The Ratzinger’s Family Home
The beautiful house that played such an important part in the life of the Ratzinger family is falling down. Situated in a beautiful part of Bavaria with the Alps as a background and Berchtesgaden just 33 miles away, it is in an idyllic part of the world. The house was built in 1726 and reflects the history and the culture of the area.
Built to be cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter it has accommodation for sheltering livestock and has provision for storing fodder during the lean months of Winter. As, with all houses in the area, there is plenty of sheltered space for storing logs that will heat and lighten the interior of the house while deep snow covers the landscape all around.
When Joseph Ratzinger Sen. bought the house after retiring from the police in 1937 when he reached the age of 60, and his family were young, he set about repairing the house before moving in. It took a lot of work, and he did a very good job. After young Joseph became Cardinal, and then Pope Benedict XVI the house became a place of pilgrimage, and photographs of it’s beautiful edifice were flashed around the world, and enshrined in books giving the history of the latest Pontiff. But now, sadly, all that has changed. My own pilgrimage there in August was accompanied by a sense of shock. The building was derelict and beginning to fall down. I took some photographs and hoped that someone, somewhere, would restore this historic building to its former glory and keep the aspirations of its former occupants alive.
I asked a neighbour if someone had the keys so that I could get in and have a look around. “Oh no” she said “ It’s condemned, too dangerous to go in now. It’s only occupants are cats” In my conversation with her I deduced that the costs of repair were too great for the Ratzinger family and the primary motivation now was to pull it down rather than restore it.
What a shame that so much history should be lost.