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Pope Benedict’s brother Georg Ratzinger seems to have been one of the few people not surprised by the pontiff’s decision to resign.

From his home in Bavaria, the frail and nearly blind Father Georg has admitted he had known for a few months about his brother’s plans, and confirmed Benedict would remain in Rome.

“He will stay in Rome of course, that’s for sure and when I’m down there for a holiday he might have more time. When I was there for holidays, the times together were very limited, celebrating (mass) in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening. Otherwise he was always busy. During the holidays now it will become easier, but when I’m in Regensburg and he is in Rome, we will speak regularly as we always have done on the phone.”

In the Pope’s home town of Marktl in the predominantly Catholic southern German region of Bavaria, most locals said they respected the Pope’s decision. His brother’s explanation that the demands of the office were becoming too heavy for a man of his age was greeted with understanding by many.

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