Recently, I wrote in this space about the now complete alliance between the enemies of the Holy Father and adoring fans of Donald Trump.
I call the cult Qatholicism. It stands in sharp contrast to the Catholic Church in a number of ways.
The Catholic Church’s faith can be traced right back to Jesus Christ, of course. It has apostolic succession and its first pope was famously told:
You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Mt 16:18).
There are, of course, other apostolic Churches as well, all of them share holy orders going back to the apostles, as well as valid sacraments and some variation on this creed:
The Catholic Church is not (despite common English usage) a “denomination”. This is a Protestant term that was invented in order to account for the immense taxonomy of sundry ecclesial bodies resulting from the Reformation and its aftershocks down the centuries. “Catholic Church” is, to a certain extent, a redundant term. In the early Church, there was simply “the Church” and it was universal (which is what “Catholic” means), as in
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:4–6).
In some mysterious sense, this remains true. Paul does not write to make an argument against some alternative Church. For him, the Church is the only game in town. There are not competing “denominations” he needs to quarrel with.
But, of course, there will arise various sects with different theories about Jesus and eventually there will arise splits in the Church itself which, ecclesially and politically, will result in different groups fighting with and sometimes reconciling with each other.
Eventually, what the Catholic Church will arrive at to understand this mystery will be much the same the thing the Orthodox arrive at: namely the recognition that “We know where the Church is. We do not know where it is not.”
In short, it is easier to say what is not Christian than who is not Christian. Certain ideas and actions are definitively not Christian (i.e., not in accord with the mind and will of Christ) even though Christians say and do them. Other actions and ideas are, even if the person doing and saying them has never so much as heard of Jesus. Both Jesus and Paul anticipate this point. Jesus does so in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. In that Parable, he tells about the salvation of the goyim–those outside the visible covenant community. What is notable is that the saved as well as the damned are surprised when they encounter him in the judgment:
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ (Mt 25:37–40).
These people were, not to put too fine a point on it, not “Christians” in the sense of belonging to a visible ecclesial body or Church. They just thought they were doing the decent thing and were not conscious of the fact that they were obeying the Holy Spirit.
But they were nonetheless and Jesus, who doesn’t care about who gets the credit, honors that.
Paul makes the same point when he speaks about the lot of pagans on Judgement Day:
All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Ro 2:12–16).
The point is that salvation is not about belonging to the Catholic Club. It is about union with and obedience to Jesus Christ, which places you in some form of union with his body whether you realize it or not and whether you like it or not. If you are doing that, you will find that you were a member of the Body of Christ, whatever your views and opinions and theories might be. If there is one thing we can say with absolute certainty about Judgment Day it is that every person who has ever lived is going to say, “I was wrong.”
Why do I mention all this? Because I am going to distinguish between Catholic faith and Qatholic ideology, which Qatholics instinctively tend to hear as “being kicked out of the Church” since that is what they themselves constantly seek to do to others. I am not doing that. Catholic faith is the teaching of the apostles and is, above all, about trust in Jesus Christ personally. It is also a body of doctrine summarized by the Creed and the Catechism. But it is the personal trust in Christ that is at the mystical heart of it, Pope Benedict XVI sums things up beautifully, I think:
I have, as a matter of discipline over the years, tried to never declare somebody “not a Christian” no matter how awfully or wrongly or sinfully they may talk, think, or act. The reason for this is fairly simple: Who the hell am I? God?
If Jesus can welcome Judas Iscariot as a disciple then I will leave it to him or some duly consecrated bishop to kick people out of the Church. That’s above my pay grade.
I mention all this because the point of this post is to briefly sketch the difference between Catholic faith and Qatholic ideology. My point is to say what, not who, is Catholic. Qatholic faith is an antichrist religion that many Catholics practice in error. I do not know their motives and cannot speak to their culpability. But I can say that their fruits in word and deed, which Jesus commands me to judge, are evil. My hope is that at some level in their hearts they retain that fundamental trust in the person of Jesus that Benedict speaks of and that they are purified of the dross that makes them adherents of this false religion. Indeed, that is why I write, in the hope they will listen and in the hope that other Catholics will avoid that false religion. I don’t have any intention of kicking them out of the Church. But I have every intention of exposing their evil, antichrist religion and working for its destruction.
Qatholic ideology, which is emphatically a sub-denomination of Qhristianity and more Protestant than nearly all of Protestantism, has a much simpler Creed than the Catholic faith and is the dead opposite of the trust Benedict speaks of.
Its creed is simple. None of that trinitarian business for the Qatholic. Rather it is this:
There is no god but Trump and Vigano is his prophet.
Its ecclesiology is both simpler and more complex. On the one hand, for any given Qatholic, its pope is whichever folk hero, big mouth, or authority figure he likes. For some it is Michael Voris. For others, it is Cdl. Burke. For others, it is Fr. Richard Heilman or Fr. Z. There are countless others, coming and going.
Recently, Frank Pavone of Grifters for Life abruptly stepped down as one of the more popular popes of Qatholicism and was replaced by Taylor Marshall
This does not mean pope emeritus Pavone is gone. It merely means that he is continuing his promotion of the god Donald Trump in a new way. He has not unsaid anything he has said. There has been no apology for his desecration of a Catholic altar in the worship of his god, Donald Trump. He leaves behind him a trail of blaming his bishops and he leads us forward into a future of insisting that we just trust him when he tells us he is now under the authority of some new bishop he refuses to identify. Like his master, he expects us to trust in his personal charisma, not the gospel.
