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Our church is at war. We are under attack from an old enemy. The Illuminati. They have struck us from within and threatening us all with destruction from their new god Science.
~ Camerlengo Patrick McKenna
Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit.
~ McKenna's last words before he kills himself by self-immolation to avoid arrest.

Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, also simply known as Patrick McKenna, is the main antagonist of the 2009 film Angels and Demons. He was a Camerlengo who murdered Pope Pius XVI and planned a series of murders of the preferiti by branding them with the classical elements and conjured up the Illuminati as a way to spread fear and turn people to believing in the church rather than science as he believed the church's influence was waning and people were starting to believe in science and so believed that science did not deserve to claim the power of creation and eventually chose to incinerate Vatican City with an atimatter bomb so as to claim credit as the Catholic Church's saviour and become elected Pope through acclamation as well as convert the people's belief into the Catholic Church.

He was portrayed by Ewan McGregor, who also played Mark Renton in the Trainspotting films, and Black Mask in Birds of Prey.


McKenna is the Camerlengo of Vatican City and servant of the Holy Roman Church. He assumes temporary control of the Vatican while a new Pope is being elected, following the death of Pope Pius XVI, but four of the "preferiti" (favourite cardinals to be elected Pope) are kidnapped by the Illuminati. They threaten to kill one cardinal every hour and destroy Vatican City using a vial of antimatter that had previously gone missing from a nuclear research facility, which would act as a bomb. In reality, it is McKenna, not the Illuminati, who is behind the scheme, having wanted to claim the Pope's position for himself and gather the church's greatest followers to his side, as well as to deter people away from science. In despair, the Vatican summons a symbologist from Harvard University named Robert Langdon to help them rescue the preferiti and recover the vial. He hires the hassassin to carry out the murders in exchange he pays him but betrays and kills him when he provides his final payment located in a car which explodes upon ignition.

McKenna first appears when Langdon requests access to the archives in order to obtain information on one Galileo's works regarding a clue to the Path of Illumination, a secret place where the Illuminati would meet. However Richter is incapable of granting him access and he requires a written decree by the Holy Seal but due to the Pope being deceased, he must go to the Camerlengo who temporarily holds the power of the Papacy during conclave.

McKenna recommends to Richter that they turn off power to parts of Vatican City so as to dull the lighting of the bomb in order to get a more accurate location. He then requests to speak with Langdon in the office of the Pope alone where he requests to know if Langdon truly believes in God before he may be granted access to the archives. Langdon explains that he's academic and that his mind tells him he will never truly understand God while his heart tells him he's not meant to, McKenna grants him the access he needs but asks him to be delicate with their treasures.

McKenna is later present during a meeting regarding a letter written by the hassassin (assumbaly on his behalf) which he mentions that police nor professors can stop it indicating that the hassassin is aware Langdon is involved in the investigation while also mentioning the Pope's apparent death by his own medication. McKenna then requests Dr Vetra to accompany him to Pope Pius XVI's tomb so as to see for himself whether the Pope died from an overdose of his injection of tinzaparin to treat his thrombophlebitis, however he kept this strictly confidential but took steps to ensure he was watched for safety and allowed Richter to install hidden cameras to keep an eye on him.

After confirming this, McKenna begins to feign worrisome and informs the Vatican Police to remain vigilent, should an evacuation be needed which he persistently debates with Cardinal Strauss about who continues to refuse to evacuate Vatican City and the conclave. During a conclave session, McKenna intervenes which Strauss and other Cardinals chastise him for which he requests forgiveness as he wishes to inform them of a development. He speaks out against the Illuminati and science in a speech and requests the conclave doors to be opened for evacuation but is once again refused.

Eventually McKenna gives the order to evacuate while Langdon and Vetra accompany the Vatican Police to Castel Sant'Angelo where the preferiti were beind held after he gains this knowledge through Cardinal Baggia, the last remaining preferiti whom Langdon saved. Richter orders all available forces to be sent there but opts to stay behind to meet with McKenna. McKenna who has been transferring payments to the hassassin in exchange for his services then has him killed when he instructs him that his last payment is located in a car, the hassassin is killed when it explodes upon ignition.

McKenna and Richter then speak about the events that happened which Richter reveals from the journals that Father Silvano kept had (a priest who was part of the experimental antimatter program who was murdered by the assassin at McKenna's request) requested and audience with the Pope which McKenna knows because it was him who granted the audience. He explains further that the Pope invited him to make the antimatter be made public as proof of a divine power to bridge the gap between religion and science but McKenna counters him, claiming his work was sacrilegious. Richter reveals that McKenna considered it blasphemy and orchestrated the Pope's death but McKenna justifies his actions as he believes he has done this in the will of God and to protect the church. Richter further goes on to mention how McKenna had conjured up the ancient sect known as the Illuminati and found the ancient brandings in the papal walls and put them to use to spread fear.

McKenna deduces that the Catholic Church will be united by the "attack" but Richter bluntly cuts him off and counters him by stating that there is no attack and that McKenna is simply trying to convince the Cardinals that they are in a war and that they will elect him as Pope to lead them. McKenna however claims that the work is not yet finished but Richters concludes it is and informs him that he has shown the journals to Father Simmeon who will inform the Cardinals of McKennas actions when conclave opens but McKenna threatens him with a brand of the Papacy's cross keys which he planned to use to brand himself, originally alone to shift suspicion from himself and implicate himself as a victim of the Illuminati. 

Richter unholsters his gun and demands him to put them down but McKenna instead brands himself and uses it to implicate Richter as the mastermind behind the attacks, the Swiss Guards barge in through the door and shoot Richter as well as Father Simmeon who tried to attack McKenna with the brand after McKenna claimed he was a co-conspirator.

McKenna then realises (having known the entire time) that the bomb is located in St Peter's Tomb and so they rush to hopefully recharge the battery to get it safely back to the facility but due to it being cold down in the tomb, they do not have more than five minutes and as a result, Vetra can not pull the charge and instead proposes to leave it down in the tomb and evacuate but McKenna refuses and seizes the bomb.

McKenna then rushes to the surface with it and enters a helicopter where he pilots it into the sky and then parachutes out of it just before the bomb explodes, eventually it does and causes damage to Vatican City as well as disrupting McKenna's parachute which causes him to hit off a roof before landing. The Cardinals along with Vatican City praise McKenna as a hero and calls for him to be elected as Pope are made but Cardinal Strauss still refuses to break the rules of the Papacy as he is underaged and does not hold the sufficient rank to become such but he is rebuked when the idea of acclamation can be used.

However unbeknownst to McKenna, before Richter died he had given Langdon the access key to the security cameras which he used to keep watch on the Pope which allowed him to access the footage between him and McKenna prior to his death. The footage reveals Richter had discovered everything and that McKenna was the true mastermind behind the attacks and so Langdon and Vetra then reveal this to Cardinal Strauss and the other Cardinals and have McKenna summoned who is being treated for his injuries.

McKenna is notified of this and believes he has been summoned to be elected Pope but upon entering the conclave, he eventually notices Swiss agents in the crowd while the Cardinals glare at him in disgust. Realising he has been exposed, he attempts to flee but his exit is blocked off and instead he takes a candle and poors the water over himself and then commits suicide via self-immolation to avoid arrest.

Following McKenna's death, the church keeps the details of his crimes secret, instead announcing that McKenna had died due to injuries sustained through saving the Vatican from the antimatter.


  • He is the film version of Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca.
    • While Ventresca is Italian, McKenna is Scottish/Irish. The change was done to reflect McGregor's obvious lack of Italian heritage.