Steve Bannon Moves Conservative Catholics to Embrace His “Conservatism,” to Oppose Pope Francis

“Bannon advised Salvini himself that the actual pope is a sort of enemy. He suggested for sure to attack, frontally” the pope in 2016, said The Guardian in an April 2019 report.

The conflict between Catholic Italian politician Matteo Salvini and Pope Francis is over Islamic immigration. Because many Catholics are not pleased with such immigration, they, including Salvini, have sided with Stephen K. Bannon (Steve Bannon) and his stance against immigration.

Bannon’s speech is sure to draw conservative support because he appeals for the necessity of a global Christian coalition against the evils of socialism, atheism and Islam. He said,

“We are at the very beginning stages of a global conflict. If we do not bind together as partners, with others in other countries… [then] this conflict is only going to metastasize.”

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Bannon is seeding his traditionalistic insurrection against the papacy by allying with Francis critics both within Catholicism and outside, building effectively a cross-denominational Christian traditionalist front.

By Bannon’s own admission, he knows how to openly exploit anger and resentment as a strategy to draw collaboration across conservative movements. His maneuver is working. A NBCNews report titled “Steve Bannon and U.S. ultra-conservatives take aim at Pope Francis” identified Bannon as the eminence gris somehow behind conservative Catholics openly complaining about heresies in the pope. And with a report titled “NBC report on ‘ultra-conservative’ Catholics smears Steve Bannon, anti-globalists,” LifeSiteNews, the largest Catholic pro-life website in the world, defended both Bannon and the Catholic complainants.

Bannon’s Catholic-centric, pro-family and pro-life message resonates with conservative Catholics — including Italy’s Salvini and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. With their help, he is finalizing preparations for the opening of a traditionalistic academy, in a monastery in mountains not far away from the Vatican. The Academy of the Judeo-Christian West will, Bannon claimed, serve as an incubator for nationalist leaders of the future.

The issue is that conservative Catholics see Bannon as a good Catholic trying to help the Catholic Church to be more traditionalist, even though he himself, as a Catholic, has divorced three times. Just one divorce is unacceptable for a true traditionalistic Catholic. But divorce is not his biggest problem. And the actual roots of Bannon’s traditionalism are not Catholic.

There is a book that reveals Bannon’s dark spirituality. In “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency” (Penguin Publishing Group, 2017), author Joshua Green, who personally interviewed Bannon and Trump, has argued that he has found the “secret, strange origins of Steve Bannon’s nationalist fantasia,” and the secret is that Bannon is inspired by a number of occult sources.

Green explained that when Bannon was a young man, he was “a voracious autodidact” and he:

“embarked upon what he described as ‘a systematic study of the world’s religions,’” adding, “Taking up the Roman Catholic history… he moved on to Christian mysticism and from there to Eastern metaphysics… Bannon’s reading eventually led him to the work of René Guénon, an early-twentieth-century early-twentieth-century French occultist and metaphysician who was raised a Roman Catholic, practiced Freemasonry, and later became a Sufi Muslim.”

According to Green, Bannon has a “deep interest in Christian mysticism and esoteric Hinduism” and a special “fascination with Guénon.”

Green explained that:

“Guénon developed a philosophy often referred to as ‘Traditionalism’ (capital ‘T’), a form of antimodernism with precise connotations. Guénon was a ‘primordial’ Traditionalist, a believer in the idea that certain ancient religions, including the Hindu Vedanta, Sufism, and medieval Catholicism, were repositories of common spiritual truths, revealed in the earliest age of the world, that were being wiped out by the rise of secular modernity in the West.”

Green said that:

“The antimodernist tenor of Guénon’s philosophy drew several notable followers” and “The most notorious of these was Julius Evola,” who “had struck an alliance with Benito Mussolini, and his ideas became the basis of Fascist racial theory; later… Evola’s ideas gained currency in Nazi Germany.”

According to Green,

“The common themes of the collapse of Western civilization and the loss of the transcendent in books such as Guénon’s The Crisis of the Modern World (1927) and Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World (1934) are what drew Bannon’s interest to Traditionalism (although he was also very much taken with its spiritual aspects, citing Guénon’s 1925 book, Man and His Becoming According to the Vedanta, as ‘a life-changing discovery’). Bannon… brought to Guénon’s Traditionalism a strong dose of Catholic social thought.”

