2016-12-31 11:06:13 UTC
A week after Stephen K. Bannon helped engineer the populist revolt
that led to Donald J. Trumps election, Buzzfeed unearthed a recording
of him speaking to a Vatican conference of conservative Catholics in
In his presentation, Mr. Bannon, then the head of the hard-right
website Breitbart News and now Mr. Trumps chief strategist, called on
the church militant to fight a global war against a new barbarity
of Islamic fascism and international financial elites, with 2,500
years of Western civilization at risk.
While most listeners probably overlooked the term church militant,
knowledgeable Catholics would have recognized it as a concept deeply
embedded in the churchs teaching. Moreover, they would have noticed
that Mr. Bannon had taken the term out of context, invoking it in a
call for cultural and military conflict rather than for spiritual
warfare, particularly within ones soul, its longstanding connotation.
To fully grasp what church militant means in this highly politicized
atmosphere, it helps to examine the broader movement and the role of a
traditionalist Catholic website called to no surprise
The sites right-wing stances against globalism, immigration,
social-welfare programs and abortion, as well as its depiction of an
existential war against radical Islam, mesh with many of the positions
espoused by Mr. Trump and his inner circle. (Mr. Bannon did not
respond to questions submitted to the Trump transition office.)
Michael Voris, the senior executive producer of ChurchMilitant.com,
said the websites positions were a righteous defense of patriotism
and morality on behalf of people who believe those virtues have been
attacked by liberals, secularists and global elites.
This is breaking down into forces that believe in God and those that
dont, he said, adding, Largely, I would say this is a war of
religion versus nonreligion.
For some Catholic scholars and anti-hate advocates, the emergence of
Church Militant theology in a politicized and highly partisan way is