Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pope's brother plans 100,000 euro Vatican birthday bash

Georg Ratzinger, a Catholic prelate from Regensburg and the elder brother of the pontiff, is to celebrate his 85th birthday by listening to Mozart's Mass in C-Minor performed for him in the Sistine Chapel, according to reports.

A German church choir of 90 singers and 37 musicians from the Linz baroque orchestra L'Orfeo in Austria will be flown to Rome for the January 15 event, according to the German magazine Focus.

The magazine also claimed that the costs of the festivities will be covered by the Regensburg diocese, mainly from money taken off the so-called Church Tax, a levy unique to Germany and Austria that was introduced by Adolf Hitler.

The dictator wanted to make the Church less popular by taxing all practising Catholics in the Third Reich, but the regulation has survived his rule and maintains to this day.

The news about the Pope's brother's exclusive birthday party was met with criticism by Catholic associations from his own Regensburg diocese, who objected to the decision to finance the bash with the Church Tax.

"Georg Ratzinger should be able to have the party, but it must not be financed by Church Tax money," said Sigrid Grabmeier, spokesman of the Regensburg diocese laity association We Are The Church, adding that such monies were intended to sponsor pastoral care in hospitals and similar charity projects.

Prelate Ratzinger and the Regensburg diocese were not available for a comment.

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(Source: TCUK)

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