Can you even imagine The Atlantic writing about any aspect of Islamic piety in remotely militaristic terms? They’d sooner close their doors forever than publish something so “Islamophobic” about a religion whose holy texts actually teach and sanction violence against unbelievers. But this? No problem.
“The Atlantic Compares Catholic Rosary to Assault Weapon,” by Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart, August 15, 2022:
ROME — The Atlantic has likened the rosary to an AR-15 assault weapon in an incendiary attack Sunday on conservative Catholics.
“Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics,” writes Toronto-based Daniel Panneton in an Atlantic article released the day before the Catholic feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15).
Never mind that the highest-profile rosary-wielding U.S. Catholic is President Joe Biden, Panneton powers forward, alleging darkly that 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.”
The writer cites progressive Church historian and commentator Massimo Faggioli in describing conservative Catholic bloggers as a “Catholic cyber-militia” that actively campaigns against LGBTQ acceptance in the Church and for whom “rosary-as-weapon memes represent a social-media diffusion of such messaging.”
Panneton goes on to assert that “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.”
“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,” he declares.
One Catholic online store goes so far as to sell “replicas of the rosaries issued to American soldiers during the First World War as ‘combat rosaries,’” he warns, to which can be added a “concealed carry” permit a storage box “resembling an ammunition can.”
This dangerous alliance between prayer and warfare seems to have penetrated the highest levels of the Church and Panneton writes that in 2016, “the pontifical Swiss Guard accepted a donation of combat rosaries” and during a ceremony at the Vatican, their commander described the gift as “the most powerful weapon that exists on the market.”…