So alarmed he was with the state of the Catholic Church that in 2013 Bannon began his activities in Rome and took a Vatican meeting with Cardinal Raymond Burke in an effort to prop up Catholic traditionalists marginalized by Pope Francis. Green explained Bannon’s efforts to infuse Guénon’s Traditionalism in the Catholic Church:

“Expounding on this view at a 2014 conference at the Vatican, Bannon knit together Guénon, Evola, and his own racial-religious panic to cast his beliefs in historical context.”

Bannon has sought to bring Guénon’s Traditionalism among ultra-conservative Catholics around the world. Green said,

“Wherever he could, he aligned himself with politicians and causes committed to tearing down its globalist edifice: archconservative Catholics such as Burke, Nigel Farage and UKIP, Marine Le Pen’s National Front, Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom.”

Guénon’s ideas are more successful among Catholics. Brazil, the largest Catholic nation in the world, has a legion of adherents of Guénon.

It was not only Catholics that Bannon was using. According to Green:

“In the summer of 2016, Bannon described Trump as a ‘blunt instrument for us.’”

Trump was never able to see the dark spirituality driving Bannon. How then was Trump able to escape its pitfalls? According to Green:

“Bannon’s fall from his exalted status as Trump’s top adviser wasn’t the result of a policy dispute, but the product of Trump’s annoyance that Bannon’s profile had come to rival his own. Trump grew incensed at the popular notion that Bannon was the one really running the show—that he was, as an infamous Time cover put it, ‘The Great Manipulator’… ‘You have to remember, he was not involved in my campaign until very late,’ Trump told the New York Post. ‘I’m my own strategist.’”

Besides, Trump is surrounded by many evangelical advisers who regularly pray with him. So prayer and the God of answers delivered Trump from Bannon.

Trump fired Bannon in a time that he was being called “Trump’s Rasputin.” Trump fired him in a time that even the secular press was seeing Bannon’s occultism, with a secular website publishing a very clear article titled “The Trump era is turning out to be a golden age for esoteric fascist intellectuals.”

Esoteric fascist intellectuals — this sums up adherents of Guenon influencing governments today.

Yet, what many traditionalistic Catholics are seeing in Bannon is not occultism, esotericism and Guénon. They are seeing “conservatism” and “stances against Islamic immigration.” Between Bannon and Pope Francis, they prefer Bannon. Their choice is not much different from the choices of Catholics in Nazi Germany, which was overrun by communist parties and politicians of all stripes, and the only anti-Marxist hope was nominal Catholic Adolf Hitler.

Hitler was also involved in occultism, but desperate German Catholic voters did not look at it. They looked only at his stance against Marxism.

Even though today well-meaning Catholic right-wingers have accused Nazism and fascism of being left-wing, one of the main influences in these movements was Julius Evola, the most prominent disciple of Guénon. Both Evola and Guénon were anti-Marxist. In fact, Evola was for the populist Nazi and fascist movements in the 1930s what Bannon is today for the populist movements in Europe. So it is no surprise that Bannon praised Evola and Guénon at the Vatican.

Evola was the author of right-wing handbooks, including “A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth.” He was also the author of several occult books, including “Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus.”

Nevertheless, traditionalistic Catholics who love Bannon’s anti-immigration stances are having a hard time to connect the dots. And Guenonian traditionalists, including Bannon, are exploiting this Catholic weakness. Perhaps Francis, who is not seeing the peril of Islamic immigration, is seeing the peril of Bannonian populism, because he said that “growing populism in Europe could lead to the election of leaders like Hitler.” If populism did it through Evola in the 1930s, why not today through revolutionaries who praise Evola and his master Guénon?

In turn, Bannon is capitalizing on the sex scandals in the Catholic Church and using them against Francis by alleging that Francis has mismanaged numerous sex abuse scandals and by saying the pope is not treating the issue seriously enough. Such speech is enough to draw traditionalistic Catholics to Bannon’s camp. It is working.

Conservative Catholics as Cardinal Raymond Burke have joined Bannon. Burke and Bannon reportedly met at the Vatican in 2014 in the same conference where Bannon openly praised esoteric fascists Evola and Guénon.

Now Burke and Bannon are together working in a controversial project in Italy to restore a Carthusian monastery and to make it the center of a political and cultural movement in Europe. The monastery is the headquarters of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (Institute for Human Dignity), headed by Benjamin Harnwell.

In January 2017, Bannon became a patron of the institute, whose honorary president is Cardinal Burke.

Burke is president of the Institute’s board of advisers. Other Catholics are also board members, including Dom Eugenio Romagnuolo O.Cist., Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, Mgr. Roberto de Odorico and Abbot Eugenio Romagnuolo.

