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New pope's brother very concerned about his election

AFP | April 20, 2005

REGENSBURG, Germany - The brother of Pope Benedict XVI Georg Ratzinger, 81, said he was "very concerned" and "shocked" upon hearing that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had been elected as head of the Roman Catholic Church because of his age and frail health.

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"I am very concerned. I would have thought his advanced age and his health which is not very stable would have been reason enough for the cardinals to pick someone else," said a visibly moved in an interview on German television after the election of his 78-year-old brother.

"But the cardinals made their decision and that is the will of God," said Ratzinger, himself a prelate.

He said he was "shocked" upon hearing the news Tuesday that his younger brother had been elected pope.

"I got used to the idea during the night but it is still overwhelming," he added.

Ratzinger said he had yet to speak with his brother following his election and expected to see him less often as he takes on the job as leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.

"We will still have close ties but we will be much less in contact," he said.

Ratzinger had said last month that he did not believe his brother had a chance at being elected pope because of his advanced age and his German nationality.

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