For years I worried that the QAnon conspiracy theory would find its way into Catholicism, but thankfully it seems there are few fervent Catholics who openly support QAnon right now. Recently, however, I came across an exception in “Friend of Medjugorje,” the author of a book from 2019 that offers an explicit fusion of QAnon with Catholicism. What is especially striking about Friend of Medjugorje’s Qatholicism is that the language he uses anticipates some of the language used by Archbishop Viganò in his letter to President Donald Trump, which I have argued (here and here) was an attempt to engage the MAGA movement and appears to contain dog-whistles directed at the QAnon community in particular. The similarities between the book and Viganò’s letter are uncanny, and point to a shared vision as well as a shared vocabulary. I have no idea if Viganò has read the book, and I consider it fairly unlikely, but it is instructive to compare the two texts.
Big Q, Little Q: The Calm Before the Storm (St. James Publishing, 2019), by Friend of Medjugorje (whose real name is Terry Colafrancesco), is available in print, as an e-book, and as an audiobook through Audible. Colafrancesco, I should note, is not by any stretch aligned with mainstream Catholicism. He appears to be the driving force behind an organization in Alabama called Caritas of Birmingham which has capitalized upon the www.medjugorje.com domain name. More information on the author and this organization, some of it troubling, can be easily found by searching online.
To get a feel for Big Q, Little Q, readers may wish to view the bizarre and disjointed promotional video for the book, which contains some cryptic narration and graphics interspersed with footage of paper copies being printed and packaged for shipment:
Before delving into the content of the book, we should recall the language and rhetoric used by Archbishop Viganò in his June 2020 letter to Trump, so that the book and the letter may be compared more easily. Below are the opening sentences of the first three paragraphs of Viganò’s letter, which capture his core message (italicization appears in the original).
“In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority.”
“These two sides, which have a Biblical nature, follow the clear separation between the offspring of the Woman and the offspring of the Serpent.”
“In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies. And it appears that the children of darkness—whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days—have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans.”
Certain key terms—“Biblical,” “children of light,” “children of darkness,” and “deep state”—echo motifs common among those who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory. In particular, they echo the QAnon catchphrases “Dark to light” (which reflects the dark/light dualism that provides the spiritual structure for QAnon in general) and “It’s gonna be Biblical” (taken from a scene [language warning] referenced by Q from the film Law Abiding Citizen). Further, the positioning of Trump as a spiritual warrior reflects a key QAnon theme captured in a bible passage often cited by Q, Ephesians 6:10-18 (on the “Armor of God”), and Viganò’s call for the children of light to shake off the deceptions of the mainstream media, “wake up from their sluggishness,” and “come together and make their voices heard” sounds suspiciously like the Q call for a “Great Awakening” and a new solidarity (reflected in the slogan “Where We Go One, We Go All” or “WWG1WGA”) among those who can see through the lies of the fake news media. Considering also the references elsewhere in the letter to Freemasonry, Trump’s “proclamation of the month of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month,” conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19 and the George Floyd protests, and the “invisible enemy” (another Q motif representing the deep state), it is not unreasonable to think that Viganò was trying to catch the attention of Q and the QAnon community. (For those unfamiliar with the language of QAnon, I have added a couple of explanatory notes at the bottom of this post.)
Keeping the Trump letter in mind, we can examine how Big Q, Little Q anticipates some of Viganò’s terms and rhetoric.
Big Q, Little Q mixes Marian apocalypticism, hardcore Trumpism, and QAnon conspiracy theory. Its basic premise is simple: Trump is a contemporary Joan of Arc who is fighting to save civilization from the forces of evil with the help and guidance of “Big Q” or Mary, the Queen of Heaven, and “Little Q” of QAnon fame. When it comes to Trump’s mission and destiny, God is in control. Q, with his cryptic utterances that leave people guessing but also shed light on the “entrenched Deep State” (Ch. 6), is following what the author refers to as a “Biblical Strategy” (Ch. 8) like that used by Joshua at Jericho. Throughout the book, the author also attempts to show that the messages received by the Medjugorje visionaries prefigure the messages of Q in some way: “Both Qs are revealing the battle plan through ‘intel drops,’ but Our Lady is dropping intel from Heaven” (Ch. 8). It is all leading, according to the author, to a great showdown, in which the very survival of America is at stake:
Our Lady said She will triumph. The man who became president at the most perilous moment of our nation’s history was given a name not by chance: ‘Trump.’ Who is blowing the whistle ‘trumpet’ to bring down the Jericho walls protecting the corruption? And who is holding the Trump card that is waiting to be played, once the enemies must expose their bluff after showing they are holding nothing of value in the cards they have in their hand? (Ch. 17, bold in original)
Even in the description above, we can see find similarities to the Viganò letter, including the portrayal of Trump as a spiritual warrior and the “Biblical” implications of the current political scenario.
The book is absolutely permeated with light/dark imagery, and for Friend of Medjugorje such dualism is not just a way of understanding the spiritual realm but also, in line with the QAnon mentality, applies in a very concrete and politicized way to certain factions of people existing in society right now. Consider the following passages:
The spiritual realms of Heaven and hell, which we can’t see, are in battle, but they fight their battle physically through man. The actors guided by Light and apostles of Our Lady are on one side, and the actors guided by darkness and demons of satan are on the other side. (Ch. 2)
We are to engage in a battle—a great battle between Heaven and hell. It is a battle between the minions of satan, who are real people on the side of darkness, against the masses of us who are on the side of Light. (Ch. 3)
They must crush Trump in order to crush us. This is a physical manifestation of Light vs. dark. (Ch. 9)
And also, perhaps most significantly:
So, with more than 82,000 sealed indictments (and counting) waiting to be brought to trial, is this the coup d’état?
