By Tom Kington, Rome
(The Telegraph) Father Georg Ratzinger, himself a priest, told the Daily Telegraph his younger brother was "very happy" to be living at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer retreat south of Rome he moved to after stepping down in February, becoming the first pope to resign in 600 years.
Fr Ratzinger, 88, who travelled from Germany to celebrate Benedict's 86th birthday with him on April 16, said his brother "still suffers the problems of the Church, but is really relieved to no longer have the weight of the Church on his shoulders."
Speaking by telephone from his house in Regensburg, Mr Ratzinger denied the former pope was suffering from major ailments.
"He is now very old, he does not have any particular illness, but he is weakening due to his age," he said.
Joseph Ratzinger cited advancing age when he announced his shock resignation amid reports that his hearing and sight were failing. It also emerged he had a pacemaker fitted a decade ago.
Peter Seewald, a German journalist said he had never seen Benedict look "so worn down" after a recent meeting.
Fr first warned about his brother's advancing age before he was elected pope in 2005 and then unnerved the Vatican with his frank comments about Benedict's health while he was in office. The two brothers are known to be close, speaking weekly on the phone, and he said he knew of Benedict's resignation months in advance.
His comment about Benedict continuing to "suffer" the problems of the Church appeared to be a reference to the alleged infighting and power seeking plaguing the Vatican's bureaucracy, details of which emerged when the pope's butler leaked Benedict's private correspondence.
But since leaving behind the responsibility of overseeing the world's 1.2 billion Catholics he is now able to pray, read and play the piano at Castel Gandolfo, a secluded palazzo built on the rim of a volcanic lake, surrounded by acres of private gardens boasting a farm and spectacular Roman ruins.
He is due to move back to the Vatican when conversion work is completed at the residence he will live in...