The Atlantic may not believe that the nation is in a fight for her soul, or perhaps they just don’t believe the nation has a soul worth saving. That’s the only way the outlet could justify running an article that claims the rosary, a means of prayer and a symbol of faith for Catholics worldwide, could be a symbol of “extremism.”
The rosary was given to the faithful from the Blessed Virgin Mary per Catholic doctrine, who appeared to St. Dominic in the 13th century to bestow a string of beads, with a dropping down from the center, upon the Dominican founder. Each section of beads on the chain represents a series of prayers, and Catholics use them to pray the Hail Mary, the Our Father, and the Glory Be. To pray the rosary is meditative, contemplative, peaceful, and hopeful.
But for The Atlantic, the beads are a symbol of hate. It’s obvious, based on The Atlantic’s ethos, that they would only dare take aim at Catholics and Christians for their faith. Any other religion, despite beheadings, honor killings, and ethnic hate, gets a cultural pass.
Salman Rushdie was stabbed over a decades-old fatwa against him for writing a book Islamic clerics believed was blasphemous. A Texas father murdered his two daughters because they were dating Americans. But for The Atlantic, the problem is Catholics upholding a symbol of prayer as a symbol of prayer.
The Atlantic writes this hit piece on Catholics knowing that the Department of Homeland Security recently advised Catholic churches that they were in danger from pro-abortion extremists.
In “How the Rosary Became an Extremist Symbol,” Daniel Panneton declares that “The AR-15 is a sacred object among Christian nationalists,” and that the rosary has now “acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics.” He states that Catholics are “armed radical traditionalists” who “have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil…”
The Atlantic later changed its headline, clearly aware that the original was targeting Catholics and their faith. That doesn’t change its intention.
Believing that the nation was founded on Christian ideals, while a historically accurate view, has been interpreted as morally unacceptable by a progressive left that endorses sex changes for minors, abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and open borders that leave the country vulnerable to human trafficking and drug smuggling.
While lamenting that Catholics are now more widely accepted among the broader group of Protestant Christians in the US, The Atlantic paints them with the broad brush of the Westboro Baptist Church, or other extremist groups that use religion as a means to bully those they disagree with. But there is nothing inherent in the rosary, or in prayer, that is extremist, or racist, or homophobic, or antisemitic.
The rosary is used for prayer. That is its sole function and purpose. For the faithful, it brings hope and comfort. The rosary connects Catholics to their heritage, to the communion of saints, to forgiveness, redemption, and a life lived in faith.
The attempt to paint it as extremist is yet another way the progressive, ideological left it is attempting to divorce Americans from faith.
In defense of his idea of classifying the rosary as an “extremist symbol,” Panneton claims that in the hands of the “far right’s constellations of violent, racist, and homophobic online milieus,” which “are well documented for providing a pathway to radicalization and real-world terrorist attacks,” the rosary “is anything but holy.”
Panneton tracks through the history of soldiers carrying their rosaries into combat, from the Crusades in Europe through the World Wars of the 20th century, saying that this has led to a “militarism” that “glorifies a warrior mentality and notions of manliness and male strength.” These things, of course, are sorely out of fashion for Atlantic readers, who prefer their men docile, weak, and unable to lead either into battle or into life.
And men, of course, are the root of the problem. “The militarism,” Panneton writes, “also glorifies a warrior mentality and notions of manliness and male strength. 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.”
This idea that men should be something other than strong leaders who defend their family, their church, and their nation has taken hold in progressive ideology to such an extent that when they see men bolstered by prayer and called to serve their families, their churches, and their nations, the assumption among the left is that this is something toxic and extremist.
Masculinity is not extremist, but that’s how it is framed by The Atlantic, which entirely irresponsibly links symbols of faith and prayer with hate and extremism. The author claims that Catholic men who take up the rosary as a symbol of faith and a method of prayer are engaging in “fantasies of violently defending one’s family and church from marauders.”
Panneton does not say what men should be fantasizing about, what narrative men should be telling themselves in order to live faithful lives of service. Instead, he blasts these men for holding up traditional ways, and links that to antisemitism, racism, homophobia, and the patriarchy. He claims that these Catholics are willing to engage in “righteous violence,” rosaries gripped in their hands or perhaps trailing from the barrel of a gun, against “political enemies regarded as satanic, be they secularists, progressives, or Jews.”
“The hostility toward liberalism and secularism inherent in traditionalist Catholicism is also pronounced within Christian nationalist circles. 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,” he writes, as though there is something inherently wrong with a traditional family structure.
Perhaps The Atlantic wants Americans to believe that a traditional family is detrimental to society, whereas Catholics believe it is foundational, and studies have repeatedly shown that a two-parent home is better for children than being raised in a fractured family.
In his attempt to claim that a foremost symbol of faith is one of hate, Panneton lists those values that he holds dear: being pro-abortion, believing the term “groomer” is an anti-LGBTQ slur, gun control, open border, and male weakness. In so doing, this article becomes yet another attempt to paint that which is good and holy as hate, simply to discredit those who don’t agree with the degradation of American culture and the decimation of our nation at large.
The rosary is a symbol of faith, a tool for prayer, and as it is mocked and derided, those who keep it dear will hold it more and more tightly, sure in their belief that secular, anti-humanist ideologues want nothing more than to take it, and their faith, away.