Echoes. Archbishop ViganÓ and Colonel Grace-Groundling-Marchpole. Published on 03/16/2022


The Catholic Difference

Bishop ViganÓ and Colonel Grace-Groundling-Marchpole

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I have long doubted that Bishop Viganó actually wrote these “statements” issued in his name, which have tragically become more unbalanced over time.


One of the minor characters in Evelyn Waugh’s World War II trilogy “Sword of Honor” is the commander of a super secret military intelligence unit, Colonel Grace-Groundling-Marchpole: a conspiracy theorist constantly connecting dots that no rational person would imagine connecting or even think connectable. The Colonel was also possessed by a messianic complex: “Somewhere in the last frills of his mind there was a Plan. conspiracy in which there were no antagonists, only millions of men working, without each other’s knowledge, for the same end: and there would be no more war.” For Grace-Groundling -Marchpole, the Allies and the Nazis were actually on the same side; and as soon as that was revealed, all would be well with the world.

One of the tragedies of this Catholic moment is that its Grace-Groundling-Marchpole is Archbishop Carlo-Maria ViganÓ, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

For years, the archbishop has issued “statements”, increasingly conspiratorial in their analysis of ecclesiastical, political, epidemiological and vaccination issues. Archbishop ViganÓ’s March 6 encyclical, a 10,000-word “Statement on the Russian-Ukrainian Crisis,” brought this conspiracy mania to Grace-Groundling-Marchpole territory. Among his patently false allegations:

– Virtually everything you think you know about the war in Ukraine is a “gross falsification by the mainstream media”, and anyone who does not accept the Archbishop’s claims is a victim of “brainwashing by the mainstream media”.

– President Biden and the European Union are executing a “criminal plan” to “make impossible any attempt to peacefully resolve the Ukrainian crisis, provoking the Russian Federation to start a conflict”. What you think you have seen of dead civilians and civilian infrastructure (including a maternity ward) deliberately destroyed by Russian missiles, bombs and artillery fire is really the fault of the West.

– Anyone who cares about the truth should bemoan the Western blackout of Russia Today and Sputnik.

– Ukraine’s Maidan “Dignity Revolution” in 2013-2014 was “an operation sponsored by George Soros”.

– There are “neo-Nazi military forces” in Ukraine.

– Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “has continued for eight years to persecute Russian-speaking Ukrainians with complete impunity”.

– Therefore “the Ukrainian people, regardless of their ethnic group, are only the last unwilling hostages of the supranational totalitarian regime that has brought economies around the world to their knees through the deception of COVID, after publicly theorizing the need to decimate the world’s population and turn the survivors into chronically ill people who have irreparably compromised their immune systems.”

– Yet there is hope: the “Third Rome” – the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow – could still lead humanity to a better future.

Whoever writes this nonsense doesn’t seem to care that he, she or they are reproducing point-for-point Kremlin disinformation and propaganda. That a typically far left-leaning Western media suddenly became viscerally anti-Russian and belligerent is laughable. That George Soros, of whom I am no admirer, sponsored the Revolution of Dignity would come as a shock to my former students who risked their lives in a freezing winter to live on the Maidan the Catholic social doctrine we had been discussing. Russia Today and Sputnik are Kremlin disinformation outlets, period. How come a large part of the Ukrainian army that fought bravely against the Russian invaders is made up of Russian speakers? How did President Zelensky persecute Russian speakers for eight years when he has been in power for less than three years? Didn’t the archbishop and his entourage read President Putin’s speech of February 20, which emphasized that what “provoked” him was the fact of an independent and sovereign Ukraine? And Putin’s lapdog, Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, is no more likely to lead a civilizational renaissance than your local tarot card reader.

I have long doubted that Bishop ViganÓ actually wrote these “statements” issued in his name, which have tragically become more unbalanced over time. And I say “tragically” because I once counted the Archbishop as a friend and remain grateful for his service to the Vatican (where he was an honest man in an often dishonest environment) and to the Church in the United States. (whom he served well as nuncio). This most recent statement on the war in Ukraine, however, crossed a red line. Allowing lies, slander, and Kremlin propaganda to be published in his name, Archbishop Carlo-Maria ViganÓ wrote the obituary for what remained of his once considerable religious and moral authority.

And it is more than tragic.

– George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC


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