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Fisking the Atlantic's fear of the Rosary
Meanwhile, time to laugh at them.
And oh dear God, does my brain hurt.
What is about to happen is a fisk. A fisk is basically a line by line refutation—and usually insulting—of something so unbelievably stupid, it deserves everything that’s coming to it.
Shall we begin?
How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-opt the Rosary
First of all, what is this? The FOURTH freaking title for this article?
No, I’m serious. When I clicked on the link, the title was “How Rad-Trad Catholics Weaponized the Rosary.”
But the archive link has a title of “Guns and Rosaries.”
One of these days, they’ll find a title that isn’t as insulting as… the rest of the article. I guess.
The subtitle to this article is…
Why are sacramental beads suddenly showing up next to AR-15s online?
Really? Are you kidding me? I’m sorry, is this like the time Leftists thought that there was a genuine, honest to God, chainsaw bayonet attachment to AR-15s?
Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general,
Wait, hold up. Stop that first sentence. What? An AR-15 is a sacred object? I’m sorry, did these people take internet memes too seriously? Like the Polish priest blessing an arsenal? Are there honestly people taking AR-15s to church? Because, while cool, I think the closest I’ve ever seen to that is the church with the gun range in the basement.
(How would you like to be THAT dumb SOB who tries to shoot up THAT church? Dead in 10 seconds.)
Hell, the Christian I know with the most AR-15s is a seven foot Portuguese Mormon.
Anyway, this is five kinds of stupid and I’m not even done with the first sentence. I’m still in the middle of the first clause.
the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics.
Oh, you bloody, blasted, nimrods. You idiots.
Ahem, let us start with a history lesson. The rosary has always been a weapon. Always. Since the 1300s. It’s a weapon AGAINST SATAN. Trust me, unless you’re reading MY books, no one kills anybody with a rosary…
Okay, there were Spanish commies who jammed rosary beads into the ears of altar boys, because the Commies hated Catholics, but that’s a different conversation.
Sigh. The stupid burns and that’s just the first sentence. Where were we?
Oh yes, THE ROSARY IS A WEAPON AGAINST SATAN, YOU MORONS. So unless the Atlantic is identifying with Satan, the rosary isn’t going to kill or hurt anyone anytime soon. Fools.
Ugh. Where were we?
On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture.
What? I’m sorry, your stupid has punctured my IQ. I feel points slipping away. I can get dumber as I read this article. What the Hell are you talking about?
“Absolutist gun culture”?? I don’t even know what that means.
These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.
Hi. I hate to point this out to you, but Satan? He’s evil. Also, for Catholics, he’s very real. If you want to be picky, Satan is more like an it than a he, because angels don’t have sex or gender, they’re literally pure form…
Sorry, my Thomism was kicking in. What were you saying?
Oh, yes. EVIL IS REAL. FIGHTING EVIL ISN’T A METAPHOR YOU TWIT! YOU SHOULD KNOW, YOU LABEL EVERYONE ELSE EVIL EVERY FIVE MINUTES!
Their social-media pages are saturated with images of rosaries draped over firearms, warriors in prayer, Deus Vult (“God wills it”) crusader memes, and exhortations for men to rise up and become Church Militants.
Keep in mind, the author, Daniel Panneton (who should not be confused with an overpriced home exercise machine) has written articles about how memes are truly dangerous and they “normalize hate.”
This is in the same class of idiot who bans the Babylon Bee for jokes, because their jokes might “mislead” people.
As for Crusader Memes, does he think we are planning to take Istambul to rename it Constantinople? If So, cool, let’s schedule that meetup. As for re-taking the Holy Lands, Israel might have something to say about that.
As was once said about the Soviet Union: we won because we could laugh at them, and they couldn’t laugh.
As for his evil memes… You mean like this?
Yes. Truly scary. Because an angel fighting DEMONS means Catholics are going to go on the march and KILL people.
Right. Sure they are.
Good God, I need a sarcasm font, I really do.
Also, “Church militant.” Hey, Panneton, did you even think to look up that term before having the words come out of your mouth?
Let’s do something strange. Here’s Wikipedia on the Church Militant.
the Church Militant (Latin: Ecclesia militans), also called the Church Pilgrim which consists of Christians on earth who struggle as soldiers of Christ against sin, the devil, and "the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places”
Where in that does it state that the Church militant are obligated to engage in physical combat with any human person?
And just in case Wikipedia gets frisky again, I screen shot the definition.
On with the stupid.
