Podcast: Benedict XVI’s trip to Germany may be one of his most eloquent lessons

Retired Pope Benedict XVI smiles at Germany's Munich Airport before his departure to Rome June 22, 2020. Pope Benedict, who is 93, traveled to Germany to see his ailing older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who is 96. (CNS photo/Sven Hoppe, pool via Reuters) 

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI left Italy for the first time in seven years last week, traveling to Germany to visit his ill brother, Georg. This week on Inside the Vatican, veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and I discuss the challenges travel poses for the emeritus pope.

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On the show, Gerry reflected on the significance of the former pope’s trip: “Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, has written many learned books, and he will go down as one of the church’s great theologians of the century, but only a tiny percentage of people will have read these books. But the fact that he got on a plane at the age of 93, in a very frail condition to go and visit his brother...I think that really reached the hearts of people.”

“It’s perhaps one of his books that’s most eloquent, this gesture,” Gerry says.

Since this is our last episode together before the summer break, Gerry and I also look ahead to the next few months. Gerry explains how the Pope spends his summers, and we discuss what’s next for the Vatican’s ongoing coronavirus response, along with when we might expect the long-awaited Vatican report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Inside the Vatican will release a few special episodes this summer, beginning with an interview next week with researcher Phyllis Zagano about the two papal commissions to study women deacons. Stay tuned!

Finally, don’t forget to take our Inside the Vatican listener survey! We will use your responses to help shape the future of Inside the Vatican.

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