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Rome Reports

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Benedict XVI turns 94

Benedict XVI will celebrate his 94th birthday privately, without any special festivities.

It’s a celebration tinged with sadness, as it will be his first birthday without his brother, Georg, who passed away in July, and with whom he was very close.

A few weeks ago, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary shared how the Pope emeritus often jokes about his age.

Benedict XVI’s Secretary
“We should keep that in mind. He tells me, ‘I’m nearly 94 years old, what do you want from me?’ He didn’t expect to live to this age. He’s even told me he didn’t imagine it would take so long to travel the distance from the end of his pontificate to meet St. Peter at the Gate (of Heaven.)”

In the past, the Pope emeritus received birthday greetings from his native Bavaria. But nothing is planned this year because of the pandemic.

Benedict XVI was born on April 16, 1927.

The third child of Joseph and Maria Ratzinger, he was baptized on the same day and given the name Joseph Aloisius.

Neither of his siblings is still alive.

That’s why no immediate relatives will be able to join him for his birthday. But a phone call from Pope Francis can definitely be expected.

Javier Martínez-Brocal