Former Vatican Official Blames Russia’s War against Ukraine on LGBTQ Movement

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

A former Vatican official has suggested Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was due to the LGBTQ movement, echoing a Russian Orthodox’s leader’s similar suggestion last week.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Holy See’s former nuncio to the U.S., who has previously written letters promoting right wing interests and conspiracy theories, focused his latest missive on the war in Ukraine (though his thoughts extend far beyond that topic, too). LGBTQ Nation reported:

“[Viganò] parroted conspiracy theories about the ‘deep state’ and ‘new world order’ in a more than 10,000-word letter that critiques Ukraine President Zelensky for both being too LGBTQ-friendly and not friendly enough.

“Early in the letter, Viganò writes that Zelensky is a ‘mediocre’ actor who was brought to power by the media and uses his position to promote ‘LGBTQ ideology.’

“‘Zelensky’s performances in drag are perfectly consistent with the LGBTQ ideology that is considered by its European sponsors as an indispensable requirement of the ‘reform; agenda that every country ought to embrace, along with gender equality, abortion and the green economy,’ Viganò says.

“Viganò also promoted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s defense of the invasion of Ukraine by accusing Zelensky of supporting neo-Nazi movements including Misanthropic Vision, which he describes as ‘a neo-Nazi network spread across 19 countries that publicly incites terrorism, extremism and hatred against Christians, Muslims, Jews, Communists, homosexuals, Americans and people of color.'”

The archbishop’s letter comes days after the head of the Russian Orthodox Church made similarly anti-LGBTQ remarks regarding Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The Washington Blade reported:

“[Viganò] followed Patriarch Kirill the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and an ally of Putin, who repeated a long-held contention that the West wants to enforce the practice of holding gay pride parades as a test of loyalty to its values, which include the acceptance of homosexuality. The Ukraine war, he said Sunday in his sermon, resulted from the eastern regions’ refusal to acquiesce.

“‘If humanity accepts that sin is not a violation of God’s law, if humanity accepts that sin is a variation of human behavior, then human civilization will end there,’ Kirill said on the pre-Lenten celebration known as Forgiveness Sunday.”

Viganò has become a leader of the Catholic right through his letters that advance anti-semitic, white supremacist, and anti-government ideologies. He is near-schismatic in his resistance to Pope Francis’ leadership, and the archbishop even won praise from Donald Trump at one point for all his efforts.

But Viganò’s anti-LGBTQ record extends further back than his recent conspiratorial writings. He actively worked to stymie LGBTQ rights while holding official church posts, such as engineering the encounter between Kim Davis and Pope Francis during the latter’s visit to the U.S. in 2015. Viganò has repeatedly suggested that gay priests are to blame for the church’s sexual abuse scandal, appeared for two years at the U.S. March for Marriage despite Catholics’ appeals for church leaders not to attend, and used his final address to the U.S. bishops while nuncio to keep up culture warrior attacks.

As with his previous screeds, Archbishop Viganò’s latest letter is beyond the pale of reasoned discourse.. The letter is a word soup, rambling and incoherent. The lack of consistency is clear when he both condemns LGBTQ people, but then highlights them as alleged victims that need to be saved from Ukranian neo-Nazis. Normally, it is best to ignore such outbursts. This time, with Ukrainian lives at risk, it might be good for Catholic leaders to reject explicitly the archbishop’s scapegoating of LGBTQ people for an unjust and illegal invasion.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, March 12, 2022

14 replies
  1. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    Without anger or malice I say that Papa needs to demote or defrock this guy because he’s hurting not only others but himself. He can’t be well mentally.

  2. hilary
    hilary says:

    These people seem to think that G-D is as petty as they……..aaaaaaghh!
    What about made in the image and likeness of G-D —- how think you of G-D then?

  3. Richard Rosendall
    Richard Rosendall says:

    In my insomnia I often find safe harbor in New Ways Ministry’s 1 AM blog posts. In this case, I am both glad to be kept abreast of Archbishop Viganò’s latest mischief and astonished at his capacity for insane bile. I remember steaming over his homophobic actions as the papal nuncio to Washington and appreciating the far better example set by His Holiness.

    With this latest incoherent screed, Viganò makes himself the poster child for Gay Derangement Syndrome. On one hand, I am curious about the cause of his anti-gay obsessions. On the other, I don’t really want to know.

    What a sad figure he is, reduced to crazed and despicable ranting. But soon I will receive a call from my fiancé in Brussels, and will be bathed in the warmth of his love and grace.

