The Catholic opposition to the Alt-Right is every bit as feckless and dishonest as one would tend to expect from a fully converged institution:
Christopher Hale, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, argued that along with denouncing the extremism and bigotry central to white nationalism and the alt-right there should also be an effort to engage with people drawn to this movement. “We need to understand better as Catholics how did Steve Bannon and the alt-right come to be?” he said.
But keynote speaker Michael Sean Winters, a fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, highlighted the challenges of that approach. “The main difficulty in engaging the alt-right as if it were just another political movement is found precisely in its anti-democratic stance,” said Winters, also a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. “Normally, when we as Catholics engage those with whom we disagree, both sides accept democratic norms to shape that engagement. The alt-right derides democracy and openly states its desire to undermine democracy.” Winters added:
Engage, but do so warily, and only when repeatedly noting the fact that the positions the alt-right espouses are not just wrong, but contemptuous of the means by which a liberal democracy sorts out the complexities of public policy, means that we value and celebrate, and which we accord to these provocateurs even if they wish not to accord them to anyone else. Winters pointed to the church’s intellectual and moral traditions as resources to contest the resurgence of white nationalism. “It is often joked that Catholic social doctrine is the ‘best kept secret’ in the Catholic church,” he said. “Let it be secret no more. The most sophisticated response to both these alt-right haters, and to the ever-present difficulties of democracy, is found in that doctrine. I often say and shall say again: There is no problem facing the political life of this country that is not leavened by an encounter with Catholic social doctrine.”
There is no panacea to eradicate the diseases of white nationalism and Islamophobia. The church’s manifold capacities—theological, pastoral and prophetic—will be required at different places and times. Catholics don’t all need to speak with the same voice or use the same tone. But the message should be unambiguous and urgent. The alt-right movement is built on an edifice of racism, social sin, and exclusion that must never be tolerated.
The idea that Catholics are great defenders of democracy and the will of the people is a lie worthy of Goebbels. It is a big lie; not only is it historically false, but it is categorically and observably false. Just yesterday, Mr. Bergoglio was reported to have come out against populism, which is nothing more than “the will of the people”, which is a truer form of democracy than the sham “democratic norms” that proscribe the will of an unelected, anti-democratic elite using ancient rituals and rhetoric as cover.
Note the appeal to “Catholic social doctrine”, which has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible.
We are, of course, contemptuous of them, as we are contemptuous of all liars. If the Catholic Church sets itself against the truth, it will be destroyed for its faithlessness. Now, granted, neither these wormtongues nor the current Pope speak legitimately for all Catholics, they are merely converged pseudo-priests attempting to lead the faithful astray.
They will not engage with us, even warily, because they know we will expose their falsehoods and false teachings. “Social sin” is no more sin than “social justice” is justice. We don’t ask these wormtongues to tolerate us, we merely observe that they have no place in the Christian civilization they are attempting to destroy.