This is the central identifying mark of Qatholicism: The entire purpose of the Qatholic cult is to make war on the Catholic Church and the pope in the service of its god, Donald Trump.
So Pavone’s replacement, Taylor Marshall, is tapped by Catholics for Trump because he is a conspiracy-theory-filled kook at war with Francis, the Magisterium, and the entire Church, hawking a book that is tellingly titled Infiltration and spewing exactly the same “Deep Church/Deep State” alliance of paranoia that Vigano is selling.
The ideology of Qatholics is fluid because it believes in the magical, not the miraculous. The difference is that miracles are signs pointing to the person of Jesus Christ and his salvific power. Though the cause of miracles is from beyond nature, the effects are seen in nature. So when the blind are healed, they see. When the dead are raised, they come to life. When loaves and fishes are multiplied you can eat them. The magical thinking of Qatholics shares none of these qualities. Rather, the Qatholic faithful will themselves to believe (and demand everybody else believe) what is directly contrary to fact. They demand we accept that COVID is a hoax, that there is a Deep State conspiracy for which there is no evidence just as there is a Deep Church conspiracy for which there is no evidence. They tell us COVID is a hoax and then it is isn’t when Trump decides it’s not. They mock the disabled in front of our own two eyes and then tell us we did not see what we saw.
Catholics take certain things on the word of Christ alone, as that the Eucharist is his body and blood. But that is because, beginning with the apostles, they have come to accept that when God incarnate is raised from the dead, you take his word for it when he tells you something you cannot know from mere reason.
Qatholics take Trump’s word for it when he tells them obvious disprovable falsehoods despite the fact that he has lied to them 20,000 times. Though, to be clear, it’s not so much that he lies to them as that they lie to themselves and everybody around them.
Catholics are taught by Jesus to fear seduction, not persecution, and to fear the second death, not the first. They are instructed by Christ to have courage and put others first, not their own selfish skins. Qatholics are full of paranoid conspiracy theories and perpetually see themselves as victims of persecution when nobody is harming them and when they are, in fact, the persecutors and the selfoids hurting the innocent around them:
Yes. You read that right. For the Qatholic, altar girls and communion in the hand are leading directly to COVID vaccine genocide. Qlassic Qatholic thinking. Actual bishops are calling the flock to put others first and so have suspended Masses temporarily for the common good. Qatholics demand that they get their Me-charists no matter who needs to die for that to happen.
In Catholic thought, the dignity of the human person is esteemed so highly that human beings are, according to Vatican 2, the only creatures on earth whom God has created for their own sake. In Qhristian and Qatholic thought, Jesus urges Real Men to call women “fucking bitches”. Nearly everybody who is not a rich white male is a loser and women, in particular, are routinely treated with contempt because boorish misogyny “owns the libs” and treating women with respect is a sign you are a “simp”, a “beta”, a “cuck” and a “white knight”. Women need to be slapped around in the Qatholic cult–unless they have the goods on you:
Catholics believe in the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. Indeed, because even the dead body is holy as Christ’s body in the tomb was holy, mockery of the dead is rejected.
Qatholics think mockery of the dead, especially when he is a murder victim with brown skin, is awesome:
Catholics believe the imago dei is not effaced by having to wear a mask to protect our neighbor from COVID, but by the selfishness of sin. The Catholic faith holds, that a man could have his nose blown off by a bomb and suffer no harm to his being in the image of God. The blessed Trinity looks not on the outward appearance but on the heart.
Qatholicism, however, is blind to such things. Consequently, it fosters the lie that masks cover the imago dei and must not be worn no matter who dies because of our selfishness, but applaud Trumpensturmabteilung who fire rubber bullets at innocents in the Wall of Moms in Portland.
The central lesson of the rise of Qatholicism for the Church is, “When you reject the faith, some form of gnosticism will likely be your next stop.” Because Qatholicism is the opposite of faith and a claim to secret knowledge competent to declare even the Pope a “heretic”, it lives in perpetual fear. It fears not only the pope, the Magisterium, the rest of the faithful, and the human race, but even itself. Having excommunicated most of the Church and damned the world the Church is sent to bring the saving grace of Christ, Qatholics are now starting to excommunicate each other. You have to act this way if you are afraid you are on your own and God is just looking for an excuse to reject you as you have already rejected nearly everybody around you.
Because, of course, that’s the thing about the cult of Trump: it projects. Accusation is always a form of confession in the cult of Trump and Qatholicism, being nothing other than a subset of it, imitates its master. So Qatholics are perpetually reading people out of the Church.
Catholic laity cannot and must not do that. We can say what is Catholic. We cannot say who is Catholic. Any validly baptized person who is in good standing with his bishop remains Catholic, even if they are devout Qatholics. The pope has a ton of Qatholics excommunicate him every day. I’ve been kicked out of the Church by Qatholics countless times. But ultimately that call is God’s.
Meanwhile, those who believe and hold the Catholic faith owe it to both the world and their fellow Catholics to live and bear witness to the Catholic faith–and to expose the lies of the Qatholic cult.