    Let Viganò be a cautionary tale, and let his greatest victim be himself—though he ought to receive mental healthcare—while we continue to celebrate our capacity to love and be loved.

  4. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    This is what is commonly known as an absurdity. Vigano will surely have a reward of some kind in the afterlife for his charitable observations. Meanwhile, he is worthy of the scorn he may receive in this life.

  5. James Wysocki
    James Wysocki says:

    Vigano’s theory about the cause of the invasion of Ukraine is the most ridiculous statement by a church “authority” that could be imagined. Innocent civilians are dying in this outrageous invasion of a peaceful county because of the power-hungry desires of a Nazi-like dictator who miscalculated the strong will of the Ukraine. Not only does Vegano show his lack of compassion to people who only want to accepted for who they are, but also his total ignorance of political abuses of power. He is way out of his area of expertise. It is a good thing he is no longer in a position of power in Church affairs.

  6. Cheryl Rogers
    Cheryl Rogers says:

    Ugh, this is the reason I am thinking very seriously of leaving the Catholic Church……….these males in leadership or once leadership but still with a big voice and followers feel the need and feel it is their right to tell everyone including God that He/She/They made a grievous mistake when the LBGT+ lives where created by God who in fact said what was created by He/She/Them was indeed made ‘very good’. How can voices like Vigano speak with such pride and hatred towards life? our lives. Isn’t the Church suppose to be ‘right to Life”. Who made people like Vigano God? to continue to threaten not just my physical life but my spiritual life? Didn’t Jesus call ALL to the table. Didn’t the fallen angels do just what Vigano is and has been doing towards the LBGT+ community? Look what happened to them! Stop focusing on the splinter in my eye and look first at the beam in your own maybe then so many of us wouldn’t feel we need to leave the church for another more Christ like denomination that truly is more hospitable then the Catholic church still isn’t

    • Grace
      Grace says:

      plspls don’t leave.
      The Church is about God. If you’re gonna leave, you’re rejecting Him. Don’t focus on the actions of other people when thinking abt the Church. Judge Catholicism by Jesus.

      • Richard Rosendall
        Richard Rosendall says:

        Grace wrote: “The Church is about God. If you’re gonna leave, you’re rejecting Him.”

        I don’t think that is true. One can break with the Church as an organization without breaking with the faith. The Roman Church does not have a monopoly on spiritual life, on Christianity, or on God.

        Different people make different choices. Some will work for change from within. Some will stay and keep their heads down. Some will leave loudly, some quietly. Some will find sympathetic pastors, others will find a clenched fist. Then there are those who were abused, and suffer with those scars. This is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

        I came from a family with members in the clergy, including a cousin who is a (very liberal) nun and an uncle who was a conservative priest, university administrator, and theologian. The university in question is my alma mater, Villanova. I studied there on an Augustinian-related scholarship. I was (as I am still) liberal, while my uncle was deeply conservative and disapproved of my views. I opposed the church’s dogmatism and authoritarianism. I was alienated by the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. I considered honest intellectual exploration the inherent mission of any university regardless of what its administrators thought. I happened to be in the Honors Program, with the former VP for Academic Affairs as my uncle. At the same time I was dealing with my feelings as a young gay man. In addition to my course load I was involved in many campus groups from the Villanova Singers (a men’s chorus) to the Political Union. In the late winter of my senior year, in March 1978, I used my position as treasurer of the Political Union to organize a debate on gay rights. Our featured speaker was gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny. The dean of student activities was enraged. My uncle was enraged. I did not care. I had a secret sympathizer in the vice president of student life, who was the dean’s boss. We managed to outmaneuver the dean. It would have been embarrassing to the university for me to be expelled. So they settled on requiring a second speaker (a moral theology teacher, himself a priest), to counter Frank. He provided the perfect foil for Frank, who was in his element as a debater.

        Anyway, I survived that experience, which I consider my start as an activist, though I had not come out yet. Professors stopped me on campus to congratulate me for standing up to the dean.

        My point in telling that story is that I was angry at the Church back then. Over time I developed a more nuanced view. I learned that those who choose religious vocations are not all the same. I was particularly inspired by women’s religious like my cousin Kathy, whose courage and devotion to their callings I admire more than I can say.

        Another person I met while at college was a closeted gay priest who was very right wing and a zealous anti-abortionist. That’s another whole story.

        The point is, the Church comes in all kinds. I think we should respect people’s individual choices on how to handle their expression of their faith. I don’t think we should tell them that if they leave the Roman Church they are rejecting God.

