Dr. De Mattei Doubles Down

June 23, 2021 (Steven O’Reilly) – Things are getting stranger.  Yesterday, Dr. Roberto De Mattei published an article in Corrispondenza Romana suggesting rather strongly that Archbishop Carlo Vigano has used a “ghost writer” for some of his more recent messages (see The Viganò Case: The Archbishop and His Double). 

Archbishop Vigano was very quick to respond with a denial which certainly appears absolute, and unequivocal (see Abp. Viganò: About some declarations of Professor Roberto de Mattei which recently appeared at ‘Corrispondenza Romana’]).  Vigano’s message reads in part (emphasis added):

“The idea that I have a “double” must be the fruit of some adviser to whom Professor de Mattei has improvidently lent his faith, without realizing that by doing so he has exposed himself to the public refutation of completely unfounded allegations, which also sound, if I may be allowed to say so, not very charitable in my regard. I am therefore taking the opportunity afforded by his article to deny his impudent and fanciful theses, reassuring those who have the goodness to read me and listen to me that there is no ghost writer, and that by the grace of God I still have full possession of my faculties, I am not manipulated by anyone, and I am absolutely determined to continue my apostolic mission for the salvation of souls.” 

Also yesterday, I provided my own, brief outsider’s take on what this is really all about (see Dr. De Mattei’s Vigano Theory: What is this really about?):  

“I don’t know for sure.  I have no inside information. Looking in from the outside, De Mattei’s article ultimately reflects a divide within the ‘resistance’ in Rome. That is, some in the ‘resistance’ — perhaps the likes of Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider among them, and with whom Dr. Mattei is very likely in contact — are simply uncomfortable with Archbishop Viganó’s more visible and vocal approach, and the content of his message. Theories of authorship aside, that is fundamentally what this is all about. That the disagreement over content and tone of Viganó’s message had to descend into questions of authorship is unfortunate. Again, if you have a disagreement over content, argue that point.”

Unfortunately, this whole mess didn’t end with Vigano’s clear denial of it all.

Doubling Down

Now, as said, this morning, Dr. De Mattei doubles down on his theory — pun intended — in a second article (see Viganò case: Who is the real author of the writings of Archbishop Viganò ?).  In this second article, Dr. De Mattei provides greater detail with regard to some of his evidence, as well as to the specific identity of the supposed ghost-writer in his view.  I invite the reader to review his evidence. My fear now is that this whole controversy is destined to drag out for quite some time. I’ll provide a couple high-level comments on Dr. De Mattei’s second article below.

First, it is obvious Dr. De Mattei believes his evidence and conclusion are solid. One thing that puzzles me is his whole approach to the question. Why did he not lay out all his cards on the table for Vigano in private?  For all Dr. De Mattei knew — even assuming his conclusion has some basis in fact — Vigano could have had an innocent explanation for the fact pattern presented to him. Now, instead of a potential amicable conclusion, there is now the public accusation Vigano used a ‘gay friendly’ ghost-writer, which possibly and unfairly damages his credibility no matter how this turns out. Why would De Mattei — based on his belief in the strength of his own evidence — not give Vigano a private opportunity to gracefully distance himself from any alleged association to the alleged ghost writer? Instead, there is the appearance Dr. De Mattei employed a ‘rope a dope’ tactic; that is, enticing an absolute denial from Vigano based on a vague accusation only to then quickly administer a sucker punch via a more detailed accusation.  To be clear, none of this is to suggest I doubt Vigano’s denial based on any of the evidence provided to date.  Rather, it is to suggest Vigano is quite justified in saying Dr. De Mattei’s accusation was “not very charitable.”

Second, Dr. De Mattei’s second article offers some evidence. What about it? In my first brief article on this controversy, I called Dr. De Mattei’s evidence, as presented in the first article, “questionable” and “flimsy.” His second article provides more information on his analysis. Dr. De Mattei indicates that they used something called “stylometric research” (see Stylometry). Now, stylometric research is a real thing. But, one thing to note is that “Stylometry can only offer statistical probability, not definitively claim authorship” (see https://guides.temple.edu/stylometryfordh).  

