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 The Deal is Here - Again 
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New post The Deal is Here - Again
Bishop Williamson's latest EC.

Quote:
AGREEMENT HERE
________________________________________
On December 13 of last year, in St Martha’s House in Rome where the Pope is currently living, the Pope met briefly with Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St Pius X. The Society officially denies that the meeting had any significance, but an Italian commentator having some familiarity with how Rome operates, one Giacomo Devoto (G.D.), argues that the meeting was proof that a Rome-SSPX agreement has been reached. See http://www.unavox.it/ArtDiversi/DIV812_ ... gante.html.

In brief:—
On the morning of the 13th Bishop Fellay and his two Assistants at the head of the SSPX met in the Vatican with the heads of the Ecclesia Dei Commission at the invitation of Monsignor Guido Pozzo, restored to the Commission by Pope Francis to deal with the problematic relations between Rome and the SSPX. An official publication of the SSPX, DICI , claims that this meeting was merely “informal,” but G.D. says that even being informal it cannot have taken place without there having been beforehand a series of discreet contacts to repair the public breach of relations in June of 2012. Also, says G.D., such a meeting is the necessary preliminary to any “formal” meeting.
In any case after that meeting Msgr. Pozzo, Msgr. di Noia and the three heads of the SSPX repaired to St Martha’s House where the Pope also happened to be lunching. When the Pope stood up after the meal to leave, Bishop Fellay went over to him, they exchanged a few words in public view and the Bishop kissed the Pope’s ring (or knelt down for his blessing, according to Rome’s Vatican Insider ). DICI again minimised the encounter as nothing more than a chance meeting with a spontaneous exchange of courtesies. On the contrary G.D. reasonably m aintains that even such a “chance” encounter cannot have taken place without the Pope’s previous knowledge and approval.

Moreover, says G.D., in the art of diplomacy such a meeting is a finely calculated ice-breaker, of elastic interpretation, designed to mean as much or as little as one wants. On the one hand the courteous contact was there for all to see in a public place frequented by important Newchurch officials, and it could be seen as papal support of whatever had gone on at the morning’s meeting with the Commission. On the other hand both Rome and the SSPX could plausibly deny that the encounter had any real significance beyond an exchange of courtesies.
Thus when rumours began to circulate in the new year, for months the SSPX denied that there was any question of a Rome-SSPX agreement. Only on May 10 did DICI admit that there had been any contact at all between the Pope and Bishop Fellay, and then DICI so minimised the event t hat G.D. takes it as a sure sign that an agreement has been reached in private. (In modern politics, as the cynical saying goes, nothing can be taken as true until it is officially denied.)

In fact the main problem, for Pope Francis as for Bishop Fellay, is not how to come to an agreement which they both want, but how to get their left and right wings respectively to accept an agreement. However, the problem is being solved for them day by day as the Society, once glorious for its defence of the Faith, becomes the inglorious Newsociety. For indeed how many Newchurch bishops can still be fearing the Newsociety as a threat to their Newchurch? And how many SSPX priests are still convinced that any agreement with Rome would be a disaster, especially if they are promised that “they will need to change nothing”? Such an agreement will hardly need to be announced. In many minds and hearts it is already here.
Kyrie eleison.


A few thoughts.

Note that Giacomo Devoto is an obvious pen-name. In English, it is "Pious (or "Devout") James." There was a character with this name who was an Italian linguist, a European Federalist, who died in 1974, so it isn't entirely beyong the realms of possibility that this is a real name of somebody now living, but if it is, the gentleman does not appear to exist except as the writer of this single blog post...

The blog itself is one of those affairs promoting "tradition" but without addressing any hard questions, and as such promotes diocesan as well as sedevacantist and SSPX masses via its directory. Why it is publishing a political screed aimed at embarassing the SSPX is not clear.

Now, let's examine the little rhetorical tricks Bishop Williamson uses to create the illusion that he has something substantial to say in his latest EC.

To set the stage, he puffs his source - an anonymous Indult-friendly blogger - as "an Italian commentator having some familiarity with how Rome operates." This is completely gratuitous. Actually, the blogger appears to know nothing about how Modernist Rome operates under Francis. But the reader is invited to imagine that he is getting some kind of "inside" view of the matter. He is getting to peak behind the curtain, a rare privilege. He is, in a word, being flattered, so as to bring down his guard.

As we used to say in the wheat-growing country I come from, "an expert is anybody who comes from further than fifty miles away carrying a briefcase."

