Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, OP, a Dominican priest of the Province of St. Joseph, told CNA, "The article is a long-running stream of inaccuracies, logical fallacies, and distortions."
The author, he said, fails to understand that "the notion of 'spiritual combat' has been with the Church from time immemorial. Recall that a traditional view of Confirmation is that it made one a 'soldier for Christ.'"
"The problem is that The Atlantic does not seem to understand what metaphor means. In no wise, does the notion of rosary as 'combat' imply physical violence," Pietrzyk added.
On Twitter, Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, OP, responded to the article with a photo of two white-robed friars wearing their traditional rosary beads around their waists. “ WARNING: The image below contains rosaries,” read the caption.
Novelist and essayist Walter Kirn commented that The Atlantic article itself serves as an example of “extremism.”
Eduard Habsburg, Hungary's Ambassador to the Holy See, responded by conceding the rosary is indeed a weapon — used for centuries against evil:
Catholic beliefs seen as extreme
Panneton makes it clear in his article that it’s not just about the rosary.
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In the course of his argument, he refers to Catholic beliefs as evidence of “extremism.”
He sees extreme views on masculinity in the Catholic faith. He writes: “The militarism also glorifies a warrior mentality and notions of manliness and male strength. This conflation of the masculine and the military is rooted in wider anxieties about Catholic manhood.”
“But among radical-traditional Catholic men, such concerns take an extremist turn, rooted in fantasies of violently defending one’s family and church from marauders,” he continues.
The Church’s defense of the right to life of the unborn is also evidence of ties to right-wing extremists, according to Panneton.
“The convergence within Christian nationalism is cemented in common causes such as hostility toward abortion-rights advocates,” he writes.
Pietrzyk, the Dominican priest interviewed by CNA said, "The author takes what are basic Catholic positions on the nature of the Church, Christian morality, and the like, and posit that they are somehow 'extremist.' This is classic misdirection."