One of the aspects of Luther’s theology I value the most is his insight into what he called the “Theologia Crucis”, the Theology of the Cross. It is important to understand that when he contrasted this with a “Theologia Gloriae” (a “theology of glory”) he was not suggesting that one should have a balance between “glory” and “cross”, but rather that the Theologia Crucis was a true theology and the Theologia Gloriae was a false theology.
I have never given up this belief and hold it dear to this day. I do, however, reject a common Lutheran application of this doctrine which talks about the “triumphalism of Rome”–which seems to assume that the notion of the infallible teaching magisterium of the bishops of the Church is somehow a “theology of glory” rather than a “theology of the cross”.
I rather think that just as it was an essential element of the theology of the cross that God should reveal himself in the human flesh of Jesus of Nazareth, so it is also a part of the theology of the cross that the Body of Christ should be found in the concrete and visible human society of the Church and his authority should be exercised by a group of people who are, when all is said and done, “only men” (to repeat the words of my mother-in-law once again).
Anyway, here’s something Papa Benny said on the matter when he was a much younger man. Rumour has it that he still believes this:
If the Church were to accomodate herself to the world in any way that would entail a turning away from the Cross, this would not lead to a renewal of the church, but only to her death. (Ratzinger, Das Neue Volk Gottess, 1969)