In June 2020, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. probably last visited this grave of his parents and his sister when he said goodbye to his seriously ill brother Georg Ratzinger.
Diocese of Regensburg (kath.net) The Regensburg bishop visited the family grave of the Ratzinger family on All Souls Day (photo) and prayed there. In June 2020, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. probably last visited the grave of his parents Joseph and Maria and his sister Maria when he said goodbye to his seriously ill brother Georg Ratzinger, who died shortly afterwards. The Ratzinger family grave is located in the Ziegetsdorf cemetery, near the former home of the future Pope Joseph Ratzinger, who lived in it during his time as a dogmatic professor in Regensburg. The papal brother Georg Ratzinger was not buried in this grave, but in the foundation grave of the Regensburger Choir in the Lower Catholic Cemetery in Regensburg (see link).
Before visiting the graves, Bishop Voderholzer had celebrated a pontifical High Mass in the parish of Ziegetsdorf. The two feast days of All Saints' Day and All Souls Day, the bishop said in his sermon according to a press release, would be an occasion to reflect on what we as Christians believe in relation to the “so-called” last things. The essence of religion is to give an answer not to the question of how I behave correctly in this life, what is good and what is bad, where does everything come from, what it makes sense, but what it all ultimately amounts to, explained Bishop Rudolf.
If religion wants to be the answer, the answer to the ultimate questions of our human existence, then above all it must also give an answer to the reality towards which life tends with inexorable inevitability, death: “Only death gives weight to life, to every decision before that seriously, death makes life unique. And yet we experience death as threatening, as destructive. The answer of our faith is closely connected to Jesus Christ,” emphasized Bishop Voderholzer.
Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are personal categories and do not primarily describe a place, but a relationship, the diocesan bishop continued. Heaven, let that be communion with God, being allowed to see God face to face. Definitely safe in eternal love. That, said the bishop, will exceed all of our expectations, hopes and longings. Hell can only be the voluntary and definitive rejection of God. It is not hot [yes it is] there, but ice cold because there is no spark of love there. One can only hope that the heart of the most disappointed sinner still has a little glow of love that the Spirit of God can kindle to a new fire.
Purgatory, explained Bishop Rudolf, belongs as a phase of preparation for the side of heaven. It is the intermediate state in which a baptized Christian who has died in the state of grace, but who is still burdened by the consequences of his guilt, is cleansed of all the “dross” of sin. “This fire is healing and necessary. According to the English theologian John Henry Newman, we long for it even when we meet the holy God, in whose presence heaven exists. He created us, he knows us by name, he has written our names in his heart, and so we also recommend the deceased of the past year to him by calling up their names now,” said Bishop Dr. Rudolf Voderholzer in conclusion.
Photo: Bishop Voderholzer at the Ratzinger family grave © Diocese of Regensburg