Let's take a closer look at his first assertion:
Quote:
DICI , claims that this meeting was merely “informal,” but G.D. says that even being informal it cannot have taken place without there having been beforehand a series of discreet contacts to repair the public breach of relations in June of 2012.

So here we have the direct assertion that this meeting necessarily implies some series of preceding "contacts" which were needed to "repair" a "breach" in relations. This is baseless speculation dressed up as insider wisdom. Obviously even an informal meeting must have been preceded by at least a telephone call or a chance encounter in the street. Either would qualify as a "contact" and yet pointing it out would add nothing to the body of data already known. But the blogger does further, assuring the naive reader that only a series of contacts could have brought about such a meeting.

Yet Bishop Fellay has said publicly and perfectly clearly that if Rome calls, he will always go. (He also expresses frequently his conviction that such meetings are a waste of time.) What series of discreet contacts are required to bring about something that the invitee has declared publicly he will do every time he is asked?

Quote:
Also, says G.D., such a meeting is the necessary preliminary to any “formal” meeting.

Again, this is presenting a commonplace, obvious, fact, as though it were some derivation from special knowledge. It pads out the notion that our pseudonymous blogger wants to convey, without adding an iota to the data.

Quote:
DICI again minimised the encounter [with Francis, at St. martha's House] as nothing more than a chance meeting with a spontaneous exchange of courtesies. On the contrary G.D. reasonably maintains that even such a “chance” encounter cannot have taken place without the Pope’s previous knowledge and approval.


Again, this reveals true ignorance of the chaos and informality of Francis's approach. His security detail have frequently complained that his behaviour makes it nigh impossible to protect him. He acts on a whim frequently, without the slightest advance indication of his intentions. He lives in what amounts to a hotel and eats in the public dining room. Controlling access to him is extremely difficult, a difficulty he adds to with apparent glee by accepting all manner of approaches by outsiders. It is certainly possible that the encounter was planned, or at least, the circumstances were created by certain persons in order for it to be likely to occur, but we don't know that. We certainly don't know, and cannot even reasonably speculate, given the context, that Francis knew about Bishop Fellay's expected presence in advance. All that we know is that the group ate at a very common place for visitors to Rome with official business in the Vatican to stay and to eat. They may have hoped to run into Francis, but we cannot know or even speculate in any secure manner. But this is all scene-setting for the even less secure speculation, presented authoritatively as assertions of fact, which are to follow.

Quote:
Moreover, says G.D., in the art of diplomacy such a meeting is a finely calculated ice-breaker, of elastic interpretation, designed to mean as much or as little as one wants. On the one hand the courteous contact was there for all to see in a public place frequented by important Newchurch officials, and it could be seen as papal support of whatever had gone on at the morning’s meeting with the Commission. On the other hand both Rome and the SSPX could plausibly deny that the encounter had any real significance beyond an exchange of courtesies.


This is funny. The entire value for diplomats of such a meeting as "a finely calculated ice-breaker" arises precisely from the fact that it looks exactly like a chance encounter, so that nobody can be quite sure that it wasn't. But somehow for our anonymous blogger this constitutes proof that it wasn't a chance encounter at all. Think about that for a minute. We know that spies often present themselves to Boarder Security officals as businessmen on legitimate commercial journeys; therefore, if we notice a man who appears to be a businessman on a legitimate trip abroad, we can easily conclude that he is really a spy. The lack of logic is delightful. The rhetorical game is manifest.

Again, from this text we know nothing more than we knew before we read it, except for the fact that our source is either a fool or a knave.

We still haven't seen anything that even looks like support for the notion presented in the title of this EC - Agreement Now - and we're well past halfway through it, indeed, nearly at the end. But look what happens next...
Quote:
Thus when rumours began to circulate in the new year, for months the SSPX denied that there was any question of a Rome-SSPX agreement. Only on May 10 did DICI admit that there had been any contact at all between the Pope and Bishop Fellay, and then DICI so minimised the event that G.D. takes it as a sure sign that an agreement has been reached in private. (In modern politics, as the cynical saying goes, nothing can be taken as true until it is officially denied.)

Emphasis added.


Note how the subject is the meeting between Bishop Fellay and Francis. We have been told that it couldn't have been accidental, and that it proves that much more has happened under the surface. Yet it is pointed out now that DICI has denied that there is any question of an agreement - not that there has been any contact. The rhetorical trick is again manifest. It's a form of bait-and-switch. DICI didn't deny that some contact had occurred, so the denial that an agreement was in the works, or had been reached, is not at issue. But the two things are deliberately conflated and confused.