Influencers on platforms such as Instagram share posts referencing “everyday carry” and “gat check” (gat is slang for “firearm”)
Thanks, Jimmy Cagney, I never would have guessed without you explaining that to me.
that include soldiers’ “battle beads,” handguns, and assault rifles. One artist posts illustrations of his favorite Catholic saints, clergy, and influencers toting AR-15-style rifles labeled sanctum rosarium alongside violently homophobic screeds that are celebrated by social-media accounts with thousands of followers.
One, the article provides no links to these “supposed accounts.”
Second, saints are, once more for the cheap seats, FIGHTING A SPIRITUAL WAR AGAINST SATAN.
Ugh. My head hurts…
The theologian and historian Massimo Faggioli has described a network of conservative Catholic bloggers and commentary organizations as a “Catholic cyber-militia” that actively campaigns against LGBTQ acceptance in the Church.
Cyber-militias? We have cyber-militias? Wow, that sounds freaking awesome. Can I join...?
Oh. Never mind. This source is Faggioli. Ugh. That idiot. Has he ever had a complete thought in his life? Sorry, I know Faggioli as a “fourth-tier” historian. His facts are usually okay, but his conclusions are delusional. To cite John Zmirak, “Faggioli’s fatuous opinions, vented on Twitter, come so close to self-parody that conservative Catholics gleefully retweet them, without any comment.”
In this context, I should spell out that his name is pronounced more like “Fa-ji-oli,” or even closer to “fa-gee-o-lee.”
Also, the Faggioli article linked to by The Atlantic is about James Martin, SJ, doing everything short of suggesting homosexual orgies on the church altar.
I’m not kidding. I genuinely await Martin coming out of the closet with his pet altar boy of 30 years.
THIS is our “cyber-militia”? Trying to stuff James Martin back in the closet? That’s the best you got? Please. Hey, Panneton, wake me when this “cyber militia” exposes all the crimes of Planned Parenthood in states that aren’t California.
These rad-trad rosary-as-weapon memes represent a social-media diffusion of such messaging, and they work to integrate ultraconservative Catholicism with other aspects of online far-right culture.
“I’m going to string together some buzzwords and hope they sound as scary as memes.” Because we’re back to freaking memes again. Are you kidding, Panneton? People going to church and having large families are REALLY counterculture?
Okay, at this point, they are countercultural, but only if your culture is five square blocks of Manhattan.
The phenomenon might be tempting to dismiss as mere trolling or merchandising
Oh… see above.
Seriously, Panneton: Why are you so stupid? Was doing a Wiki search too much for you?
and ironical provocations based on traditionalist Catholic symbols do exist, but the far right’s constellations of violent, racist, and homophobic online milieus are well documented for providing a pathway to radicalization and real-world terrorist attacks.
I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of a hundred Catholic pregnancy centers being burned to the ground by pro-abortion extremists. Did you suggest people who pray were terrorists, Panneton?
Quick, round up the usual … um… nuns?
The rosary—in these hands—is anything but holy.
In which case, Panneton, you better tell a few million Hindus that their Swastika is no longer holy because a failed Austrian painter used it for his National Socialist Workers Party.
But for millions of believers, the beads, which provide an aide-mémoire for a sequence of devotional prayers, are a widely recognized symbol of Catholicism and a source of strength.
Oh look, Panneton can use a search engine. I await him screwing it up.
And many take genuine sustenance from Catholic theology’s concept of the Church Militant and the tradition of regarding the rosary as a weapon against Satan. As Pope Francis said in a 2020 address, “There is no path to holiness … without spiritual combat,” and Francis is only one of many Church officials who have endorsed the idea of the rosary as an armament in that fight.
So riddle me this, dumbass: how do you know that it’s not all meant in the same sentiment?
Answer: Because you don’t want it to. You want it to be evil right-wingers, who, as we all know, are terrorists by nature.
Also, because you’re a twit who thinks memes are dangerous. And again he screwed up the research. These sentiments are not Pope Francis’s. They are Saint Dominic’s, from 700 years ago!
In mainstream Catholicism, the rosary-as-weapon is not an intrinsically harmful interpretation of the sacramental, and this symbolism has a long history. In the 1930s and ’40s, the ultramontane Catholic student publication Jeunesse Étudiante Catholique regularly used the concept to rally the faithful.
So is the term the Church militant. It was used in World War Two. See, Panneton can do the research. I’m proud…
Panneton just wants the facts to slander whoever he thinks his political opponents are. Frankly, this excepted paragraph means that Panneton’s entire article is full of it, AND HE KNOWS IT.
But the modern radical-traditionalist Catholic movement—which generally rejects the Second Vatican Council’s reforms
Rad-Trads prefer the Latin mass … which was NEVER outlawed by Vatican II. Ever. They prefer communion veils. The prefer dressing up for mass in suit and tie and dresses, and being formal in their worship. They have children in batches. They give to charities. They RUN charities.
