Mr. Michael Davies & Mr. Atila S. Guimarães
on the Card. Ratzinger document Dominus Jesus
Brief Chronicle of Events
September 5, 2000, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and other representatives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released the document Dominus Jesus.
September 30, 2000: the bi-weekly newspaper The Remnant published an article by Mr. Atila Guimarães entitled “A Conversion?” In it the writer defended the position that the document did not change anything in the Vatican’s ecumenical position, as the media was trumpeting everywhere. That is, he stated that the document would not represent a step back from ecumenism or a return to the pre-conciliar era. On the contrary, Dominus Jesus represented another step forward on the road to raze one of the characteristic notes of the Catholic Church, her unicity. According to Guimarães, Dominus Jesus defends the notion that there is a substantial distinction between the Catholic Church and the so-called Church of Christ, which would be broader than the Catholic Church and would include Catholics, Protestants and Schismatics.
October 31, 2000: The Remnant published an article by Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D. entitled “Dominus Jesus: Something Borrowed, Nothing New”. In it Dr. Horvat quoted many significant commentaries on the Vatican document that spoke in the very opposite sense of the almost unanimous interpretation of the media and blindly obedient conservatives. She presented statements by Kent R. Hill, President of the Eastern Nazarene College; Rev. Fr. Richard McBrien, Professor at Notre Dame University; author and journalist George Weigel; Dr. Timothy George, Dean of Beeson [Baptist] Theological Seminary, and Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore. Last but not least, she also transcribed two decisive statements: one by Pope John Paul II saying clearly that Dominus Jesus is a faithful reaffirmation of the principles of Vatican II, and a statement by Cardinal Ratzinger himself in an interview granted to the German newspaper Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, in which he declared point blank that the Church of Christ explained in Dominus Jesus has “a larger identity than the Roman Catholic Church.”
December 31, 2000: The Remnant published an article by Mr. Michael Davies entitled “A Christmas Letter from London.” In one of the items of this article Mr. Davies wrote these words:
“Unlike some Remnant columnists, I was much encouraged by the Declaration Dominus Jesus, which, like Protestant spokesmen in England, France, Germany, and Switzerland, I consider to be an unequivocal reaffirmation of the nature of the Catholic Church as the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ. I hope to explain my reasons early next year, if my Una Voce responsibilities allow me the time, and I will look forward to a lively debate in The Remnant.”
January 31, 2001: in the Letters to the Editor section of The Remnant, under the subtitle “Mr. Davies’ Challenge Accepted,” the newspaper published the following letter by Mr. Guimarães:
“Editor: In your December 31 issue, you published a yearly review by Mr. Michael Davies in which he stated that he believed that Dominus Jesus is an ‘unequivocal affirmation of the nature of the Catholic Church as the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ.’ He disagrees with ‘some columnists’ who hold the opposite and offers to prove his affirmation.
May 31, 2001: The Remnant published the column by Mr. Davies entitled “A Letter from London” in which he opened fire against Mr. Guimarães. Curiously, the attack was not on the latter’s position on Dominus Jesus, as Mr. Davies had promised, but on different aspects of Guimarães’ column “Bird’s Eye View of the News” published March 31, 2000. Mr. Davies, who found time to analyze in great detail various points of that column, nonetheless alleged that he did not have enough time to enter the debate on the Vatican document. He postponed the discussion until August 2001.
“Dr. Marian T. Horvat and I, who have the pleasure to write for The Remnant, have sustained in its pages precisely the opposite of Mr. Davies’ statement: that Dominus Jesus is not an ‘unequivocal affirmation’ of the past doctrine of the Catholic Church, and that it affirms that the uniqueness belongs no longer to the Catholic Church, but to a strange new ‘Church of Christ’ which includes Protestants of all denominations and Schismatics of all fragmentations.
“So, I find myself curious about what cards Mr. Davies might have up his sleeve to present his case. I am, therefore, writing to accept the ‘lively polemic’ he proposed on the topic.”
July 31, 2001: The Remnant published the article by Mr. Guimarães entitled “A Letter to London”. The writer questioned Mr. Davies’ delay in responding to the challenge that Davies himself had issued with regard to Dominus Jesus, and communicated that he was still awaiting the “lively debate” Davies had promised. He also responded to each of the broad-ranging accusations of Mr. Davies, and counter-attacked with a challenge of his own on some points.
September 15, 2001: The Remnant published Mr. Davies’ column “A Letter from London”. In that piece the writer again avoided the debate he had initiated on the topic of Dominus Jesus. He made superficial replies to the counter-attacks of Mr. Guimarães’, without addressing the context of the issues themselves, and went on to raise other trifling questions on several disperse topics. He also spiced his piece with multiple personal attacks on Mr. Guimarães. At the end he stated that he still holds to the same theses as most traditionalists and conservatives. About Dominus Jesus, still nothing.
On February 15, 2002, The Remnant published Mr. Guimarães' article Why Not Deal With Dominus Jesus? There the writer showed the many dishonest procedures Mr. Davies employed in his last piece of the polemic. Guimarães presented evidence that Davies tricked his readers by:
1. An incessant request for other sources of information;
2. Several adulterations of the opponent's argument;
3. Various other fraudulent ruses; and
4. Fleeing from the arguments to which he had no reply.
Guimarães closed his piece inviting Davies to return to the discussion on Dominus Jesus.
Articles in the Polemic
Atila Sinke Guimarães
Dominus Jesus: Something Borrowed, Nothing New
Dr. Marian T. Horvat
A Letter from London
Mr. Michael Davies
A Letter to London
Atila S. Guimarães
A Letter from London
Mr. Michael Davies
Why Not Deal With Dominus Jesus?
A. S. Guimarães
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