Jesuits Make Stuff Up

So you thought the evil Steve Bannon was objectionable for his ties to rad-trad Roman Catholics:

Before becoming White House chief strategist, Bannon — who is Catholic — was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, which he called a “platform for the alt-right.” That’s a movement associated with white nationalism.

During a visit to Rome a few years ago, Bannon struck up a friendship with the American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a traditionalist who has emerged as one of Pope Francis’ most vocal critics.

Bannon hired Thomas Williams, an American former priest, as Breitbart’s Rome correspondent. Williams belonged to the conservative Legion of Christ, which was roiled by scandal when it was revealed its founder had been a pedophile.

Well, silly you. Turns out according to the Argentinian edition (thanks to Rorate Caeli) of La Civiltà Cattolica, “the journal considered the official voice of the Vatican, and its diplomatic department (the Secretariat of State)” — wait, the Vatican is still doing state craft? — that Bannon is really an intellectual descendant of Protestant fundamentalism:

Pastor Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001) is the father of so-called “Christian reconstructionism” (or “dominionist theology”) that had a great influence on the theopolitical vision of Christian fundamentalism. This is the doctrine that feeds political organizations and networks such as the Council for National Policy and the thoughts of their exponents such as Steve Bannon, currently chief strategist at the White House and supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics.

“The first thing we have to do is give a voice to our Churches,” some say. The real meaning of this type of expression is the desire for some influence in the political and parliamentary sphere and in the juridical and educational areas so that public norms can be subjected to religious morals.

Rushdoony’s doctrine maintains a theocratic necessity: submit the state to the Bible with a logic that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism. At heart, the narrative of terror shapes the world-views of jihadists and the new crusaders and is imbibed from wells that are not too far apart. We must not forget that the theopolitics spread by Isis is based on the same cult of an apocalypse that needs to be brought about as soon as possible. So, it is not just accidental that George W. Bush was seen as a “great crusader” by Osama bin Laden.

That’s one way to gain favorable ratings with the editors of the New York Times and Washington Post. But it sure seems a stretch. Is this what has become of the Great Roman Catholic intellectual tradition? Maybe only Pretty Good?

2 thoughts on “Jesuits Make Stuff Up

  1. First time I’ve ever seen somebody make a connection between Bannon and Rushdoony. To say that Christian Reconstruction and ISIS are basically the same thing is a bit absurd. Last time I checked, it wasn’t theonomists blowing themselves up and crashing trucks into crowds of people. Rushdoony was always more about applying God’s Law to your own life and family. While he believed God’s Law should rule society, he never advocated a violent overthrow of the government like ISIS does.


  2. Euros lament ugly and ignorant Americans, but I have to say that my encounters with critical Europeans have led me to conclude they rival us on those scores. Spadaro’s piece reminded me of the assaine comments about GWB a bunch of high school students confidently scolded American Me with on a train through Belgium. Add his Jesuit training to his continental origins and you can pretty much predict he’ll miss as much as he gets right. I mean, anyone who is going to swing an axe at present-day theonomic ghosts and go for… Rushdoony?!! He’s a more dated than Scott Hahn, for peter’s sake. I wonder if the Vatican thinks its ecumenical difficulties could be solved by addressing the legacy of Jack Chick? The whole thing makes Austin Ivereigh’s spin look from an Obama press secretary.


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