.  So as not to miss the Pope’s supper, Wacther took a taxi and, on his arrival at the Vatican, Benedict smiled and asked if he ought to reimburse his fare.  These are little glimpses of daily life, which the newspaper of Regensburg dedicated to its illustrious former fellow citizen. The Mittelbayerische Zeitung is the daily which last year published a wonderful conversation between the Pope’s secretary and children from an elementary school, which has now become a book: Why does the Pope wear red shoes?


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  1. JAvier says:

    What a great Story! I feel we don’t hear more stories like this because it doesn’t fit the “Story Line” the media wants for B16. He is supposed to be a dark character looking to turn back the clock of progress! Jeez! I would love to see more of these stories!

  2. Prof. Basto says:

    Thanks for posting that, Father.

  3. I can barely fathom how deep the love between these two men must be. They
    share not only the bond of the blood but also the bond of brotherhood from
    Holy Orders.

    Beautiful story. Thank you for the translation, Father.

  4. Tom and Sherri Larson says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Holy Father were to record a CD of classical piano music? Such a model, I expect, would inspire Catholics young and old to retrieve and preserve the treasures of our musical tradition. Proceeds could go to providing poor children throughout the world with instruments and training in genuinely artistic music.

  5. Guy Power says:

    Why does the Pope wear red shoes?

    Errrr …… “To get to the other side”??

  6. Konrad says:

    I remember very well when I served masses in my Regensburg parish ( http://www.pfarrei-sallern.de ) church with Msgr. Georg Ratzinger about 20 years ago. He often helped out when our parish priest was on holidays etc. He’s a very pleasant man, but his brother is the better preacher ;).BTW then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger celebrated two baptisms and one wedding in my parish for a daughter of a former professor-colleague of Regensburg university.

    Our parish currently have to pay for a restauration of our church, so I joked with our parson if he wouldn’t sell on eBay his chasuble the then-cardinal wore in said wedding along with a picture of cardinal Ratzinger at the altar?

    Greetings from Regensburg

  7. Monica says:

    Today, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (a secular newspaper), there was an article with regards to the motu proprio and the Traditional Latin Mass. Compare the secular coverage with the diocesan newspaper editorials. It’s pretty sad when the secular media is more sympathetic to the Traditional Latin Mass than diocesan newspapers.



  8. Mary Kay says:

    Delightful post. Thanks.

  9. Guy Power says:


    Thanks for the two links. How is it that Fr. Reece, OPC (Order of Priest Contrarians) always gets quoted!!!?? If he were an army colonel, he’d have been relieved of duty years ago for insubordination. Actually, he never would have made captain with that attitude.

  10. Joshua says:

    It’s very moving to think the Pope would so kindly read aloud the Breviary for the benefit of his aged brother.

  11. michigancatholic says:

    I think this pope is amazing in his humility,kindness and ability to tell the truth without flinching–an amazing combination!

    Thank you for posting this, Fr. Z.

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