(OPINION) A now-amended op-ed published by The Atlantic declared the Catholic rosary had become “an extremist symbol” among “radical-traditional” Catholics.

“[T]he rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics,” the op-ed reads. “On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture.”

After initially being published with the headline, “How the Rosary Became an Extremist Symbol,” the op-ed written by Atlantic contributor Daniel Panneton now carries the headline, “How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-Opt the Rosary.”


The op-ed associates the rosary with Second Amendment activists and the Catholic concept of Church Militantism, which boils down to the idea that, on Earth, there is an ongoing battle between good and evil.

Panneton points to “rad-trad rosary-as-weapon memes” posted to social media, as well as “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,” which he argues provides “a pathway to radicalization and real-world terrorist attacks.”

The rosary—in these hands—is anything but holy,” Panneton asserts. “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.

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.”

Panneton also argues that rosaries have been used as a means to finance “radicalization.” He claims they are commonly sold within the “radical-traditional Catholic” movement along with features, such as a gun-metal finish or a storage box resembling an ammunition can, that purportedly promote radicalism. READ MORE




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