On EWTN’s Diabolical Inversion
One of the medieval images of the devil is as the Ape of God.
That is, the devil tends to offer parodies of the things of God. As Tolkien remarks of Sauron, the demonic power of his own sub-creation: he cannot make; he can only mock.
Satan does three things in the biblical tradition: he lies, accuses, and tempts. That is, he parodies God’s creative Word, His loving rebuke of sin, and his promises of blessing.
And what is striking about MAGA Qhristianity is that it does all these things consistently too.
Benedict XVI remarked:
“We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”
What amazes me about this remark is that it describes perfectly what the MAGA Qatholics who constantly invoke Benedict’s name worship in their raw, nihilist, truth-free adoration of a dimestore antichrist disciple of the Father of Lies.
Examples are too numerous to display here, so I will limit it to just one: the recent “interview” of papal accuser Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano by Raymond Arroyo on EWTN. Mike Lewis of Where Peter Is has the story:
Last Thursday, November 12, at 8 p.m. EST, an interview between Raymond Arroyo and the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, aired on Arroyo’s weekly show, The World Over. Following the broadcast, videos of the interview, a discussion between Arroyo and his so-called “papal posse,” and the full episode were posted to the network’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
While I didn’t see the interview during its original broadcast, I was alerted to the headline of an article about the interview on LifeSiteNews: “Viganò skewers McCarrick Report on EWTN: ‘Bergoglio is to the deep church as Biden is to the deep state’” The timestamp on this article says “Thu Nov 12, 2020 – 8:50 pm EST.” In other words, it was posted shortly after the interview aired, and even before the program ended.
I was intrigued by this, in part because I was somewhat surprised that EWTN had fallen that far down the rabbit hole, and in part because I was curious about what else he might have said. EWTN, despite its clear antipathy and opposition to the Holy Father, has thus far striven to maintain a veneer of “respect” for Pope Francis, and—to my knowledge, anyway—has not yet indulged in the wildest QAnon-related conspiracy theories that other reactionary Catholic outlets and figures typically embrace.
First point: Liesite News, passionate haters of this Pope, prominently feature an absolutely nutty quote from Vigano they say they got from Raymond Arroyo’s “interview” with Vigano. We continue:
In the early morning hours of the next day, Vatican reporter Edward Pentin posted a tweet about an “exclusive” transcript of this interview on the website of the National Catholic Register.
When I read this transcript, I noticed that it omits the “deep church” line. This was strange. Where the LifeSite story quotes him as saying, “the evidence of the facts demonstrates the opposite. I would say that Bergoglio is to the deep church as Biden is to the deep state,” the Register’s transcript stops at the word “opposite.” I checked the YouTube video (cued here to several seconds before the missing statement). At around 21:25—the point at which the “deep church” line should appear, the video cuts from a photograph of Viganò to a reaction shot of Arroyo and moves on the the following paragraph:
Second point: the extremely nutty quote which Liesite featured as their headline was excised by the Register and EWTN both from the video and from their transcript of the “interview”.
Was it a mistake by Liesite in their zeal to nail Francis?
Only if it was a mistake by a bunch of other Francis-hating accusers too:
Meanwhile, I was directed to several reactionary Catholic websites that also purported to have the “complete” transcript of the interview, including LifeSiteNews, One Peter Five, Catholic Family News, and GloriaTV. All of these transcripts included the “deep church” line, as well as other content that was not featured in the EWTN interview.
This seemed very odd. How did these outlets obtain and publish transcripts of an interview so soon after the program, why were they all identical to each other, and why did they not match the transcript published by the Register (an EWTN-affiliated outlet)?
Yet, Arroyo continued to lie that the EWTN transcript was complete:
So what happened? Mike Lewis explains:
At this point, things started to look really fishy. I couldn’t understand how the same interview had two different transcripts. Despite Arroyo’s insistence, it was clear that EWTN had made cuts. I also found small discrepancies—a word or two here and there—between the transcripts in addition to the missing sections of the Register’s transcript. Additionally, I noticed that there was one question and answer in the Register’s transcript that didn’t appear in the “alternative” versions. Then I stumbled upon a PDF transcript of the interview on an Italian website on Viganò’s letterhead.
