Many conservative Catholics today claim that there are two Joseph Ratzingers. The first would be the progressivist Fr. Ratzinger who followed his mentor Karl Rahner and was one of the most prominent periti at Vatican II. The second would be the conservative Card. Ratzinger who, some 20 years later, assumed the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In fact, according to the words of Card. Ratzinger himself, he did not change. In an interview given on a trip to Brazil in 1990 to the daily O Estado de S. Paulo, he affirmed that his thinking remained essentially the same.
At right, an excerpt from the interview entitled 'Pastoral Action Requires Spirtuality;' directly below, a photocopy of the entire page; below, our translation from Portuguese of the part in yellow.
O Estado de Sao Paulo - What are the more significant differences between the Ratzinger of Vatican II and the Ratzinger of today? Who changed more: you or the Church?
Cardinal Ratzinger – I do not see a real, profound difference between my work at Vatican Council II and my present day work. While preparing this course for Bishops, I went to review a course of ecclesiology that I taught for the first time in 1956. Naturally, I found elements that needed to be updated. But as for the fundamental vision, I found a profound similarity. What I proposed to the Bishops in Rio de Janeiro (in this trip) was the same fundamental vision that I set out (then).
(Interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger by Walter Falceta, Jr, 'Acao pastoral requer espiritualidade' in O Estado de S. Paulo, July 29, 1990)