The brother of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, died on Wednesday at the age of 96, the diocese of Regensburg has confirmed.
Benedict XVI visited his brother in Regensburg last month after hearing he was seriously ill, and stayed in the diocese for four days during which the two brothers celebrated Mass together on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Both Joseph and Georg Ratzinger were ordained on the same day on 29 June 1951 by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich.
Msgr. Georg Ratzinger was an accomplished musician who directed the Regensburger Domspatzen choir from 1964 until 1994.
“Dear cathedral choir director, you were a priestly brother and counselor to me,” Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg said in a statement. “Your music was a school of prayer, of teaching the faith and of preaching.
“Countless Eucharistic celebrations in Regensburg cathedral and other churches owe the beauty, warmth and majesty of their direction to you. You could turn concert halls into prayer houses.”
“For this very special priestly ministry, I thank you with deep affection,” Bishop Voderholzer continued, “also in the name of the many whose hearts and minds you have filled.”