Finally, things seemed to start becoming clearer. It was now apparent that Viganò must have sent out the script to numerous friendly outlets and permitted them to publish it in full after midnight Eastern time (based on the timestamps on the articles) following the broadcast. The editors of LifeSite must have been so excited by the “deep church” line that they decided to publish their short piece about it immediately after the interview aired.
There were other things that struck me as odd about the video of interview. For one thing, at the very beginning we don’t hear Viganò greet Arroyo. In fact, Viganò doesn’t say a word until he launches into a paragraph-long response to the first question. There was very little (if any) direct interaction between Viganò and Arroyo the entire interview. Viganò spoke in long, multi-sentence monologues in response to each of the questions, while Arroyo nodded along with a look of keen interest on his face. Was it possible that he was talking to a recording of Viganò’s voice and it wasn’t a real interview at all?
In the labyrinthine lie machine that is now Francis-hating media, the liar Vigano outlied the liar Arroyo by getting his full remarks to the more ferocious accusers of the pope at Liesite and other venues, while the cowardly liar Arroyo tried to deny that his prize “interviewee” said any such thing, because ETWN likes to encourage rebellion against the pope, but not too blatantly. And they like to cover up the fact that Vigano is a raging paranoid kook in order to prop him up as a Folk Hero antipope.
Arroyo then attempted to lie about Mike Lewis, while disgustingly using the recent death of his mother as a weapon:
But it was no good. Lewis soon sussed out the layer upon layer of lies and deceit from Arroyo and EWTN, designed to help Vigano continue his war on Francis while muting his most crazy assertions to make him sound reasonable:
Confirmation came in the form of Robert Moynihan’s ”Inside the Vatican” Letter #37, which arrived in my inbox the following evening and now appears on his website. This letter not only contains a combined transcript, but makes parenthetical notes of the parts that were cut from the EWTN broadcast. It also confirms that most of the interview was pre-scripted.
Additionally, the letter confirms that the EWTN version of the interview was edited, making a note near the beginning that says:
“The entire text originally prepared for this Arroyo-Viganò interview is below in its entirety; the broadcast interview does not have the complete prepared text, because some prepared sections were omitted from the broadcast interview.”
Towards the end, he adds this “Special Note”:
“The following question and answer were not in the prepared interview. So this is the sole question and answer which were completely extemporaneous…”
In addition to the aforementioned “deep church” quote, statements removed from Viganò’s transcript by EWTN include mentions of secretive networks of nefarious people (“The same connections, the same complicities, the same acquaintances always recur: McCarrick, Clinton, Biden, the Democrats, and the Modernists, along with a procession of homosexuals and molesters that is not irrelevant”). He suggests that Francis is an illegitimate pope when he states that Benedict XVI “is too meek to blatantly disavow his successor by calling him a liar and discrediting him, as well as the function he holds.”
Additionally, the EWTN version of the interview omits Viganò’s closing rant:
“In this grotesque farce, now cloaked in a false semblance of legalism, there is no hesitation to drag the entire Church through the mud – its prestige before the world, its authority over the faithful – in order to save the now-compromised image of corrupt, unworthy, depraved prelates. I limit myself to observing that even now, in the Vatican, Bergoglio still surrounds himself with notorious homosexuals and people with gravely compromised reputations. This is the most blatant disavowal of Bergoglio’s supposed moralizing work.”
The point is simply this. A “news” network and a “journalist” that behaves this way is, not to put too fine a point on it, lying. It embodies what Benedict XVI is talking about when he describes the “dictatorship of relativism”. Arroyo and EWTN have goals, not principles and will say anything or suppress any fact in order to achieve their end. That they peddle these lies under the label “Eternal Word” is a blasphemous and diabolical inversion of their once-Catholic mission of speaking the truth. They are lying, accusing, and tempting, all at once. And they know it.
Their end is all too clear in this case, and has been for several years: the destruction of this pope by any means necessary. And by their torrent of MAGA-adoring/Francis-hating lies and accusations they tempt their viewers, not to believe that they tell the truth and the pope is an enemy, but far more insidiously, that there is no such thing as truth–only raw, nihilist power.
This is what MAGA Qatholicism has become in its whole-hearted embrace of Donald Trump and its whole-hearted rejection of the Magisterium.
They are fulfilling the warning Jesus gave his enemies:
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
There is only one thing to say to People of the Lie: