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 Did Bishop Fellay Lie? - Posted on Ignis Ardens 
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New post Did Bishop Fellay Lie? - Posted on Ignis Ardens
First, let’s remind ourselves of the doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning how we are to treat suspicions of sin in others.

From John S. Daly's article, "Duties Of Catholics Concerning Their Neighbours' Faults".

We may not:

Believe that our neighbour is guilty of any sin whatsoever when another possibility exists.

Reprove someone for doubtful faults, or with severity when mildness is sufficient.

Treat someone as wicked until the charitable presumption of his goodness has been definitively refuted.

Defame someone without its being certain that what we are saying is true, nor even report a definite sin unless it is necessary to do so; neither may we reveal an unfounded suspicion or an exaggerated suspicion, nor indeed any suspicion at all without necessity.

Generally evaluate the acts and omissions of our neighbour; assign motives, etc., without necessity, or more severely than is necessary.

Attribute to someone a bad motive where another motive, either a good one or a less bad one, is possible.

Suspect the existence of a fault or vice in someone, or doubt his virtue, where we have the reasonable possibility of not forming a judgement or of forming a more favourable judgement.

Report suspicions that are not justified, do so too severely, or do so without necessity.

Attribute a bad motive where a good or less bad motive is possible.

Now, the accusation is that Bishop Fellay lied. That is, that Bishop Fellay spoke against his own mind (i.e. he said something which he knew to be untrue).

Since Bishop Fellay is a fellow Catholic (leaving aside for the moment that he is a cleric, and further, a cleric with episcopal orders), we are obliged to presume that his actions are good. This presumption may be overturned only by certain proof of the contrary. Anything less than such proof would constitute the sin of calumny. Further, even if one became convinced that the allegation was sustained, one would have to demonstrate that a grave reason obliges one to pronounce it publicly, and of course if that were the case, both the proof of the allegation and the grave reason would both need to be given. Otherwise it would be the sin of detraction.

So, for this allegation to be believed, a virtuous man would have to have clear proof that,

1. Bishop Fellay said something which is clearly untrue
2. There is no plausible alternative interpretation of his words
3. He knew that what he said was untrue when he said it

Further, in order to justify the publication of this allegation and its proof, one would have to show that a grave reason exists which demands that the publication take place. Detraction is a serious sin too. Is it possible to oppose Bishop Fellay’s agenda of rallying to the Modernists without relying upon the allegation that he lied? Yes, it is.

Now, let us turn to the so-called proofs that Bishop Fellay lied.
Gregorio Sarto wrote:
Both fibs are contained in the DICI interview


Let it be said in passing that what was reported on the Internet concerning my remarks on this subject in Austria last month is entirely false.

There are at least two Autrian priests to whom Bp. Fellay revealed the "contents" of what was being offered to the SSPX. Dawn Marie published a summary of it here on Ignis Ardens. Other websites then reproduced it. This is what is being referred to by these rumours. Furthermore, both Fr. Koller and Bp. Tissier have referred to these same conditions which are supposedly no more than rumour and "entirely false". Are you calling Bp. Tissier a liar?


DICI: Was the pope’s decision adjourned, as some magazines have said? Did the Holy See tell you to expect a delay?

Bishop Fellay: No, I have had no information about any calendar whatsoever. There are even some who say that the pope will deal with this matter at Castel Gandolfo in July.

Not true. According to what the Second Assistant, Fr. Nely said at Suresnes recently, Bishop Fellay had, by this point, already been given assurances that the text he submitted in mid-April was acceptable.

I'm sure you;ve already seen it yourself anyway. Will anyone accuse Fr. Nely of telling fibs? Is anyone claiming that he has been misquoted? I am sure a quick phonecall could produce a quote from him to that effect, were that the case: there are enough priests and people still supporting Bp. Fellay who could do it. It's been days now since the French website published Fr. Nely's remarks, but still no denial... could it be that what he says is true?


Gregorio Sarto wrote:
NB - Bp. Fellay doesn't say just "false"; he doesn't say "I was misquoted"... he says "entirely false".

That means if even one part of the "rumours" can be shown to be true, then they're proved not to be "entirely" false, and thus what he said in the DICI interview is not true, and he must have known that it was not true, since it was his own words which were at issue.

As things stand, apart from this denial, all other evidence points to the "rumours" being totally true.

