ROME - Former pope Benedict XVI secretly left his residence in the Vatican to visit his brother in hospital in Rome, Italian media reported Saturday.
The 85-year-old, who promised on his retirement to live "hidden from the world", was escorted in a car with blacked-out windows for an hour's visit with Georg Ratzinger on Friday in the Policlinico Gemelli hospital in the Italian capital, La Stampa daily said.
Ratzinger, 89, who is a priest, was admitted to hospital on Thursday after travelling to the Vatican from Germany to spend Christmas with the former pontiff, reportedly for an unplanned check-up on a minor heart condition.
He was discharged on Saturday, according to the ANSA news agency.
The visit was Benedict's second excursion since he retired in May to the former monastery within the Vatican gardens, where he has kept a very low profile.
His first trip was to attend a concert in August at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence where he stayed for two months following his resignation in February last year, the reports said.