WHAT? - If you pray the Rosary, you may be a 'violent extremist'
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If you pray the Rosary, you just might be a violent, right-wing extremist. At least that's according to one writer at The Atlantic.
Shown: A weapon of great violence, according to The Atlantic.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - It's hard to fathom how this one got past the editors of The Atlantic, but it did. On Sunday, the publication produced an article that claimed the Rosary has become a symbol of violent, right-wing extremists in the United States.
Assuredly, this caused a panic at The Atlantic, because the headline was instantly laughable, or concerning, depending on your take. It was changed from, "How the Rosary Became an Extremist Symbol," to "How Extremist Gun Culture is Trying to Co-Opt the Rosary."
What the article tried to explain, although in a concerning fashion, was that some Americans who are both Catholic and own guns, are somehow associated with militia movements and nationalism. The evidence comes from rosaries for sale made from bullet casings and gun-metal-finish crucifixes, and some images on social media.
To the point, the author, Daniel Panneton, (who resides in Toronto, Canada) claims that these Catholics view the Rosary as "a weapon in the fight against evil..." Yes, it in fact is such a weapon. But he continues and claims, they have "turned it into something dangerously literal."
Uh oh! Look out for people open carrying...rosaries!
Panneton mentions how these individuals drape rosaries over firearms and take pictures to post on social media. As if the Bible hasn't been similarly used for centuries. He also mentions that some of these social media accounts contain "homophobic screeds."
He then quotes theologian and historian, Massimo Faggioli describing them as a "Catholic Cyber Militia." What is that, a clan in some online, first person shooter game? Should we look out for them on Fortnite?
The entire piece isn't fit to line a birdcage.
This isn't a new phenomenon. Every painting of a medieval knight with a cross on their shield is part of the same genre. Every depiction of St. George slaying the dragon is the same. Even several national flags fit this description. The Union Jack, for example is no less than three Christian crosses on one banner. Shall we call upon the United Kingdom and several European countries to redesign their flags?
The Rosary is a prayer that focuses on the life of Jesus Christ. It is dedicated to Our Lady, Mary. Guns have nothing to do with it. Nor politics. The Catholic faith has nothing to do with politics either. The Church does not endorse political candidates. It has bigger things to do.
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It is true that the Catholic faith should inform people's politics, but people are free to follow their conscience. There are surely Catholics who hold strong opinions on every issue. Just as some Catholics are absolutely pro-life, there are those within the Church who hold the exact opposite view. This is also true when it comes to firearms, and every other conceivable political and social issue.
The Church teaches the truth. And the truth is we are called to follow Jesus Christ, to share the Gospel, to preach and baptize all persons. We are called to obey God's Commandments, one of which is not to kill. That includes all killing which is evil. For example, abortion is evil. So too is gun violence.
But it is not a sin to own property, to posses a firearm, be it an "AR-15" or a pistol, or an antique showpiece. Or to utilize a firearm properly. Likewise, it is not a sin the pray the Rosary. Nor is it a sin to take a picture with a rosary draped over a firearm. It might not be my taste or yours, but as pointed out above it isn't much different that what people have depicted in ages past. Who cares?
Prison inmates tattoo rosaries on their skin. Should we then associate the Rosary with prison culture? Celebrities something wear rosaries as jewelry. Does that make it a fashion symbol?
People will co-opt anything popular to promote their ideas. Businesses co-opt rainbow flags every June. What does that mean other than Wall Street is trying to ride a cultural wave to cash in? Politicians co-opt popular songs to stir their bases. Voodoo is a religion that co-opted Catholic iconography. Does that mean the Catholic Church is a voodoo sect?
Anti-Catholics will do anything to discredit the faith. And their favorite tactic is to point out Catholics behaving badly. But here's a newsflash: every religion, every ideology, every culture, every single category and group of people in existence has members who behave badly. It is a guarantee someone who works for The Atlantic has promoted a falsehood at some time or another. Does this discredit the publication? Of course not.
So what exactly is the point?
What does discredit The Atlantic are weak claims falsely trying to associate the Church with something far beneath it. What discredits the Atlantic is the fact that owning a firearm is also a lawful act. And so too is praying the Rosary.
We can express concern when people depict the Rosary in a manner that is less than prayerful, such as when a celebrity gyrates on stage singing suggestive lyrics to people, including children, while a crucifix dangles from their neck. We can express concern when a gang member tattoos a rosary on their body while leading a criminal lifestyle. But expressing concern when people are abiding the law just because we disagree with their opinions doesn't make for a compelling story.
The Church, and the Holy Rosary are under attack from people who understand and appreciate neither. They miss the fact that people do art, that they express a wide range of human sentiments and emotions, and they are under no obligation to make sense to us, or refrain. There's plenty of art that is critical of Christianity too. There exists art which is absolutely sacrilegious and offensive to pious souls. Where's that article?
In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. And in an age of universal evil, adhering to the faith is also revolutionary.
Don't buy The Atlantic. Don't buy the deceit.
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