The Atlantic reported Monday on a recent trend on social media accounts owned by radical-traditional, or “rad-trad” Catholics, in which rosaries are posted alongside images of guns and messages urging men to join militant religious groups.
Among the posts observed by the Atlantic are “illustrations of his favorite Catholic saints, clergy and influencers carrying AR-15 style rifles labeled sanctum rosarium alongside violently homophobic screeds that are celebrated by media accounts social media with thousands of followers”.
“In traditional Catholicism, the rosary as a weapon is not an inherently harmful interpretation of the sacramental,” the magazine noted, adding, however, that these social media posts act as a “dissemination of such messages” that help “to integrate ultra-conservative Catholicism along with other aspects of far-right culture online.”
According to the Atlantic, “militia culture, a fetish of Western civilization, and masculinist anxieties have become mainstays of the far-right in the United States — and rad-trad Catholics have now taken up residence in that society.” .
Many social media accounts owned by radical-mainstream Catholics feature memes depicting gunmen wearing balaclavas, information about tactical training, and some online stores offer rosaries made from bullet casings. Additionally, the Atlantic reports that “Rad-trad networks are also involved in hosting Rosary-branded events that involve weapons training.”
Conservative media criticized the Atlantic’s reporting on the issue. The National Review ran an article titled “The Atlantic: Rosaries Are Worse Than Firebombings,” and Fox News co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy claimed that “Christianity and faith in general are under attack” in response to the ‘article.
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