In 1947, the monastery’s prior was shot dead in his frescoed chambers. An investigation led to the monastery being disbanded and the monks scattered to the four corners of Italy. “The official reason is finance but maybe [it was] a homosexual thing,” said Bannon.

So the monastery that had a suspicious end will have a suspicious rebirth, with Catholic leaders willing to do everything, including alliance with occultists, to oppose Francis.

Bannon’s increased engagement with the Institute demonstrates how his involvement in Europe extends beyond electoral politics to an effort to build a populist faction inside the Catholic Church. According to Harnwell, Bannon is helping to draw up the coursework for a training program for conservative Catholic political activists and leaders.

One of the trustees of the Institute for Human Dignity is an outspoken critic of Pope Francis, Austin Ruse, who’s also one of the main leaders of the World Congress of Families and director of the Catholic Center for Family and Human Rights.

I cannot understand how Ruse, who has a great pro-life work, is financially involved in the support of a Bannon’s initiative. Years ago he questioned Scott Lively, who is a Pentecostal minister, and his pro-family activism, by saying that he was an invention. Aren’t Bannon, his “The Movement” and the Institute for Human Dignity also an invention to draw and fool good conservative Catholics? How can Ruse “see insightfully” problems in Lively but no problem in Bannon?

While some refurbishment is needed in the monastery, the academy of the Institute for Human Dignity will be ready for the first classes in the next months.

According to Bannon, one of the professors of the faculty will be Olavo de Carvalho, a Brazilian writer who has extensively propagandized that the Inquisition was a fiction invented by Protestants. Like Bannon, Carvalho was also, during decades, influenced by the writings of Guénon, who is his main anti-Marxist base. During the 1970s and 1980s, he worked as a professional astrologer. He was also a Muslim, having received from Saudi Arabia an award for a biography of Mohammed he wrote. His history is basically occult.

Like Bannon, Carvalho is also having huge penetration among Catholics — in Brazil. Carvalho, who is considered the Rasputin of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, has also propagandized extensively, and has indoctrinated his adherents to propagandize extensively, that he was the main figure behind Bolsonaro’s victory.

Carvalho’s propaganda that the Inquisition was a Protestant fiction is contested by voluminous historical facts, including from Jewish historians. But it has huge appeal among traditionalistic Catholics. Even LifeSiteNews has already published articles defending the Inquisition, which was refuted by me, because a pro-Inquisition message is deeply troubling and antagonistic to a real pro-life message. If LifeSiteNews defended Bannon for the sake of traditionalism, what would hinder it from defending Carvalho for the sake of the Inquisition?

Carvalho’s self-propaganda that he was the man responsible for Bolsonaro’s victory is contested by Benjamin Harnwel, who said:

“Evangelicals helped elect Bolsonaro president of Brazil. After announcing the result of the first round, the first statement given by the then PSL presidential candidate was to thank evangelical leaders.”

Interestingly, Harnwell, who said that Bannon is the patron of his institute, recognizes that evangelicals were vital for Bolsonaro and that in his first statement after the first round, when he was in extreme need of their votes, Bolsonaro thanked them. But Harnwell did not mention that immediately after the second round, when Bolsonaro’s victory was confirmed and he no longer needed to depend on evangelicals, in his first statement he did not thank any evangelical leader. He thanked specifically an adherent of Guénon — Olavo de Carvalho.

Strangely, in a March interview with Pat Robertson’s CBN, Bolsonaro said that his victory was thanks to evangelicals. Yet, in practice, he has appointed devotees of Carvalho for his administration. The current Brazil’s Foreign Minister introduces himself as a Catholic conservative, but he is an open devotee of Carvalho, Guénon and Evola.

Trump could see Guenonian Bannon (the American Evola) as an opportunist but Bolsonaro is unable to see Guenonian Carvalho (the Brazilian Evola) as an opportunist. Or perhaps Bolsonaro is using some opportunism too. In its report titled “Brazil’s Bolsonaro denies ties to strategist Steve Bannon” last October, the Associated Press said:

“Far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday his campaign has no ties to former White House strategist Steve Bannon.”

But it seems that Bolsonaro has not been transparent with his voters. Bannon’s partner Mischael Modrikamen said to the Brazilian magazine Crusoe in May 2019:

“During the campaign of Jair Bolsonaro, Steve Bannon gave advice to his team.”

