Those who know Ratzinger, however, say few figures have exercised greater influence on him than Luther. In a 1966 commentary on Vatican II’s “The Church in the Modern World,” Ratzinger said that the document leaned too heavily on Teilhard de Chardin and not enough on Luther - a remarkable comment in an era with no offical Lutheran-Catholic contact, when manyCatholics still branded Luther a heretic.
“Ratzinger has been involved in dialogue with Lutherans from way back,” said Br. Jeffrey Gros, ecumenical affairs specialist for the U.S. bishops. “In the 1980s he was even interested in declaring the Augsburg Confession [the first Lutheran declaration of faith] a Catholic document. To think that he wanted to torpedo this [agreement] is a total misread.”
I find this astounding (in the good sense of the word). Does anyone have any additional insite into Benedict’s positions with regard to the Augsburg Confession. I have read accounts of him being the one who single-handedly saved the Joint Declaration talks with the Lutheran World Federation. The fact that he is from Germany certainly takes on new relevance.