        I remain quite fond of my alma mater, and visit the campus from time to time. I hope to do so this spring, since the Main Line is beautiful at that time of year, and I have an old friend, a former faculty member who still lives near there, whom I would like to meet for lunch.

        What I learned in my personal journey was that, though I left the Church 52 years ago before I ever got to Villanova, the Church did not leave me. I lived long enough to see the elevation of a pope, a Jesuit, in whom I saw Christ and who (I could readily see) respected the journey of people like me.

        The community of people, in and out of the Church as an organization, is more important than the earthly institution that the Church inescapably is, at least in part, whose tendency toward bossiness has alienated so many. I have found that we are still connected. As I have pursued my intellectual life and writing, I have increasingly put my struggles in perspective and learned to appreciate the journeys of others.

        I doubt that I will ever be invited to speak at my alma mater, but that is OK. I have had many enjoyable exchanges with my former professor, who was on the English faculty and is a Quaker. One of the topics we discussed was British novelist Anthony Powell’s 12-volume series, “A Dance to the Music of Time.” He encourages my commentaries.

        The life of ideas goes on. It need not be centered on bitterness and exile. I learned much of that from my friends at New Ways Ministry.

        To those who are struggling, I wish peace. You will find your way. And you do not have far to look to find fellowship and guidance based on affirmation and respect. You needn’t go to the Church if you are uncomfortable. The Church, sometimes in an unexpected form, may come to you.

      • Cheryl Rogers
        Cheryl Rogers says:

        thank you for your reply and your concern for my actions. But please know that I have never felt closer to Jesus or God then I do today. My relationship with Christ and my spiritual life have actually excelled in maturing and in understanding the message of and trying to walk the message of Christ more so than ever when I fought for ‘crumbs from the table of the lord’ even those being denied me to and the rest of the LBGT community because of their different gifts blessed us from God. Believe me all my life I have loved and continue to love the ‘Church’ I was born into, and have fought for equal rights, equal blessings, equality in the church on a plethora of areas over these 73 yrs. My ‘Joan of Arc” spirit to fight for the truth and right side by side with New Ways, Dignity, PFLAG, Mattachine Society in the early days and even before Stonewall was. I have called Jeannine Grammick, John McNeill, Thereas Kane, Mary Hunt, etc etc part of the unsung army of soul warriors whom have upheld me all these years with hope and for them and many more unnamed brethren, I am eternally grateful. But I am growing weary of being told I am ‘intrinsically disordered’ by the Church leadership, I can be refused communion if I am in a loving bond with another, my children can be refused Catholic school placement, I can be fired from employment, be denied housing and not be able to receive final rites if I live an openly loving life God birthed me with.
        Some times it is ‘good’ to move away from the crowds like Jesus did to pray alone or go up to the mountain for 40 days to be refreshed and rebalanced but not to come back again to be part and parcel of a Church leadership structure which has an unhealthy attitude to sexual orientation, sexual actions, or love to another in general which I find to be its infrastructure therefore as ‘intrinsically disordered: and I have tried for years to help with the ‘reordering to correctness of that pervasive disorder which the church leadership seems not to want to be fully open to its truth from God. So Grace, we will pray for each other as Jesus wants us to, and I pray for the Church as God has asked us to, and hopefully a rebirth and maturing of the Church will be possible before the pews are more and more emptied each week.

  7. Richard Rosendall
    Richard Rosendall says:

    Some people go into the priesthood for the wrong reasons. Some do it to avoid dealing with their own sexuality. Some have a medieval mindset and want to avoid dealing with the modern world. Some have an authoritarian bent and seek to use the Church to control people. Some take a more tribalist approach to their religion, and fashion an idea of Christ that is based on their own projections more than the Gospel. What is frequently missing is a sense of servant leadership. Often these men are bossy and controlling and consider it their duty to disrespect and attack those who take a different view. Instead of disagreeing civilly, they attack and treat everyone with a different view as illegitimate. It’s incredibly obnoxious and has chased a great many people out of the Church. But they do not own the Church. I respect my friends at New Ways for their constructive voice.

  8. Julie Nichols
    Julie Nichols says:

    Thank you for this article, Mr. Shine. It has been traumatically painful to watch the Catholic/Christian right politicize the LBGTQ community at-large and the LBGTQ community of faith where they wouldn’t mind destroying our families in a variety of ways. As Jesus said, “They know not what they do.” I hope Our Lord’s Words apply to the Religious Right. It makes forgiveness a lot easier.


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