If Rad-Trads rejected Vatican II, they’d be schismatics, on par with Protestants and Greek / Russian Orthodox. They’re not.
However, I’m sure the Rad-Trads reject whatever Panneton thinks Vatican II reforms were. Dear God, how does he have the brain cells to get himself out of bed in the morning?
is far outside the majority opinion in the Roman Catholic Church in America.
No. Latin masses are actually on the rise. They’re more popular than English masses. They may be as popular as Spanish masses.
Does anyone on The Atlantic even know a Catholic? Does Panneton? I doubt it.
Seriously, it feels like this is written in bullet points from the “pro-choice Catholic society” on Facebook. Those guys are heretics.
Many prominent American Catholic bishops advocate for gun control, and after the Uvalde school shooting, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, lamented the way some Americans “sacralize death’s instruments.”
Oh! So Panneton would like to go with the Bishops, would he?
As John Zmirak notes, Flores is perhaps “the thickest American bishop” who “once taught that deporting illegal immigrants was equivalent to aborting innocent babies. (The fact that this equated several Latin American nations with medical waste dumpsters apparently eluded him.)”
So, bad call.
Militia culture, a fetishism of Western civilization, and masculinist anxieties have become mainstays of the far right in the U.S.—and rad-trad Catholics have now taken up residence in this company.
Funny, my Rad-Trad friends couldn’t find a militia if they tried. Even the seven-foot Mormon isn’t part of a Militia.
Fetishism of Western Civilization?
I’m sorry, are there people dressing up in Winged Hussar costumes for sex play? Because I don’t quite see that working.
Seriously, buddy, but Sabaton called, and they want you to sit down and shut up, because you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Sorry, Panneton, but as far as Catholics are concerned, we ARE Western Civilization. Look through the history of the last two thousands years and try to escape us. Even the Vikings converted.
Their social-media accounts commonly promote accelerationist and survivalist content, along with combat-medical and tactical training,
Who are these people and where can I find them? That sounds like fun … also, it sounds necessary. I live in New York City, after all. Survivalist content and combat-medical and tactical training would be really, really useful. Probably in my near future.
I’m obviously not hanging out with people who are Rad ENOUGH. All the Rad Trads I know only want to go to church, have children, pray and be left alone.
Oh wait, wanting to be left alone is extremist these days. I forgot. My apologies.
as well as memes depicting balaclava-clad gunmen that draw on the “terrorwave” or “warcore” aesthetic that is popular in far-right circles.
Terrorwave? Warcore? Now Panneton is just making up words.
Let me check these links provided in this article…
Sigh. Again, are you kidding, Panneton? Vice articles?
So, “Terrorcore” links to a Vice column about a “Neo-Nazi” living out of his parents’ basement in a Canadian suburb. Uh huh. Because Vice magazine is truly the website of record.
Warcore links to… a Vice FASHION COLUMN. It’s apparently a 4Chan meme. Yes, 4Chan, the people who made the left believe that the Okay hand gesture was really a white supremacist logo.
I feel like I’m being punked. How about you guys?
Seriously, this isn’t even a deep dive. This is gentle wading through sewage.
Like such networks,
The networks of tacti-cool fashion and the network of one who lives in his parents’ basement. Those networks?
radical-traditional Catholics sustain their own cottage industry of goods and services that reinforces the radicalization. Rosaries are common among the merchandise on offer—some made of cartridge casings, and complete with gun-metal-finish crucifixes.
Is Panneton against recycling now?
Oooh, gunmetal-finish! The Atlantic is now against COLORS. Colors! Are we serious?
One Catholic online store, which describes itself as “dedicated to offering battle-ready products and manuals to ‘stand firm against the tactics of the devil’” (a New Testament reference), sells replicas of the rosaries issued to American soldiers during the First World War as “combat rosaries.”
Because when you’re in a trench in the Somme, you don’t want a delicate little chain that will snap the first time you drop belly-first into the mud! THAT’S WHAT A COMBAT ROSARY IS. IT IS A ROSARY THAT HAS BEEN IN COMBAT. IT IS NOT A ROSARY FOR KILLING PEOPLE.
Why do I feel like these people read my books and took them literally in the wrong way?
Discerning consumers can also buy a “concealed carry” permit for their combat rosary and a sacramental storage box resembling an ammunition can. In 2016, the pontifical Swiss Guard accepted a donation of combat rosaries; during a ceremony at the Vatican, their commander described the gift as “the most powerful weapon that exists on the market.”