We may suppose that Dr. De Mattei likely has more examples of evidence from this stylometric analysis than he had space to print in his article. Still, absent the statistical analysis, the examples provided in the article strike me as weak.  For example, the supposed ghost writer and Vigano use similar terms in their writing, such as “counter-church”, and “conciliar sect,” and “innovators.” However, such commonality may have innocent explanations. These terms are sure to populate many potential source documents and websites that have harsh views of Vatican II. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation.  

I assume Vigano will respond, and by the time this article is published, he may have already done so [NB: I’ll update this article accordingly, if so]. But I suspect that even another absolute and unequivocal denial may not be the end of it as far as Dr. De Mattei.  Regardless, especially if he is going to insist on his conclusion, it seems to me that Dr. De Mattei must make public his analytical methodology (e.g., what writing samples were searched, how many potential authors were searched, what software was used, etc.), and the detailed results of his stylometric research, e.g., data inputs, the outputs (e.g,, the probabilities, charts, tables, PDF documents, etc), and so forth. 

All of this unfortunate. This was ultimately and fundamentally, in my opinion, about what Vigano says. If someone has a disagreement with an argument, address the argument. In the end, the result may only be that one or both parties will have their credibility unnecessarily sullied in this whole mess.  

Viva the ‘resistance’?

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. A former intelligence officer, he and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is author of Book I of the Pia Fidelis trilogy, The Two Kingdoms. (Follow on twitter at @fidelispia for updates). He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com  or StevenOReilly@ProtonMail.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA or on Parler or Gab: @StevenOReilly).

 


6 thoughts on “Dr. De Mattei Doubles Down

  1. Prof. De Mattei did a pretty good job in his second missive explaining why he believes there’s a Vigano double. You? All you have is innuendo, and the LifeSite article as refutation convinces nobody as there’s no way to confirm such a double didn’t write that.

    I suspect that folks like you (and LifeSite) are upset by this because it calls into question the way Vigano has recently been spouting the same stupid nonsense most traditionalists within the American church have been over the past year, especially regarding COVID.

    I’m inclined to believe De Mattei. You? Who are you again exactly? That’s right, you’re nobody; a Skojec/Voris/Westen-wannabe.

    Like

    1. Miguel,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I think you misunderstand the problem. First, why is Dr. de Mattei even asking the question? Ultimately, the question is *what* Vigano is saying, regardless of whatever reasons, sources, or influences have impacted Vigano over the last 2-3 years.

      If Dr. De Mattei opposes Vigano’s articles…then, by all means, he should make his case, point by point, with logic, “and with malice toward none, and charity for all.” Questioning who the author is in this specific case strikes me as a cheap way to bypass that step. Also, as I outlined, the manner in which Dr. De Mattei did it strikes me as very uncharitable. I outlined why in my article.

      But secondly, as to the question of evidence. I reject your notion that all I have is “innuendo.” It is not my burden to “prove” Vigano wrote what he did — it is Dr. De Mattei’s burden to prove he did not. He chose that position…he took up that mantle…now he must put up or shut up.

      Now….I was careful to say that the evidence Dr. De Mattei *presented* is weak. It is. He provided maybe a half dozen or so shared words between the writers…but correlation does not establish causation.

      I didn’t go far beyond that sort of brief analysis PRECISELY because I fully expect that Dr. De Mattei has more examples, and *may* have some of the things I requested he provide. I am not going to make an absolute detailed rebuttal about everything he *might* have — and which I have not seen — until I have seen everything he has. I limited myself to what he PRESENTED.

      As to THAT…it is weak. I continue to maintain his presented evidence is weak; and does not account for innocent explanations. Might he have something more that explains why he is so DOGMATIC in his conclusion? Maybe he does….but that is missing from both of his articles. Nothing in any of them should lead anyone to adopt his position — which would necessarily impugn Vigano, and call him a liar (given his absolute denial). If Dr. De Mattei is not going to provide strong evidence — and account for alternate, innocent explanations; it is his fault, not the reader’s if they reject his conclusion.

