Pope Benedict XVI has a cousin who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to this newspaper article (pdf). Steffie Brzakovic was raised a Catholic, but became a Witness in the 1970’s. Appearently her becoming a Witness caused issues with her family, as she hadn’t heard from her cousin in over 50 years. She remembers him as a ‘bad boy’.
Interestingly, he commends her and the Witnesses for ‘doing the work we should be doing’, referring to the ministry.
Pope Remembers Steffie
“But he’s still just a naughty boy to me” say Cooma Cousin
By Markus Mannheim The Canberra Times vol 21.08.2005
He may be the spiritual head of the world’s largest Christian church, but a cousin of Pope Benedict the XVI says that he is still a naughty boy to her.
Steffie Brzakovic, 78, of Cooma, received a call from her famous first cousin shortly after his election in a papal conclave in April.
It was the first time she had heard from him in more than 50 years.
Mrs. Brzakovic, who was raised in the southern Germany city of Weilheim before moving to Australia in 1956, said she remembered Joseph Ratzinger as a young boy who was often up to no good.
“He was everywhere he shouldn’t [have] been, she recalled yesterday, shaking her head. “When I think today of what we did, it’s a wonder that [we are] alive.”
When she received the phone call three months ago she first thought it was a prank. It wasn’t until His Holiness told her it was “Ratzinger Pepi”, referring to his childhood nickname, that she realized who was on the other end.
“I said, ‘Are you the Pope?’ and he [replied]. ‘But for you I am still Ratzinger Pepi’.”
Mrs. Brzakovic was raised as a Roman Catholic, but became a Jehovah’s Witness in the 1970’s.
She said that while her religious differences with her family had caused frustration, the Pope had encouraged her for following her faith.
“He told me that ‘You are doing the work that we should do’,” she said, referring to her church’s missionary work. “He said, ‘You have halls that are not too big, but they are full. We have cathedrals, churches, chapels and they are empty’.”
Mrs. Brzakovic is spending this weekend at a Jehovah’s Witness convention in Canberra with about 3000 district worshippers.
Pope’s Cousin a JW You can save the pic of the news article and make it larger to read it. The sister has a DC lapel pin on.