It’s a joke.
The idiot didn’t get the joke.
Panneton saw this and thought that Catholics were going to… what? Strangle someone with a rosary? I do that in my novels WITH VAMPIRES.
The stupid. It burns.
The militarism also glorifies a warrior mentality and notions of manliness and male strength.
See above with FIGHTING THE DEVIL.
This conflation of the masculine and the military is rooted in wider anxieties about Catholic manhood—the idea that it is in crisis has some currency among senior Church figures and lay organizations.
What Pop psych course did this idiot take? But if Panneton wants to take this tack, we can go back to discussion about projection.
In 2015, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix issued an apostolic exhortation calling for a renewal of traditional conceptions of Catholic masculinity titled “Into the Breach,” which led the Knights of Columbus, an influential fraternal order, to produce a video series promoting Olmsted’s ideas.
So, wait, now the Atlantic is AGAINST bishops and their ideas?
But among radical-traditional Catholic men, such concerns take an extremist turn, rooted in fantasies of violently defending one’s family and church from marauders.
I can’t imagine where that idea could have come from. Aside from hundreds of days of rioting all across the country in 2020.
Or maybe the church vandalisms across the country this year.
Or all of the pregnancy centers burned down.
Or the attempted assassination of Kavanaugh.
You know, the marauders that Panneton supports?
Let’s back up a second. How does Panneton know about these fantasies? He’s a mind reader? Or is his source the memes again? Because if all of Panneton’s sources are memes, he’s seriously brain damaged.
The rosary-as-weapon also gives rad-trad Catholic men both a distinctive signifier within Christian nationalism and a sort of membership pass to the movement. As the sociologists Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry note in Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, Catholics used to be regarded as enemies by Christian nationalists, and anti-Catholic nativism runs deep in American history. Today, Catholics are a growing contingent of Christian nationalism.
I’m sorry, is that it? One book? That’s the great link between evil Catholic gun owners and “Christian Nationalists”?
Sigh. The Klan used to say that they were against “Koons Kikes and Katholics,” proving that they couldn’t spell, either.
I’ll believe that they suddenly love the Catholic church when the FBI informants running the Klan announce their new open hiring policies.
I also note that Panneton doesn’t even define a Christian nationalist. Because “we all know what they are, right? They’re Christians who don’t vote the right way.”
Hey, Panneton, Thomas Nast called from Hell. He wants his anti-Catholic rhetoric back. At least pay his estate for royalties.
Helping unite these former rivals
—Which you haven’t proven that they’re united, and have offered one seven year old book as evidence for—
is a quasi-theological doctrine of what Perry and another sociologist, Philip S. Gorski, have called “righteous violence” against political enemies regarded as demonic or satanic, be they secularists, progressives, or Jews.
Again, if Panneton wants to practice pop psychology, he should look up projection. The only ones beating up Jews in New York city these days are cops under Mayor DiBlasio. And when I can’t turn on CNN, MSNBC or CNBC without hearing how “evil” I am, Panneton should check the channel of who’s calling who demonic.
Besides, if Panneton were really scared of the evil terrorist Catholics, he wouldn’t be writing this article, he’d be in hiding. So he should stop pretending he’s worried; if Panneton thought that we’d cry deus vult and decapitate him in Times square, he’d treat Catholics like he treats Jihadis—he’d whimper in a corner and cry “don’t hurt me.” Panneton would ignore Catholics.
The hostility toward liberalism and secularism inherent in traditionalist Catholicism is also pronounced within Christian nationalist circles.
When liberals and secularists stop burning down Catholic churches and pregnancy centers, Catholics might stop being mildly annoyed at you, Panneton. Ever think about that?
No longer stigmatized by evangelical nationalists, Catholic imagery now blends freely with staple alt-right memes that romanticize ancient Rome or idealize the traditional patriarchal family.
Yes, how dare we Catholics… (checks notes) … go to Latin mass and have large families.
Some doctrinal differences and divisions remain. Many radical-traditional Catholic men maintain the hard-line position that other forms of Christianity are heretical, and hold that Catholics alone adhere to the one true Church.
The creed we Catholics say AT EVERY MASS includes the line “We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”
One church. One. With a pope. The others are schismatics. Panneton may not understand that word, but perhaps he should look it up in the dictionary before he uses words he doesn’t understand.
Christian nationalism’s nativism and its predilection for “Great Replacement” theory alienate some radical-traditional Catholics who are not white or who were not born in the United States, and deep veins of anti-Catholicism persist among far-right Protestants.
The Great Replacement theory talk will go away as soon as idiots like MSNBC stop talking about how “All these White Republicans will be replaced over time by demographics.”
