Pope's Brother Worried for His Health

Most people in Regensburg like the idea of former resident Joseph Ratzinger becoming pope. Just not his 81-year-old brother.

Georg Ratzinger (search), a priest who was ordained on the same day as his younger sibling, told The Associated Press on Wednesday he worries about the stress the office will put on the new Pope Benedict XVI (search), who is 78.

"I'm not very happy," Georg Ratzinger said, sitting in his sunlit Regensburg (search) apartment, a newspaper with a front-page photo of Joseph in his papal robes on the table in front of him. "The public doesn't see the other side, but it's a difficult job."

And, he said, it probably means the two brothers won't see each other so much. As cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger managed to visit Regensburg four or five times a year, and has a house outside town.

Georg is hoping to get to Rome to see him soon — maybe as early as Saturday.

"Family life might be a bit more limited," he said.

"He's OK, and his health is good. I just wish for him, that his health holds out and that his office isn't a worry and a nuisance to him."

Georg, whose sight is failing, wasn't able to watch his brother come to the window of St. Peter's Basilica on television Tuesday, but was told about the smile on his face.

"Maybe the sight of rejoicing people loosens one up," he said.

He didn't even hear from his brother until Wednesday morning — "I had the phone off the hook."

Georg Ratzinger offered his thoughts on what his brother, often considered an aloof theological hardliner by his critics, will do as pope.

First, he said, those who have reservations about him should see past the image and understand that he is a "modest, simple and cheerful person."

"These are prejudices that people have against him."

His brother will be pope in his own way, he said.

"Because of his close cooperation with John Paul II (search), there will be a certain continuity. But because of his different temperament and different circumstances there will be different emphases."

One theme Georg thinks will be close to his brother's heart: the poor. Joseph Ratzinger was deeply affected by witnessing extreme poverty during several trips to South America.

"It moved him very deeply," he said.