Rumors, Confusing Arguments & Public Debate
Letter sent April 7, 2018
I have read your most recent post from last night and am disappointed most especially with the spirit in which you have addressed the issues. You continue to make things worse and alienate those who have been your biggest supporters by the use of insults and misrepresenting the spirit in which the objections have been raised, and this publicly, let alone the actual objections themselves. Granted, my most recent response was not very nice, but that itself was a private reaction to the way you have handled the whole process, both in content and spirit, and says nothing about the actual objections themselves. And, just to say it, I, one of those priests formed post-Vatican II become Traditionalist, do not, IN ANY WAY, support the theology of the body nonsense of Pope John Paul II or any acts within marriage considered as ends in and of themselves. You created a false dichotomy between what you present as Catholic teaching and what has been taught post, and even pre, Vatican II, as if there can be no other reasonable explanation for the objections raised, and this is insulting. As to the actual content of what you presented, I will not comment much at present, seeing that most of what you wrote was an attempt to answer X [NR: I am omitting the name of a lady], but I do deny that because there would be shame in exposing oneself publicly, that this necessitates that there must be shame in exposing oneself before one’s spouse. I think the arguments presented are deficient and I do take issue with these otherwise Catholic writers on this point. I also deny that because Original Sin is transmitted through the marital act that this actually touches upon the moral quality of the act itself. These are NOT one and the same thing, Atila. And the quotes themselves do not leave room for the distinction between the controlling of concupiscence versus the goal of chastity, in which the movements of concupiscence are not present. This is a glaring omission and it militates against the argument presented on this point. It also says nothing about the nature of procreation as it was intended by God before the Fall, which is where this whole debate originated. As of now, this will not end well, so I hope that you will return to the Catholic spirit you basically accuse others of not having, so that, to paraphrase one of your responses to X, we can return to being the friends we were before this all began.
The Editor responds:
Rev. Fr. Paul Sretenovic,
I was surprised to see that in this letter you did not take into the least consideration the principles of Catholic courtesy that are habitual among gentlemen. In the more than 10 years of good relations, this is the first time you adopted this disdainful tone. This is not a gentleman’s behavior, still less that of a priest, who should be a model of Christ with whomever he deals. I do not recognize in your letter the respectful behavior of the friend I have had for a long time. You changed, Father; I am sorry to say it.
Regarding the way you presented your reasoning, there is a blatant lack of foundation for some of your affirmations: I insult and misrepresent my objectors, don’t answer even the objections I presented, handled wrongly all my articles in spirit and content. You did not offer a single proof for these accusations. These are gratuitous judgments lacking any honest intellectual base.
You mentioned in passing that I was insulting my objector by creating a dichotomy between Catholic doctrine and what has been taught after Vatican II “as if there can be no other reasonable explanation for the objections raised,” but you didn’t give this explanation.
You said that you would not comment much on the content in this letter, but then, you did comment on it in most of your message when you opined on the question of shame, the deficiency of the arguments, and that you disagreed with two points: the exposition on shame and the transmission of original sin.
Next, you said that you take issue with the authors I quoted, but you didn’t say what those points of contention were.
Then, you confusingly wrote about the content: “And the quotes themselves do not leave room for the distinction between the controlling of concupiscence versus the goal of chastity, in which the movements of concupiscence are not present.” I don’t understand what you wanted to say here. Each one of the concepts you presented needs a better explanation in order to be clear. Even with this lack of clarity, however, you shot another arrow at me: “This is a glaring omission and it militates against the argument presented on this point.” Again, a puzzling charge incapable of being comprehended by a reader.
In the continuation of the previous phrase, you also wrote: “It also says nothing about the nature of procreation as it was intended by God before the Fall.” Again, your point is obscure: Is this initial “it” the “glaring omission” or are you referring to the quotes of the authors I cited, in which case it would be “they”? Or is this “it” a reproach that I should present other arguments and quotes on the topic of procreation before original sin? Confusion.
At the end of your diatribe you issued a somewhat less confusing statement that has the innuendo of a threat: “As of now, this will not end well.” What does this mean? Should I understand that you will continue to fuel the campaign of detractions promoted by your lady-friends?
I am sorry to say that your letter is remarkably deficient from the intellectual point of view. But, it is a good example of the objections TIA has received to this series of articles. If you, who are a priest, are so careless intellectually, I am not surprised that those ladies follow suit.
I hope that you, with or without the help of your friends, can put order in your thoughts, summarize and substantiate all the objections you have against TIA’s position on virginity and marriage. After doing so, I invite you to come forward like a man into the public arena with your written objections. I will respond to them.
Let me say a last word about why I posted your letter on our website.
- First, it is because you are making a violent criticism of a public article I wrote and it is normal for us at TIA to post both the favorable and hostile letters we receive.
- Second, you did not state anywhere that your letter was private; rather you wrote “granted, my most recent response was not very nice, but that itself was a private reaction to the way you have handled the whole process.” This tract implies that the present letter does not fall into that same private category.
- Third, the campaign you and these ladies are promoting against us has acquired a semi-public character and as such must be rebutted publicly.
- Fourth, all the previous personal answers to these ladies have revealed themselves to be fruitless and have only given pretexts for new attacks.
- Fifth, since you revealed in your letter a great deal of disdain for TIA and me, I suppose a personal answer would not be taken seriously.
Let us see if a written man-to-man debate is more successful to clarify these issues than answering endless complaints in the guileful campaign of rumors now in motion.
You may publish your statement on any site – please let me know when it will be issued – I will reprint it without changes on TIA’s website and reply to it. If you wish, TIA is at your disposal to post it firsthand here.
Atila S. Guimarães
Posted April 12, 2018