"Former colleagues and students speak of Professor Ratzinger on the theological campus of Tübingen. Where his unrepentant adhesion to the reforms of the Council was put to the test by clerical triumphalism and middle-class foot-dragging
by Gianni Valente
"Ratzinger became involved as always in his new start at Tübingen without sparing himself. In his new posting he hoped to establish fruitful relations also with the Evangelical theologians of the Protestant faculty. His enthusiasm and the unmistakable shape of his lectures - substantial theology fed by the Fathers and the liturgy, luminous and nimble language with poetic nuances, frank response to all the questions of those confused times – kindled unexpected response in the hearts of many students of theology, and not only theirs. A crowd of more than four hundred students immediately packed his lectures.
Too many also wanted to attend his seminars, and so they had to be thinned out by a Greek and Latin entry exam. Helmut Moll, the prelate who was later to collaborate for long years with his former professor in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, recalls: "To join a seminar on Mariology you had to take a pre-examination on Greek and Latin Marian texts from the early centuries. But there was no comparison between Ratzinger and the others. The lectures that I had heard in Bonn from professors of neo-scholastic bent appeared arid and cold, a list of precise doctrinal definitions and that was it. When I listened in Tübingen to Ratzinger speaking about Jesus or of the Holy Spirit, it seemed at times that his words had the accent of prayer.'"