By Kathy Brown
I read Daniel Panneton’s “How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying To Co-opt The Rosary” in a pop-eyed, slack-jawed state. An indictment of both gun culture and the Rosary writ small, and of all things Judeo-Christian, Western and rational writ large, the article could be dismissed as just the millionth installment of mind-numbing, catatonia-inducing far-left drool, but for a twist. For Mr. Panneton claims to have discovered a nefarious connection between both gun and Rosary. And he is writing to sound the alarm.
But the Rosary is an integral part of the Catholic faith, and I am a Catholic who prays that Rosary. Thus, upon encountering the piece I was, as Jane Austen would say, “all astonishment.”
Now, before reading Panneton’s opus I was blissfully unaware that my Rosary-praying, Catholic-Church-believing persona made me what he calls a “Rad Trad Catholic Militant.” By Panneton’s lights this is a very bad thing. I also learned that if, in addition to thus believing, you compound your errors by being politically conservative and actually attending a Rad Trad Catholic Militant Church (real term, “Latin Rite”), it’s because you are [deep breath]: “Violently homophobic, White, extremist fringe, male, actively campaigning against LGBTQ acceptance by the Roman Catholic Church,” a supporter of the “traditional patriarchal family,” and in the “growing contingent of Christian nationalism.”
You’re too stupid to know that extremist gun culture is trying to co-opt you, someone only too eager to be co-opted. To cap the climax, you’re anathema to far-left professors whom Panneton really, really likes, such as Massimo Fagioli (translation: “Maxie Beans“) and Dr. Philip Gorski. And if, like me, you’ve never heard of them, that just goes to show your benighted state, since the former is a luminary of Catholic theology who calls faithful Catholics a “Catholic Cyber Militia” and the latter is author of the blockbuster, “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.”
Got all that?
In support of these woeful allegations, Panneton has, he says, receipts. Evidence. What might that be? Why, these very statements. To divert your attention from the fact that such is not anything even remotely resembling evidence, he’s got, well … even more statements. He states that “the AR 15 rifle has become a sacred symbol for traditionalist Catholics in general.” He states that “the sacramental Rosary is not just a spiritual weapon but one that comes with physical ammunition.” He states that “Rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial and absolutist gun culture.” And on this basis and this basis alone Panneton warns of the actual violence of the Rad Trad Catholic Militant Church. Not incipient violence, but present violence. We Rad Trads are dangerous. Panneton fears the religious terrorist connection, you see. He calls it out by name. It is Christian, of course, but more than that it is Catholic. It is Conservative Catholic. It is Traditional Catholic. These things he knows. Of these things, he is sure.
In the not-so-distant past Panneton would never have gotten any ink. Lacking any and all empirical foundation for the absurd theory he urges, no reputable publishers would admit him to their mastheads. His endeavor cannot even properly be termed an “article” (non-fiction writing). It is a jeremiad. His pronounced animus toward the Catholic Church is on full display. He states that “Catholics used to be regarded as enemies by Christian nationalists, and anti-Catholic nativism runs deep in American history.” Incredibly, however, when he does so he is lamenting the cessation of the former and celebrating the latter. As to Panneton’s knowledge of the topic itself, it is clear that he knows nothing of what Catholics reverently term The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and less than nothing of The Holy Roman Catholic Church. It is doubtful he even knows that the latter has more adherents than any other church on earth (1.2 billion), which, though entered by many as baptized infants, is then stayed in, or converted to, or returned to, by choice. That is a trifling thing, of no moment.
And where are the “marauding” Rad Trad Militant Catholics he claims to describe from life, but in reality has created from whole cloth? They (we) simply do not exist! On a daily basis thousands upon tens of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of Catholics (and even, surprisingly, non-Catholics) do indeed assemble in places like Lourdes, France, or Fatima, Portugal. But even though they bear the much-maligned Rosary in hand there is no violent mob. Instead, from every side and in every language, supplication arises to she whom we call The Immaculate Mother of God. Here is that “marauding.”
Both the Rosary and the Madonna it honors are to believing Catholics articles of faith, things which cannot be proven. To Panneton such is beneath contempt. And yet he himself is possessed of many such articles. A devout member of the far-left Church of the Woke, in both this piece and in others he and his fellow travelers hold many things to be self-evident: for example, that this is a woman, and so is this. This is peaceful protesting. This is child-friendly, but this is not. On and on the examples go, ad infinitum, ad tedium, ad nauseam.
In closing, it would be unjust to say that Panneton’s entire effort is in vain. He does indeed appear to be possessed of a zeal for finding and exposing the link between religious faith and violent terrorism. And though that link is not found in the Catholic Church and Her Rosary, it does indeed exist. For example, recently an adherent to Islam attempted to kill Salman Rushdie. He did so while screaming the traditional Muslim acknowledgment of religious motivation, “Allahu akbar!” “Homophobic”? Islam decrees that the punishment for homosexuality is death. “Violently homophobic“? Intolerant? Having demonstrated this, can we now look forward to a new and improved Gospel of Daniel? One with actual proof of his theory? Which really does connect the dots between religion and violence?
Again, as Jane Austen would say, I am all anticipation.
Kathy Brown is a native of NYC who now makes her home in the Midwest. She is a nurse and an attorney, and has taught American History in a traditional Catholic school.
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