• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Where were you when … July 19, 2019
      Most of us remember where we were when the Twin Towers were attacked on 9-11. For folks my age or older, we remember the Kennedy assassination. Fifty years ago, Apollo 11 roared into history as I arrived in Vietnam. I wrote about those days in my embellished autobiographical novella entitled “Gonna Stick My Sword in […] [[ This is a content summary only. Vis […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Ten Questions for Trump Supporters May 6, 2019
      If you’re a Trump supporter, here’s a quiz for you in the quiet of your own thoughts. Don’t be defensive; dare to think long and hard and ponder the questions seriously. 1)  Why did Russia want Trump to win? 2)  Why do black voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump? Hispanics? LGBTQ? Women? 3)  Why does Trump […] [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my […]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • To Whom the Future of America Belongs July 19, 2019
      I would have liked to have been out at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport earlier today to show my support for Rep. Ilhan Omar as she returned to Minnesota from Washington D.C. (left).Here's how Minnesota Public Radio's Cody Nelson reported on Omar's arrival and the recent controversy around President Trump's racist and incendiary comment […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Something Wonderful July 16, 2019
      At some point in our lives we began to pour concrete [within our hearts]. It was made of anxiety, fear, and stress. Our task is to bring down the walls of our own inner dams [made of this concrete]. We can learn to dismantle them. And we can begin by asking ourselves what kind of lives we want. Do we want to micro-manage every moment, or do we want to disman […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

    • I Refuse to Hate: People of Faith Challenge GOP Racism, or What's Wrong with the U.S. Catholic Bishops?! July 18, 2019
      Chris Morley comments on Bilgrimage,Are we supposed to notice how "robust", "emphatic", "Christian" and "loud" the USCCB response has been in opposing tRump's overt racism? Is The Onion in charge of their latest News Releases? USCCB Purchases Translation of Psalms and Canticles from Conception Abbey.Chris's c […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • "We Are Watching as a President Returns Naked Racism to the White House": Commentary July 16, 2019
      The graphic above is the lead headline on Huffington Post this morning.  My commentary about it:The faux shock of so many at pretending to discover now he's a racist: why do you imagine people flocked to the polls and voted for him? Why did more than half of white Christians put him into the White House? Stop pretending.We are watching as a majority of […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • In The Closet of the Vatican: New Investigative Study February 22, 2019
      In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy - just published today, February 22nd, 2019.Thanks to Kittredge Cheery of the wonderful gay Christian blog,  QSpirit Blog, for the heads up about the publication of this major new investigative study into the secret homosexual double lives of many priests (and bishops and cardinals) in the vatican […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
    • Wanderer by Sarah Leon: Gay Debut Novel of the Year February 11, 2019
      A very young Sarah Leon published this heat-wrenching  love story in French in 2016 when she was barely twenty years old. Three years later we are blessed to have this exquisite English translation of the work  by John Cullen, a translator of note with many books to his name. It is one of the most affecting love stories you will ever read.Wanderer has alread […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Unknown)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
      Mark Van Steenwyk
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Handmaid's Tale: refugee July 21, 2019
      I'm still watching The Handmaid's Tale, and I recommend it to anyone interested. It's hard to watch because it's so grim, but it's very good. I was especially struck by a scene in the episode I watched tonight.After a civil war here in the US in which the religious conservatives won, women are treated horribly .... not just them but […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)
  • Advertisements

Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?

In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to economics, displays no interest in actual Catholic teachings on economics. Perhaps that his because his position is at odds with that of Pope Francis, and as recent news reports suggest, he may also have joined forces with Vatican opponents of the Pope’s emphasis on refugees, tolerance and spiritually.

On February 7, 2017 The New York Times published an article that suggests “Steve Bannon Carries Battles to Another Influential Hub: The Vatican.” The story outlined how Bannon appears to be now engaging in a Fifth Column action within the Vatican in support of ultra-traditionalist forces who are unhappy with the Pope’s social justice message. These forces take issue with Francis’s more tolerant tone towards Syrian refugees, his call for economic fairness and his pro-environmental stances, particularly when it comes to climate change.

This reactionary “Shadow Church” features some familiar names. First and foremost is the former Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri, Cardinal Raymond Burke. And there is strong circumstantial evidence that the shadow church may include The Dignitatis Humanae Institute (Institute for Human Dignity); a Catholic lay organization led by Benjamin Harnwell, whom The Times describes as “a confidant of Cardinal Burke.” Indeed, it was Harnwell who introduced Bannon to Burke.

The Times reported that Harnwell invited Bannon to speak before the Institute’s summer 2014 conference on poverty. Bannon, then-the editor of Breitbart News (not long before he joined the Trump presidential campaign), used the occasion to launch into a rallying call to culture war replete with broad allusions to what he believed is a coming clash of civilizations between the Christian West and Islam:

And we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.

Cardinal Burke is also on the record stating his belief that Christianity and Islam are incompatible.