Why did Bolsonaro deny and hide his real connections with Bannon during his campaign? What is obvious is that Bolsonaro is hiding Bannon’s activity in Brazil. I, as millions of Bolsonaro’s evangelical voters, have not been told the truth by Bolsonaro. And as an evangelical I have concerns about the American Evola and his esoteric fascism.

The real issue is: Did Bannon and Carvalho help elect Bolsonaro?

Writing for the Oxford University Press, author Mark Sedgwick said about Trump and Bolsonaro:

Some point to similarities in the electorates that helped both presidents into office. Famously, 81% of white US evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and it has also been argued that Jair Bolsonaro owes his presidency to Brazilian evangelical voters. Evangelicals are an ever more important group in Brazil, where the Catholic Church continues to hemorrhage members.

Bolsonaro, in contrast, came to power without help from Carvalho…

Although Bannon’s and Carvalho’s roles differ somewhat, it is not wrong to call Carvalho “Brazil’s Bannon.”

So are Brazilian evangelicals being fooled by a Bolsonaro fooled by two Evolas to make Guenonian traditionalism great again? They have been fooled, but not massively, because there are some evangelical voices crying in the wilderness. In contrast, Catholics have been fooled massively by the traditionalistic message of the Brazilian Evola.

Two Evolas, Bannon and Carvalho, have transformed Brazil, through the Bolsonaro administration, in a big revolutionary laboratory by hijacking Catholic conservative movements and by exploiting political victory at the expense of evangelical voters.

In spite of the fact that today Carvalho, with Bolsonaro’s propaganda, portrays himself as the decisive force in Bolsonaro’s victory, Benjamin Harnwell himself said about bringing evangelicals to his Guenonian movement exactly because even he, who is directly connected to Bannon, knows that evangelicals, not Carvalho, were such decisive force. He said:

“The alliance with evangelicals may be the answer we seek… I would be very happy to be able to work closely with evangelicals… See, for example, it’s the evangelicals that are supporting the Trump administration, it’s evangelicals who are against abortion in Brazil… Catholicism has left the battlefield.”

Carvalho has made some efforts to use and exploit some low-profile Brazilian evangelicals, but televangelist Silas Malafaia, the most prominent evangelical leader in Brazil, has called him an astrologer recently.

Yet, different from Bannon, who has had no support from Trump, but only derision, Carvalho has enjoyed unparalleled support from Bolsonaro, who is mesmerized by the new Rasputin, just as the original Rasputin enjoyed unparalleled support from the mesmerized Russian Tsar. Recently, a Brazilian government minister, who is an adherent of Carvalho, compared Bolsonaro with Jesus Christ after Bolsonaro gave Carvalho the highest award of the Brazilian government.

Taking advantage of his close relationship to Bolsonaro, Carvalho has publicly called on Brazil’s Federal Police to investigate me on the grounds that my denunciations against him involving the Inquisition and occultism are collusions paid by the Russian government that threaten Brazil’s national security.

In this sense, I am a big fan of Trump, who called “the American Olavo de Carvalho” (Steve Bannon) an opportunist. Living as a self-exiled Brazilian immigrant in the U.S. for over 13 years, Carvalho portrays himself as a victim while he uses his refuge in the U.S. to revile, attack and threaten his real victims. I am one of his victims. Isn’t this opportunism?

Because of his influence on Bolsonaro, Carvalho, who is with Bannon, managed to convince Bolsonaro to make Bannon his especial guest in a dinner at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington in March. So in this special dinner, Bannon was at one side of Bolsonaro and Carvalho at other, to show to everybody how powerful these two Evolas are for him and his administration.

Even though living in the U.S. for years, Carvalho is not known in major American conservative circles. But his adherents are working hard to propagandize his personality cult in the U.S. The Acton Institute, of Fr. Robert Sirico, has published some three articles praising Carvalho. The articles were authored by a Brazilian adherent of Carvalho.

The Acton Institute and Robert Sirico are very traditionalistic Catholics. The penetration of both Bannon and Carvalho among traditionalistic Catholics shows how Guenonian traditionalism has a formidable appeal to traditionalistic Catholics. In fact, Bannon has also promised to propagandize Carvalho and his ideas in the U.S.

With Bannon and Carvalho at the Institute for Human Dignity, future Catholic leaders will be indoctrinated and formed in the Guenonian traditionalism, just as Julius Evola (the Bannon or the Carvalho of the 1930s) indoctrinated Nazis and fascists in the Guenonian traditionalism.

