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