Former Pope Benedict leaves Vatican to visit ailing brother in Germany

FILE PHOTO: Pope Benedict XVI strolls in a garden with his brother Bishop Georg Ratzinger during his annual holiday in Bressanone, northern Italy July 31, 2008. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Former Pope Benedict travelled to his native Germany on Thursday to visit his ailing older brother, the Vatican said.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Benedict, 93, flew to Regensburg to visit his brother Georg Ratzinger, 96. Benedict was accompanied by his long-time secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, a doctor, a nurse, a police official and a personal assistant.

It was the first time that Benedict has left Italy since 2013, when he became the first Pope to resign in six centuries.

The Vatican said that Benedict would remain in Regensburg “for as long as necessary.”

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Catherine Evans

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