Pope Benedict ‘will not interfere in successor’s affairs’

Pope Benedict XVI will not interfere in the affairs of his successor after his decision to resign later this month, the pontiff’s brother has said.

Georg Ratzinger told the BBC the Pope would only “make himself available” if he were needed.

The Pope said on Monday he would resign after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church because he was too old to continue at the age of 85.

The Vatican now says it expects a new pontiff to be elected before Easter.

At 78, one of the oldest new popes in history when elected in 2005
Born in Germany in 1927, joined Hitler Youth during WWII and was conscripted as an anti-aircraft gunner – but deserted

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, spent 24 years in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition

A theological conservative with uncompromising views on homosexuality and women priests

Benedict XVI will bid farewell to his followers in a final audience in St Peter’s Square on 27 February, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has said.

This will be the day before he officially steps down.