Archbishop Viganò’s June 6 open letter to US President Trump represents the inevitable public merging of Viganoite Catholicism with the MAGA movement. There is so much that can be said about that letter, but I want to focus on something that happened shortly after its publication.
Within the world of MAGA there exists a small but fanatical subculture that adheres to a conspiracy theory known as QAnon. It may be the most influential new conspiracy theory in decades, and in many ways is similar to a new religious movement. QAnon is already very well-documented, but the basic conviction behind it is that Donald Trump is leading a secret war against a vast “cabal” of pedophile elites who are part of a worldwide network of child trafficking and child murder. It is alleged that many members of the cabal, including Hillary Clinton, harvest adrenochrome (a chemical produced by the human body) from the children they murder, which provides them with a host of health benefits.
Q is the name of an anonymous poster—originally from the popular 4chan message board—who claims to be working somewhere within the US government on behalf of Trump and against the cabal. His cryptic posts are all carefully analyzed by legions of QAnon adherents for clues about upcoming operations. At the same time, QAnon adherents believe that Trump is signaling to them in coded ways through his speeches and tweets. Those who take the “red pill” and enter the world of QAnon are considered to be part of the “Great Awakening.” They have a firm sense of purpose and community, with “WWG1WGA” (or “where we go one, we go all”) as their slogan.
All of this will sound like utter nonsense to most people, and thankfully Catholics seem to have been relatively immune to QAnon, which appears to have a stronger foothold in the American Evangelical world. This is likely due in part to the assumption among most QAnon adherents that the Catholic Church is part of the cabal they are fighting. This immunity from QAnon, however, may be weakened after Viganò’s letter.
Q Drop (or post from Q) number 4429 from June 6, 2020—posted at what has been the peak so far of a moment of national crisis in the US—reads as follows (please note the link at the very top of the quotation from Ephesians 6:10-12):
The Armor of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Have faith in Humanity.
Have faith in Yourself.
Have faith in God.
The Great Awakening.
The mere fact that Q links to the LifeSiteNews posting of Viganò’s letter to Trump means that many thousands of QAnon adherents will read the letter and absorb it into their twisted mythology. The Manichaeism of Viganò will, in the minds of some, fuse with the Manichaeism of QAnon (absolute evil versus absolute good, dark versus light). It may then go on to infect MAGA discourse, and perhaps eventually draw in frustrated Catholics to a world where anti-Catholic conspiracy theory can be freely embraced. The pro-life movement is especially susceptible, since some of its more extreme elements already see the world’s political elites as those who encourage and feed upon the death of innocent children. Those who have been justifiably outraged by the Catholic abuse crisis may begin to see it as part of a much larger infestation of pedophilia in the halls of power. Noble and just causes may be tragically poisoned by paranoid thinking.
Certainly, Viganò’s letter seems to have impressed QAnon influencers such as Praying Medic:
And Jordan Sather:
Further, some of the comments by ordinary QAnon folks reveal a shift in attitude toward the Church (or at least an appreciation of the Viganoite wing):
I have long been worried that QAnon would find its way into the fringes of conservative Catholicism—ever since that odd moment in 2019 when the Twitter account for the Unplanned movie posted the QAnon slogan “WWG1WGA.” Let’s pray that Viganoite Catholics have more sense than to set up a parallel Qatholic Church in which the red pill will become the source and summit of Christian life. Whether he realizes it or not, that seems to be the direction in which Viganò, their shepherd, is leading them.
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.