I think that in order to understand what may going on here we need to be aware of the idea of Fourth Generational Warfare (4GW for short). It is a term and a set of ideas that are likely to start getting more attention. What may look like a reign of confusion emanating from Bannon’s perch in the White House is more likely a well-thought-out strategy. You might say there may be a method to the madness — designed to “overwhelm, disorient and disrupt” progressives, moderates and even some centrist conservatives. The more confusion that is sown, the better.

And it is not too difficult to understand why Pope Francis would be a target . It is all-too-common for Catholics such as Bannon who have no true grasp of Catholic social justice teachings to confuse Marxism with the Church’s economic teachings. As sociologist Dr. James Scaminaci noted:

A sub-component of 4GW is William Lind’s conspiracy theory of the internal war for supremacy between what he called “cultural Marxists” and their ideology of “Political Correctness” or “multiculturalism” and the “traditional American culture” or “Judeo-Christian culture.” Lind argued that “cultural Marxists” hate America’s “Judeo-Christian culture” and were seeking to destroy it. The losers were to be rich, white, conservative, Christian, heterosexual men.

Nevertheless, some have pooh-poohed the idea of a possible “rad-trad” alliance against Pope Francis. However, as one article from NPR has pointed out, Breitbart News has made it quite clear where they come down in the battle between Pope Francis and the clique of radical traditionalists:

A year ago, Francis criticized candidate Donald Trump for wanting to build a wall along the border with Mexico, saying, “A person who thinks only about building walls … and not building bridges is not Christian.”

But that’s not Bannon’s worldview. While most Breitbart reports on the pope have been neutral, headlines about the pope when Bannon was in charge included:

▪ “Seven Ways Pope Francis Slapped Conservatives in the United States”

▪ “A Vatican Expert: Pope Francis a ‘Friend of Islam'”

▪ “Pope Francis Slams Capitalism, Death Penalty, Immigration Law; No Real Mention of Abortion, Gay Marriage”

▪ “Pope Francis Threatens Legacy of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan”

Perhaps Charles Pierce put it best. Writing in Esquire :

This isn’t just a matter of the cafeteria having a few new and unfamiliar faces in the buffet line. This is dragging elements of the Church into alliances with white supremacists all over the world, lining up parts of the Church with the likes of Marine Le Pen in France. This is entering into an alliance with forces so completely contrary to the Church’s stated mission that they might as well give Cardinal Burke an army and let him march against the Languedoc.

It may well turn out that Bannon is less of a racist at all — but something worse; a political opportunist. The presidential advisor is playing a dangerous game using previously marginalized political movements in order to advance his own agenda — with possibly unintended but entirely foreseeable consequences.

Advertisements

3 Responses

  1. From The Washington Post:

    This Vatican operation, called Dignitatis Humanae, or the Institute for Human Dignity, whose advisory board includes two of the four cardinals openly challenging Francis on marriage and sexuality, is slavishly promoting Burke’s favorite American white Catholic nationalist, Bannon, with star billing on its home page. The institute’s top office-bearers, Burke and his henchman, the media-savvy Breitbart contributor Benjamin Harnwell, are also encouraging Benito Mussolini fan Matteo Salvini, of Italy’s Northern League, and Muslim-baiting far-right Catholic poster girl Marion Le Pen, the National Front “rising star” niece of party leader Marine Le Pen in France.
    As the Italian press first revealed, Burke held a long meeting last week at his Vatican home with Salvini, a fierce critic of the pope who wants to push refugees back into the sea and close all mosques in Italy. It was a flagrant political intervention on the side of the extreme-right racist grouping ahead of the Italian elections. Mysterious posters also appeared around the Vatican decrying a sinister-looking pope’s “decapitation” of the Malta Knights order.

  2. As I noted with facts in the previous blog, “Cardinal Burke Frenzy – Another Failure of the U.S. Media,” both the Times and WaPo articles were incorrect on the almost all their assertions.

    It is Pope Francis who has been seeking reconciliation with the anti-Semitic Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) since 2014. (The society has been considered “schismatic” since 1988.) The SSPX “has fully embraced the far-right politics” of Marine LePen et al.

    http://www.lastampa.it/2017/01/30/vaticaninsider/eng/the-vatican/fraternity-of-st-pius-x-ever-closer-to-reconciliation-xY7GVwCDVyST373inFczcP/pagina.html
    http://www.lastampa.it/2016/07/28/vaticaninsider/eng/inquiries-and-interviews/society-of-st-pius-x-sspx-what-is-and-what-is-not-negotiable-for-reconciliation-with-the-catholic-church-6tOUfZuU1Bu4pjePd4KhWI/pagina.html
    http://www.dailystormer.com/traditional-catholicism-is-pro-fascism-jew-wise-and-perfect-for-white-nationalists/

  3. Actually Betty, I think you are dead wrong. And when you consider what Bannon is all about that just strengthens my case.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: