The Atlantic on Monday reported on a recent trend on social media accounts belonging to radical-traditional, or "rad-trad," Catholics, in which rosaries are displayed alongside images of firearms and messages urging men to join religious militant groups.
Among the posts observed by the Atlantic are "illustrations of his favorite Catholic saints, clergy, and influencers toting AR-15-style rifles labeled sanctum rosarium alongside violently homophobic screeds that are celebrated by social-media accounts with thousands of followers."
"In mainstream Catholicism, the rosary-as-weapon is not an intrinsically harmful interpretation of the sacramental," the magazine noted, adding, however, these social media posts act as a "diffusion of such messaging" that helps "to integrate ultraconservative Catholicism with other aspects of online far-right culture."
According to the Atlantic, "militia culture, a fetishism of Western civilization, and masculinist anxieties have become mainstays of the far right in the U.S. — and rad-trad Catholics have now taken up residence in this company."
Many social media accounts belonging to radical-traditional Catholics feature memes depicting armed gunmen wearing balaclavas, information on tactical training, and some online stores offer rosaries made of bullet cartridge casings. In addition, the Atlantic reports that "Rad-trad networks are also involved in organizing rosary-branded events that involve weapons training."
Conservative outlets have criticized the Atlantic's reporting on the issue. The National Review released an article titled, "The Atlantic: Rosaries Are Worse Than Firebombings," and Fox News co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy claimed, "Christianity and faith in general is under attack" in response to the article.
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