NWansbutterEsq wrote:
Actually, later in that same DICI interview, just two paragraphs before the "entirely false" quote, Bp. Fellay admits that at least 1/3 of what "was reported on the Internet concerning [his] remarks on this subject in Austria" was true, when His Lordship stated: "It is still true—since it is Church law—that in order to open a new chapel or to found a work, it would be necessary to have the permission of the local ordinary."

N.B. that this DICI "interview" was clearly a carefully prepared document, not a conversation.

Of course, the first thing to be highlighted is that we only have hearsay, second or third hand, for what is meant by the phrase "the rumours from Austria". Nobody who was clear about, and determined to comply with, the teaching of the Church concerning calumny and detraction would be satisfied with a case built upon such data.

Now consider the case here presented. Bishop Fellay is supposed to have said, in a carefully prepared text (the “interview” with DICI), that something was both entirely untrue, and partially true.

To believe that he lied, one is required to believe that he is not merely totally dishonest, but incredibly stupid also. Further, his collaborators at DICI are equally stupid, since they didn’t point out the “obvious” contradiction.

Is a man who is that stupid to be convicted of lying merely because he appears to contradict himself? What standard of judgement would that be? (And whatever standard it is, it's the one to be applied to your own case on Judgement Day.)

Is there a plausible alternative to the allegation that Bishop Fellay lied? Yes.

It is plausible that when he said “Let it be said in passing that what was reported on the Internet concerning my remarks on this subject in Austria last month is entirely false” he meant to deny that an agreement had already been reached which contained those detailed conditions. Such an allegation would indeed have been entirely false, and that allegation was indeed made.

There is another possibility also. It is plausible that when he said “Let it be said in passing that what was reported on the Internet concerning my remarks on this subject in Austria last month is entirely false” he meant his remarks in toto, not merely the three specific points reported here about a possible canonical deal. Nor is this a stretch. One reason that people were outraged by the rumours was the implication that Bishop Fellay might accept such conditions as part of a canonical structure. In trying to put to bed such speculation about what he might accept, it is perfectly plausible that he meant to deny that he would accept outrageous conditions, and implausible that he meant to deny that there would be any conditions at all.

Further, both possible interpretations are supported by the fact that Bishop Fellay went on to confirm that one of the conditions mentioned in the rumours from Austria is likely to be required (approval of new establishments by Modernist bishops).

As for the “proof” based upon the Fr. Nely hearsay, it requires even less refutation. Fr. Nely does not even hint that a “timetable” had been given. He merely says what Bishop Fellay himself has said, which is that they were given to understand that the April text was acceptable, with the implication that a deal would proceed. So yes, Menzingen would have expected that some kind of agreement would be imminent, given that agreement on a text had essentially been reached, but Fr. Nely does not indicate that a timetable was known.

Further, we don't know what Bishop Fellay expected from the meeting of June 13. He certainly gave no indication that he thought he was arriving to seal a deal. The contrary is more logical, since he had publicly stated that the deal had been delayed (DICI interview). He would certainly have had theories as to why, but in reality neither he nor anybody else outside Rome could know for sure what the reason for the delay was.

My theory, as I've expressed several times, is that the release of the letters between the bishops of the SSPX was the key factor. "rome" reacted to that very strongly, and Menzingen undertood that this reaction bode ill for the deal, and reacted accordingly itself.

In any case, we can be sure that Menzingen did not think that a deal was both certain and imminent in the period leading up to June 13, contrary to what has been said here. What is clear is that at least up until the release of the letters between the bishops, Bishop Fellay had received assurances from "rome" that his text was acceptable, and that Benedict himself was the one making the decision. After the release of the letters, clearly, he was not sure what would happen - the signals from "rome" were decidedly "difficult." On June 13 he discovered, or had confirmed, that Benedict was demanding clear adherence to Vatican II and clear acceptance of the Novus Ordo. Nothing in Fr. Nely's presentation requires or even suggests a different set of facts.

Is it just, and in accordance with the grave obligations of charity, to allege that Bishop Fellay lied? I think not. Indeed, I think that it is gravely sinful to believe such allegations on the basis of the evidence available, and an additional grave sin to publish such allegations.

These sins would not cease to exist, if on Judgement Day it were found to be true that Bishop Fellay lied. In order to avoid these sins, the requirements listed above must be met, now. Clear proof, with no reasonable alternative interpretation, and a grave reason which necessitates publication.

I doubt that Bishop Fellay's accusers can meet the Catholic Church's standards on these points, and they certainly haven't so far, so the allegations should be abandoned.

In Christ our King.

Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:55 am
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