Rosary guide

Rosary sales rise amid suggested link to Christian nationalists: report

Online retailers of rosaries reportedly saw a surge in sales after an article in Atlantic reported that sacramental beads took on a new importance for extremist Catholics and Christian nationalists.

Three online stores that sell rosaries said they all saw an increase in business after Atlantic The article sparked interest and controversy, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported on Tuesday. The report comes as Tories have openly embraced the once shunned Christian nationalist label.

write in Atlantic, Daniel Panneton has argued that rosaries have taken on a “militaristic significance” for so-called radical traditional Catholics, in the same way that the AR-15 rifle has become a “sacred object” for Christian nationalists. Panneton wrote that rosaries are now appearing on far-right social media pages and memes, often accompanied by images of guns and praying warriors.

A follower prays with rosary beads at the Pope’s Rosary for peace in Ukraine and an end to wars around the world, May 31, 2022, at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome. Pearls have become associated with far-right activity online, increasing their sales, according to a report.
Filippo MONTEFORTE/Getty Images

“On this extremist fringe, the rosaries have been woven into conspiratorial politics and an absolutist gun culture,” Panneton wrote. “These armed radical traditionalists have taken a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.”

A rosary of beads attached to a cross, rosaries are used as an aid by Catholics to guide them through a sequence of prayers.

Shannon Doty, CEO of Rugged Rosaries, said Atlantic article spurred “pretty good sales uplift” on its websites, and, according to CNA. She told the outlet “we are undeterred and in fact strengthened in our resolve to make strong, sturdy rosaries for everyone.”

Jonathan Conrad, founder of Catholic Woodworker, told CNA he had his best selling day of the month on Monday, a day after Atlantic the article was published.

Christian nationalism has sparked new interest after Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene told a conservative political convention last month that the label was “not a dirty word”.

“If we don’t live our lives and vote like we’re nationalists – caring about our country, putting our country first and wanting it to be the center of our federal government – if we don’t follow this way, then we won’t be able to fix it,” said the Georgian curator.

Critics of the ideology say it leads to violent radicalization and is incompatible with the universal teachings of Jesus.

However, other conservative political and media figures clung to the label. Political commentator Dinesh D’Souza called Christian nationalism “good and healthy”.

Far-right Christian movements were previously hostile to Catholicism. But memes portraying rosaries as weapons give ultraconservative, or “rad-trad” Catholics a ramp into the broader Christian nationalist movement, Panneton wrote.

David Carollo, executive director of World Apostolate of Fatima USA, told CNA that while sales and interest in rosaries and other religious items have increased, he called the article “downright insulting” and that he planned to write a response.

“We don’t pray against people, we pray for people,” Carollo said. “That’s what it’s about.”

Newsweek contacted Panneton for comment.