We do not know, but we do know we are in a spiritual realm of both, between Heaven and hell, which is being acted out in the physical realm between the children of Light vs. those of darkness. (Ch. 10, bold mine)
The children of light and children of darkness are the very same labels used by Viganò, in much the same way, to describe the two factions of humanity represented by Trump and the deep state, respectively. Just like Friend of Medjugorje, Viganò sees these factions as the “physical manifestation” (to use Friend of Medjugorje’s term) of a dualism in the spiritual realm: “In society, Mr. President, these two opposing realities co-exist as eternal enemies, just as God and Satan are eternal enemies” (italics mine).
Once again, I have no idea if Viganò has actually read this book, but we see in any case a remarkable convergence of ideas around the figures of Trump and his enemies.
It is entirely possible that Viganò borrowed some of this language from the Evangelical wing of the MAGA movement, but it has more in common with Friend of Medjugorje in that the spiritual framework he outlines is also Marian in nature. For Viganò, the division between the children of light and the children of darkness goes back to “the clear separation between the offspring of the Woman and the offspring of the Serpent.” This is a reference to Genesis 3:15, from which is derived the well-known image of Mary (according to the traditional Catholic translation and interpretation) crushing the head of the Serpent. That Viganò is suggesting the children of light and the children of darkness may also be thought of as the children of Mary and the children of Satan is almost certain, since in a rebuke of Pope Francis from late 2019, Viganò identifies “the Woman” in Genesis 3:15 with Mary and emphasizes “the radical enmity placed by God between the Woman and the Serpent.” Friend of Medjugorje offers the exact same lineage for the factions of light and darkness that he describes. He cites Genesis 3:15, explains the traditional interpretation of it involving Mary crushing the Serpent, and then offers the following observation, once again invoking light/dark symbolism:
We can state in the unseen spiritual realm, that there is a face-off between two opposing forces on the battlefield. The Virgin Mary is at the helm on the side of Light. If you cannot see this in the spiritual realm, then go in the physical realm to see it. (Ch. 3)
Thus, with both Friend of Medjugorje and Viganò, their support for Trump takes the form of what might be described as Marian Manichaeism. In the case of Friend of Medjugorje, this Marian Manichaeism is explicitly linked to the Manichaeism of QAnon, whereas in Viganò’s letter such a link is only implied.
Ultimately, while it is impossible to say definitively whether or not Viganò was intentionally echoing QAnon rhetoric, his language and rhetoric has much in common with the only explicit synthesis of Catholicism and QAnon that I have been able to uncover: Big Q, Little Q. Certainly, Q himself seemed to recognize a kindred spirit in Viganò. He linked to the Viganò letter in a June 6 Q-drop, appending the text of Ephesians 6:10-18, and then reprinted it over the course of two subsequent Q-drops. In a more recent Q-drop (number 4545 from June 29), he incorporated some of Viganò’s language:
All this considered, I think it is fair to say that Q, Friend of Medjugorje, and Viganò are at least on the same wavelength. Even if we suppose that Viganò is unfamiliar with them, they all inhabit the same dualistic and conspiracy-ridden realm, and have made an idol out of President Trump. Their language and strategies are shaped according to their shared goals, whether consciously or subconsciously. Such is the unity among the children of light.
Light versus Dark
This may be the master motif of QAnon, appearing as early as 2017 in Q-drop 328:
Most broadly, it refers to the forces of light (Trump, Q, and their allies) exposing the forces of darkness (the deep state, the worldwide pedophile cabal). Eventually, the phrase “Dark to Light” became one of the unofficial QAnon slogans (you can even buy Q T-shirts on Amazon featuring the phrase). Q has used it many times, including in Q-Drops referencing the Catholic abuse crisis:
It also appeared in a 2018 post that referenced Pope Francis (though the “terrible May” that Q predicted came to nothing):
This term entered QAnon language through the following Q-drop. It is a reference to a line from the film Law Abiding Citizen: “I’m just getting started. I’m gonna pull the whole thing down. I gonna bring the whole f***in’ diseased corrupt temple down on your heads. It’s gonna be Biblical.” Its use in this specific Q-drop is perhaps significant: the film Godfather III deals with corruption and conspiracy in the Vatican, and the tweet from Pope Francis that Q links to calls for an end to human trafficking. If you visit the tweet, you can see many QAnon supporters in the replies.
The Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10-18 has been quoted many times by Q and has become something of a mantra among his followers. It was quoted in the Q-drop in which Q linked to Viganò’s letter:
This term was originally used by Trump to describe the coronavirus, but it entered the QAnon vocabulary as a term used to describe the deep state by means of this Q-drop:
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/49986722797/in/photostream/. Public domain.
Discuss this article!
Keep the conversation going in our SmartCatholics Group! You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
D.W. Lafferty, PhD, is a Catholic husband, dad, and independent scholar from Ontario, Canada. He works in higher education and has published articles on the literature of Wyndham Lewis, the conspiracy theory of Douglas Reed, and the life and legacy of Engelbert Dollfuss. Online, he tweets as @rightscholar.