      So, what is MISSING from Dr. De Mattei’s presentation? What is missing are the statistics and probabilities, etc., from his stylometric research. Where are they? I assume he has them. I found it odd that De Mattei didn’t provide the statistical/probability results of his stylometric analysis. It would have helped an argument that is entirely based on stylometry. I am not saying he doesn’t have them. I am saying he didn’t provide them.

      Hypothetically, if I were arguing in a similar situation — playing the part of Dr. De Mattei — in which I was potentially and irrevocably impeaching the credibility of an archbishop — there are certain points I would want to say in my article.

      For example, hypothetically speaking still, I would want to be able to definitively says something like…”we compared samples of 100 Catholic bloggers and other Catholic authors to Vigano’s recent documents and Mr. X had a 98% chance of being the author — and no other writer inclusive of Vigano had more than a 2% chance of being the author” or something like that.

      But…Dr. De Mattei’s article doesn’t say anything like that. Instead, we are left with a few examples of some shared words that might as easily be found among sites or documents written by many traditionalist bloggers and/or authors speaking on Vatican II or Covid.

      On top of that, Dr. De Mattei provided his reader no statistics or methodology in this Vigano investigation. Consequently, we have no idea what universe of writers and documents were searched, nor what stylometric software was used (and any weaknesses these might have), methodology, etc. I am not saying he can’t provide this information. I am saying these are things I would have included had I thought they would help my case.

      All these bits of information would contribute to helping the reader understand not only *that* stylometric research was done, but that it was done *right* (e.g., sample size?) — as well as understand if the results are really statistically significant. More importantly, it would also help someone defend himself AGAINST an accusation if the methodology is faulty. So…out of fairness to Vigano…this info *should* be provided if one is going to continue to assert the accusation.

      But, even when all the above is said and done, stylometry does not “prove” a given person *is* the author of a given piece…it attaches a probability… as I indicated in my first article.

      So…all these sorts of things being absent…the case strikes me as very weak. In my article I stated my belief that De Mattei *must* provide the information above to his readers (and independent analysts) if he insists on his accusation. Surely, you could not disagree with that?

      As to your last paragraph, and your assertion I am a “nobody”…this is just the sort of Ad Hominem I’m protesting in my articles. Fine. I am a “nobody” but one you took the time to read and respond to.

      Leaving aside the ad hominem, as to your question, what am I inclined to? I fully believe Vigano on the question of authorship.

      God bless,

      Steve

      Like

  2. Hahahaha Mr. Ortiz, you read as though you are Jack Nicholson on the stand in “A few good men.”

    “..You Lieutenant Weinberg?….

    That aside, I think the problem is that men like the good professor rightly fear what will happen – it WILL be catastrophic – If Vigano continues the theological trajectory that he has been on the past year.

    “Who says A must say B” is the old axiom of one of the early columnists at National Review.

    Vigano is identifying the Second Vatican Council as a primary source of error. That means it is ineluctable that he will have to concede that Vatican Two was unlike any Ecumenical Council ever and, actually, not a legitimate Ecumenical Council but, rather, merely a Synod.

    The good professor know where all of the is heading and he prolly wants it to stop because if Vigano ends up where he is now heading, that is when the modernist shite hits the ecclesiastical fan.

    Such revelations are necessary though because truth matters.

    Like

  3. Dear Mr. O’Reilly. Below is the infallible teaching of Vatican !;

    Chapter 2.

    On the permanence of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs

    1. That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ’s authority, in the Church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time [45].

    2. For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood 46].

    3. Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole Church. So what the truth has ordained stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and does not abandon that guidance of the Church which he once received [47].

    4. For this reason it has always been necessary for every Church–that is to say the faithful throughout the world–to be in agreement with the Roman Church because of its more effective leadership. In consequence of being joined, as members to head, with that see, from which the rights of sacred communion flow to all, they will grow together into the structure of a single body [48].

    5. Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.

    ++++++++++++++++

    There is no sentiment Catholic, least of all Carlo Maria ArchBishop Vigano who thinks Jesus is exercising His judgment through Bergoglio which means there is aught but one obvious conclusion…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s