Here it is in plainer English:
"GD": What look like chance encounters are sometimes diplomatic tactics to aimed at running up a trial balloon without admitting that anything's up.
"GD": DICI denied that there was any question of an agreement.
"GD": DICI admitted that there had been contact.
"GD": Ah ha! See! There is definitely an agreement! They denied it! What more proof could you want?

Yes, I know, that is not a logical sequence. But dear reader, you're meant to infer certain things, interposing them by your imagination as you proceed. For example, you're meant to imagine that there is a contradiction between denying that there is any question of an agreement and admitting that you've had a meeting. Further, you're meant to feel that this dark art of diplomacy is very mysterious and beyond your common sense knowledge of the world, so that all manner of apparently illogical things have some obscure yet completely certain connection...

The punchline is a classic, logically utterly unconnected to the preceding text, yet a powerful rhetorical tactic all the same, bringing in the reader's likely disgust at all things political to bolster an otherwise hopelessly weak case: "In modern politics, as the cynical saying goes, nothing can be taken as true until it is officially denied."

Nor is that the only layer of rhetorical trickery at work in the introduction of that phrase at that point. For it also reinforces the untrue suggestion already made to the unwary reader, that something has been denied which was later admitted. The logical disconnect with the preceding text is clear, but only upon examination.

These EC's aren't made to be examined, of course. They're made for undiscriminating consumption by the fearful...

OK, now for the summary, which of course doesn't summarise the body of the EC, but actually changes the subject!

Quote:
In fact the main problem, for Pope Francis as for Bishop Fellay, is not how to come to an agreement which they both want, but how to get their left and right wings respectively to accept an agreement. However, the problem is being solved for them day by day as the Society, once glorious for its defence of the Faith, becomes the inglorious Newsociety. For indeed how many Newchurch bishops can still be fearing the Newsociety as a threat to their Newchurch? And how many SSPX priests are still convinced that any agreement with Rome would be a disaster, especially if they are promised that “they will need to change nothing”? Such an agreement will hardly need to be announced. In many minds and hearts it is already here.


Again, this is classic word manipulation. It is asserted without the slightest evidence that both Francis and Bishop Fellay want an agreement. If Francis wants an agreement, there is absolutely zero evidence for it. He goes out of his way to insult traditionalists; he says expressly that he has no interest in us; he has done nothing that can reasonably be interpreted as holding out an olive branch, let alone presenting any possibility that there is a place in the Conciliar Church for people like the SSPX clergy and followers. We are the "self-absorbed promethean neopelagians", after all!

What has Bishop Fellay said about an agreement? "When we see what is happening now we thank God, we thank God, we have been preserved from any kind of Agreement from last year. And we may say that one of the fruits of the [Rosary] Crusade we did is that we have been preserved from such a misfortune. Thank God."

If they both want an agreement, they're preparing their respective audiences in a funny way. Perhaps this too is one of those arcane practices of that dark art, "diplomacy," of which the common man has no knowledge...

The remainder of the summary paragraph says nothing about any formal agreement, and merely asserts, again without evidence, that an agreement is unnecessary, that all of the evil that is to be feared from it is already coming to be, as if this were logically in any sense the way to conclude an article of which the main thrust has been to argue that an agreement already exists. How many priests of the Society "are still convinced that any agreement with Rome would be a disaster?" we are asked rhetorically, of course. Well, all of those who have heard or read Bishop Fellay's comment quoted above, and agreed with it, dare we say? "When we see what is happening now we thank God, we thank God, we have been preserved from any kind of Agreement from last year."

_________________
In Christ our King.


Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:50 am
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Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 5:19 am
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New post Re: The Deal is Here - Again
I read through this on the weekend and didn't find it at all persuasive, even less so than +Williamson's last couple letters against the sedevacantist position. As best as I can tell, any serious prospect of any kind of agreement is deader than Bergoglio's Catholic faith. Some might argue that +Fellay and others in the SSPX leadership are heartbroken about that prospect, but I even doubt if that's true. With Francis/Bergoglio cranking up the speed on the Vatican II train to runaway speed, I am sure +Fellay and SSPX leadership are nothing but relieved to be 'off the train' and watching and waiting from outside the structure of the conciliar church. Although I haven't seen anything definitive ruling out some kind of agreement some time in the future. But for now at least, Bishop Fellay's position seems to be "We stay as we are".


Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:49 pm
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