Pope Emeritus Benedict has rarely been seen, since he retired to the Mater Ecclesiae inside the walls of the Vatican Gardens. The former pontiff has reportedly spent his time in prayer and quiet reflection, occasionally receiving visitors (such as Pope Francis, who paid a Christmas visit last week).
Today, though, he made a low-key trip to the Gemelli hospital to visit his older brother Georg Ratzinger, who is being treated there.
Perhaps it’s his preference to stay out of the limelight, reserving that spot for Pope Francis. According to journalist Andrea Tornielli writing in the Vatican Insider, this time Benedict did not visit with other patients, as he did in August 2005 when Georg was hospitalized at the Gemelli to receive a pacemaker. Instead he traveled in a car with shaded windows, stayed beside his brother for the entire visit, then returned quietly to the Mater Ecclesiae.
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Lord, please grant Georg Ratzinger comfort and, if it be Your will, complete healing. Keep our beloved Pope Benedict, weakened as he is in his older years, safe in Your loving care.