The Appeal of Catholic Sharia

News: Commentary
by John Zmirak  •  •  May 3, 2021   

The Catholic 'Integralism' movement

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Next week, with my friend Jason Jones, I'll be writing a multipart meditation on the new Catholic movement called "Integralism." I've been monitoring this movement for years. In fact, I believe I was the first public critic of the rise of "illiberal Catholicism" back in 2013. It gives me no satisfaction to see the Trojan Horse I warned of slip through the gates and the city burn.

But now what seemed like a fringe sect confined to Latin Mass coffee hours and Renaissance faires seems to be going mainstream. Popular apologist Professor Scott Hahn, long a staple of Catholic TV network EWTN, has a new book endorsing this ideology. The book is called Right and Just. Various Catholic luminaries have endorsed it, from Sohrab Ahmari of the New York Post to Bp. Joseph Strickland. Hahn just led a conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville, a leading school for faithful Catholics, promoting Integralism. We'll report about that conference and the details of Right and Just in several pieces next week.

We'll recount what this book openly claims. We'll also connect the dots to what it discreetly hints at, which radical implications it whispers the reader should draw. Here its authors ape the Muslim practice of taqiyya, or strategically misleading speech, which believers justify in the service of Islam. That seems only fitting, since Integralism is, put bluntly, Catholic sharia.

The Integralist Manifesto

Integralists disregard natural law as the only common ground that can hold a pluralist country together. Instead, its advocates offer the following deceptively simple claims. (If either Scott Hahn or his co-author Brandon McGinley wishes to disavow any of the items below, I will be delighted, and will duly report it here.)

  1. Catholicism is not only the true religion, but the only belief system even worthy to be called a "religion." All other creeds are forms of idolatry or heresy. (This appears in the very first pages of Right and Just and marks the first time I threw the book across the room — but not the last.)
  2. Government should be founded on truth, not falsehoods, ambiguities or compromises with error.
  3. Therefore, the government should be founded on Catholic principles. Where possible it should be officially Catholic.
  4. Since we don't have the God-given "right" to do what is wrong, there is no God-given freedom of religion. The government should promote Catholicism and suppress other faiths, using state coercion. This is especially true of non-Catholic Christian churches. Their members, having been validly baptized, are simply Catholics ensnared by heresy. They ought to obey their local Catholic bishops. If need be, the police should enforce the bishop's authority. Integralists differ whether bishops should have their own (Saudi-style) religious police, or if local sheriffs should be the ones to make heresy arrests.

Read the Rest at The Stream.

John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of 10 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of "God, Guns, & the Government."
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