Maybe you can cut out talk of “replacing white people,” and the “theory” will go away.
Yet the convergence within Christian nationalism is cemented in common causes such as hostility toward abortion-rights advocates.
Well, that’s wrong. Panneton implies that Christian Nationalists are white racists. Nope. I know for a fact that white racists love abortion. After all, the bulk of Planned Parenthood abortion centers are in black neighborhoods. PP has done all the genocide that racists would love to commit. They just have to wait.
The pro-choice protests that followed the leaked early draft of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, led to a profusion of social-media posts on the far right fantasizing about killing activists,
As opposed to the Left, who ACTIVELY, and in real life, went out, bombed Catholic buildings, and even tried to assassinate Justice Kavanaugh?
Yes, the “pro-choice protests” are what most people would call terrorism. But this is the Left. Their violence is speech. Everyone else’s speech is violence.
Panneton is now engaging in projection. IMAX-level projection.
such forums responded to Pride month this year with extremist homophobic and transphobic “groomer” discourse.
Funny, every time I see someone use the term “Groomer” it’s with some idiot who is talking about HAVING SEX WITH CHILDREN. I didn’t know it was exclusively LGBTBBQ. Seriously, even Twitter insists that Groomer is a homophobic slur. Since when did pedo = gay?
I think Twitter and the Atlantic owes the gay community an apology. They should also apologize to Catholics, but I’m sure they’ll do that after they’re done burning down Catholic property.
Rad-trad networks are also involved in organizing rosary-branded events that involve weapons training.
I am seriously hanging out in the wrong forums. That sounds like so much fun.
Catholics are taught to love and forgive their enemies, that to do otherwise is a sin.
As opposed to Panneton, who loves and forgives no one. The only sin is not to vote their way.
But the extremist understanding of spiritual warfare overrides that command.
An extremist movement Panneton did not prove exists, by the way. So far the logic is just “I say it exists, therefore it exists.” He cited one book from 7 years ago, and given the lies and half-truths about everything else, I doubt that book means what he says it does.
To do battle with Satan—whose influence in the world is, according to Catholic demonology, real and menacing—is to deploy violence for deliverance and redemption.
No. We covered this. Stop being an idiot.
The “battle beads” culture of spiritual warfare permits radical-traditional Catholics literally to demonize their political opponents and regard the use of armed force against them as sanctified.
Panneton, buddy, pal, old friend. You’ve declared that people who pray the rosary are your enemy. Your entire article is demonizing an entire religion. How about we make a deal? If your people stop burning down churches, Catholic businesses, and statues of our saints, perhaps Catholics will stop thinking you’re demons. Did you think of that?
Seriously, I’ve spent the last six years being called evil because of who I voted for. But Panneton is the victim. Sure.
Projection, IMAX edition. “Let’s Demonize everyone to the right of Mao, and then claim that they’re demonizing us!”
This is genius. Sheer genius. So sheer you can see right through it.
Hey, Panneton wants to talk about how we’re demonizing political opponents? Well, the Bishop who kicked Pelosi out of mass performed an exorcism on the area when they pulled down the statue of a saint. And he’s from San Francisco. Would Panneton like to call him Rad-Trad?
The sacramental rosary isn’t just a spiritual weapon but one that comes with physical ammunition.
I wish. Do you know how pricey ammo is these days?
Well, it’s over. What do I think?
When my friend, history Professor Jason Bieber PhD, first heard this, his response was simple: This is Catholic Blood libel. He added, “What’s next? I’m a Zionist extremist when I wear a Yarmulke?”
And it is blood libel. And slander to boot, and if someone in the church hierarchy had the balls, they should sue the Atlantic straight to Hell.
But why? Why go after Rad Trads? That part is easy.
For decades, and for no reason I can ascertain, Catholics used to vote Democrat in overwhelming numbers. Perhaps many thought that the Left is still the party of Al Smith. But now, Catholic voters are starting to tilt to the right of Joe Manchin. But now, eeeeevvillll Catholics on the Supreme Court “took away” their precious abortion. (No, they didn’t. Seriously, did the left even read that decision?)
Now that Catholics are no longer in the pocket of the Democrat party, they’re fair game, and anything that may label them as The Enemy is fine. The laity are pissed off and it shows in the polls. Ergo, it’s time to whip out the bigotry card. Again.
Of course, whatever the motivations of the Atlantic’s hit piece on one of the largest denominations in the world, it backfired. Rosaries are flying off the shelves. Catholics WANT more rosaries. They’re giving out rosaries. It is practically raining rosaries.
Come and take it.
If you dare.
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