Atlantic contributor Daniel Panneton has published an op-ed in which he claimed that the rosary is now a symbol of extremism.
The rosary, of course, is a string of beads or knots that are used by Catholics as they do a series of prayers.
In the article titled, “How the Rosary Became an Extremist Symbol,” Panneton claimed that “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.”
Panneton claimed that “on this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. 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.”
The writer claimed that the “the rosary—in these hands—is anything but holy.”
Panneton noted that the rosary, a weapon against evil, is often shown in memes and merchandise alongside guns and imagery celebrating a warrior mentality.
“The militarism also glorifies a warrior mentality and notions of manliness and male strength,” Panneton wrote. “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. 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.”
The article went on to attack people who wish to defend their church and family.
“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,” he noted.
The op-ed was widely mocked online, particularly in a Catholic subreddit.
“It would be even more hilarious if people started praying the rosary outside his house in Toronto (so he can see them praying) for the salvation of his soul,” one user wrote.
Another replied, “Calling the police, ‘there are armed extremists outside my home!!’”