independent

Monday 21 April 2014

A quiet life beckons for Benedict

The pope is standing down from office (AP)

The pope is planning to stay out of the public eye following his retirement at the end of the month and will probably not even write any more, his brother said after talking with him.

Speaking at home in the German city of Regensburg, 89-year-old Georg Ratzinger said his brother also has no plans to move back to his German homeland but would instead stay in the Vatican. "You don't transplant an old tree," Mr Ratzinger said.

The two are very close, however, and he said he is already planning to visit his brother later in the year. The 85-year-old Benedict shocked the world by announcing that he planned to step down from the papacy at the end of the month.

For his brother, however, the decision was no surprise. "He has been thinking about it for several months," he said. "He concluded that his powers are falling victim to age."

He talked with the pope by phone after the announcement and said his brother was now hoping to lead a quiet life in the Vatican. A prolific writer during his papacy, Mr Ratzinger said that was also something his brother would now likely end. "I don't think he will write anymore," he said.

Rudolf Voderholzer, the bishop of Regensburg who is also in charge of the pope's theological institute that publishes his work, said even if Benedict does write, no more would be published during his lifetime.

"Anything he published could be conceived as interference in the work of the next pope," he said.

As for his successor, Mr Ratzinger said only that his brother "feels that a younger person is needed to deal with the problems of the times."

Press Association

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