At a conference held in 1966 Fr. Ratzinger had these words to share on the subject of the situation of the Church at that time:
"Perhaps you were expecting a more optimistic, a brighter and more joyful picture. Perhaps there was also some ground for such an expectation. But it seems to me important that what at the Council made us joyful and grateful must now also be perceived in its twofold historicity and thus make us understand the message that it contains. And it seems important to me to discern the dangerous new triumphalism, a tendency to which precisely the very critics of the old triumphalism often succumb. So long as the Church is in pilgrimage on the earth, she has no ground to boast of her own works. Such self-glorification could become more dangerous than the sedia gestatoria and the tiara, which are more likely to elicit a smile than a feeling of pride."
-Joseph Ratzinger from Das Neue Volk Gottes (Patmos), 150f (quoted in The Ratzinger Report, p. 13).