An Atlantic op-ed argues that the rosary used in prayer by Catholics is an extremist symbol taken with a militaristic meaning for Christian nationalists.
Atlantic contributor Daniel Panneton compared the prayer beads to an AR-15 rifle in his Sunday article entitled, “How Extremist Gun Culture Is Trying to Co-Opt the Rosary.”
“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 wrote. “On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture.”
Comparing the rosary to a “weapon,” the writer used the sacred item to blast Catholic campaigns against LGBTQ acceptance in the Catholic Church. Panneton attacked the practice of praying with the rosary: “in these hands — is anything but holy.”
The article didn’t stop with attacking the rosary. The op-ed also shifted to an attack on manhood in the church.
“This conflation of the masculine and the military is rooted in wider anxieties about Catholic manhood,” Panneton wrote, “the idea that it is in crisis has some currency among senior Church figures and lay organizations.”
The criticism continued with a look at the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which returned laws concerning abortion to individual states. Instead of considering the multiple factors involved or the value of life in the womb, Panneton claimed, “Christian nationalism is cemented in common causes such as hostility toward abortion-rights advocates.”
Panneton’s byline identifies him as a writer based in Toronto, Canada. His linked Twitter account describes him as a museum worker and an “online hate researcher.”
The Atlantic contributor is also listed as the manager of the Online Hate Research & Education Project at the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre. His biography on the organization’s website states that Panneton holds master’s degrees in History from Queen’s University and Museum Studies from the University of Toronto and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Ward Museum.
Panneton’s attack on the rosary has received harsh criticism from many. Conservative writer John Hasson noted, “So much ignorance displayed in so few words. The Atlantic is just a meme now.”
So much ignorance displayed in so few words
The Atlantic is just a meme now pic.twitter.com/HbZhq3Rmn6
— John Hasson (@SonofHas) August 14, 2022
Washington Examiner reporter Jeremiah Poff added “Rosary extremist” to his Twitter bio, adding a call for rosary prayer on behalf of Panneton.
Let’s pray the Rosary this week for the writers and staff at the Atlantic and Daniel Panneton, especially as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/0YI3y2yhlq
— Jeremiah Poff (@JJ_Poff) August 14, 2022
Conservative Catholic Jack Posobiec even changed his Twitter name to “Rosary Extremist Poso.”
“We just had an honor killing spree murderer in New Mexico last week but the Atlantic is terrified about Catholics praying the rosary,” he tweeted. “Tells you everything you need to know.”
We just had an honor killing spree murderer in New Mexico last week but the Atlantic is terrified about Catholics praying the rosary
Tells you everything you need to know
— Rosary Extremist Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 15, 2022
Fr. Alex Olszewski also pointed out that The Atlantic used bullet holes for its image of the rosary alongside the op-ed.
“The Atlantic calls the rosary an extremist symbol — notice they use bullet holes for the rosary,” he tweeted.
The Atlantic calls the rosary an extremist symbol–notice they use bullet holes for the rosary.
Catholicism is targeted bc Evil knows what has been established by God.
The rosary will still exist a thousand years from now. Unlike the Atlantic.https://t.co/ajBTdwEYGW#catholic pic.twitter.com/JqH9VrDHBe
— Fr. Alex🇻🇦 (@AlexOlszewski) August 14, 2022