Atila Sinke Guimarães
Published in The Remnant, June 15, 2001
Timothy Mitchell is the editor of the magazine Pro Ecclesia, which from time to time prints something against me. Recently, in an attempt to call more attention to his attacks, he published an ad and an article against my book In the Murky Waters of Vatican II in the weekly The Wanderer (May 10, 2001).
The ad, which tried to be funny, was titled With an Apology to David Letterman, with the subtitle: Ten Reasons Why So-called “Murky” Teachings Have Themselves Become Murky. I have no special comments to make on this ad. I only wish success to Mr. Mitchell in the career of comedian that he seems to want to pursue.
I also understand that The Wanderer is trying to open a comic section to attract new subscribers, since it is being said that many serious subscribers have abandoned it because they do not agree with its obstinate blindness in seeing how high-reaching the crisis in the Church has extended.
As for the short article by Mr. Mitchell titled The Murkinee of the Murky Waters, it can be summarized in one accusation which he levels against me. He says that in the aforementioned book, I would have mislead my readers when I analyzed a passage of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium of Vatican II, which affirms that the Church of Christ is not the Catholic Church, but rather subsists in her.
In The Murky Waters of Vatican II, I ask: How could the Church of Christ be more ample than the Catholic Church? It seems a very strange statement. Mr. Mitchell pretends that I dishonestly disregarded a part of the document that would prove exactly the opposite of what I affirm, which would be that, according to the Council, the Church of Christ would be identical to the Catholic Church. This bad-intentioned desire on my part would turn against myself my affirmation that the documents of Vatican II are ambiguous and “murky the waters” of Church teachings. It would be I who would be “murkying the waters” of the teaching of Lumen gentium.
I respond to Mr. Mitchell with a fact and some questions.
The fact. In an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung early October 2000, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – one of the idols of the blind-conservatives like Mr. Mitchell – complained about the non-objective critiques of his document Dominus Jesus. He stated that the document reiterated the same doctrine of Vatican II. The Cardinal explained that the Council did not use the expression of Pius XII, according to which “the Roman Catholic Church is the only Church of Jesus Christ.” Instead, he said, Lumen gentium preferred the expression “the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church ruled by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.”
This is because – this is still Ratzinger who is reasoning – it wanted to affirm “that the being of the Church [of Christ] as such is a larger identity than the Roman Catholic Church.” I am quoting quite literally Ratzinger’s words, according to the Zenith Agency dispatch of October 8, 2000.
Therefore, only a few months ago, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made the same interpretation of Lumen
gentium that I made in my book, against which Mr. Mitchell has launched the accusation of dishonesty.
Here I pose some questions to my comic adversary: Do you think that Cardinal Ratzinger is right or wrong? If he is right, why are you accusing me of misleading my readers when I offer them the
same interpretation that Ratzinger made of the Church of Christ? If he is wrong, are you also willing to accuse the Cardinal of the Roman Congregation of “murkying the waters” of the correct
interpretation of Lumen gentium?
I invite my reader to wait and see if Mr. Timothy Mitchell, who accuses me of dishonesty, will have the manly honesty to respond to these questions, acknowledge the reality, and retract his accusation.
Articles in the Polemic
“The Murkinee of the Murky Waters”
and an ad “With an Apology to David Letterman”
by Dr. Timothy A. Mitchell
“The ‘Church of Christ’and the ‘Catholic Church’ Are One Reality”
by Dr. Timothy Mitchell
“Pope John Paul II Should Not Respond”
and an ad “Another Apology to David Letterman”
by Dr. Timothy Mitchell
“Response to a Court Jester”
by Atila Sinke Guimarães
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