With the exception of Pope Francis, who has rightly said that this populism (Guenonian traditionalism) will lead to a new Hitler, few traditionalistic Catholics care about occult influences on Bannon or Carvalho. In a recent report of Robert Moynihan, who discusses issues inside the Vatican, he addressed the Institute for Human Dignity, the monastery and Bannon. There were three groups of Catholics answering:

(1) Catholics supportive of the initiative.

(2) Catholics deeply skeptical about or opposed to the initiative.

(3) Catholics who see Bannon’s efforts as attempts to restore the Catholic faith in an increasingly secularized, post-Christian Europe.

In the second group, Catholics deeply skeptical about or opposed used my articles to question Bannon’s and Carvalho’s connections to Guénon. They saw Bannon’s initiative as occult.

I am glad to help Catholics identify occult roots in allegedly “conservative” movements. Since the 1980s, I had contact with Fr. Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International (HLI), which was the largest Catholic pro-life organization in the world. Besides its main pro-life mission, HLI also distributed books against New Age, including evangelical books. I have these books even today and I can testify how serious Fr. Marx was against New Age.

Bannon’s and Carvalho’s Guenonian traditionalism is basically New Age “conservatism.” It is just the other side of the same occult coin. If he were alive today, Fr. Marx could probably identify it easily.

Expelled and derided by Trump as an opportunist, Bannon will likely never again be accepted among conservative Republicans in the U.S., but has instead become an eminence gris in Catholic movements inside and outside the Catholic Church. Nigel Farage, Brexit leader who has been flattered by Bannon, isn’t shy about paying Bannon back: He’s called him the “greatest political thinker and activist in the Western world today.”

Bannon has also flattered other conservative movements in Europe to receive from them equal flattery. All the European conservatives bewitched by Bannon are not impressed by any of his credentials, which are never shown. The only credential used to draw European conservatives is that he was “Trump’s strategist.” So even though Bannon did not help him, by Trump’s admission, to win the U.S. election, Trump’s fame is helping Bannon in his Guenonian revolution.

His “The Movement” has been popular among Catholics in Europe. Its official representative for Latin America is Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of the Brazilian president.

How does Bannon intend to widen “The Movement”? One way is Bannon’s establishment of what he terms the “Academy for the Judeo-Christian West” in the monastery he intends to repurpose as a “gladiator school for culture warriors.”

Behind the pompous Christian title, there are occult intents.

In a report about Bannon, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that U.S. evangelicals are pouring millions of dollars into European right-wing religious groups connected to Bannon. U.S. evangelicals should investigate it because millions of dollars should be invested in good evangelical causes, not in occult causes.

Why fund occult causes with evangelical money if there are good evangelicals causes lacking financial support? I myself, with seven children, am in dire need of such support. Scott Lively, Peter LaBarbera and Mike Heath are other evangelicals who deserve massive financial support.

Haaretz said:

“The trans-Atlantic movement Bannon now represents, no matter how awkwardly or how much as a result of his own PR, dovetails globally with other right-wing populists, especially those who benefit from crucial support from right-wing evangelicals.”

U.S. evangelicals should as soon as possible investigate how U.S. evangelical money is being canalized to Bannon’s contacts involved in the Guenonian revolution.

Haaretz also noted:

“Bannon is a mass of contradictions, a self-marketeer supreme and narcissist whose grandiose visions are often mirages or spin.”

Is this a Guenonian characteristic? Because by describing Bannon, Haaretz also unknowingly described Olavo de Carvalho, who is as narcissist as Bannon is.

Haaretz added:

“To credit Bannon alone with the incremental successes of the European far right’s political and religious crusade would be internalizing his own narrative as the continent’s great savior…”

Again, Haaretz also unknowingly described Carvalho, who knows the Guenonian tricks. He repeats so many times to himself and his adherents, making them to repeat it to themselves and others, that he saved Brazil that they eventually internalize such narrative.

When even the Brazilian president and his sons have internalized such narrative, the problem is not small. It is massive.

Thank God, Trump did not internalize Bannon’s Guenonian narrative.

Bannon has steadily been building opposition to Pope Francis through his Institute for Human Dignity. But what conservative Catholics, including Raymond Burke and Austin Ruse, are not seeing is that Bannon’s victory will not be a true Catholic conservative victory. It will be the same kind of “victory” the Bannon or the Carvalho of the 1930s (Julius Evola) was able to get by inspiring and influencing the advancement of fascism and Nazism.

After Evola, this is the first time devotees of Guénon exploit populist causes to influence governments. With Evola’s example, both Bannon and Carvalho have become eminences gris in governments.

By capitalizing on the people’s fear of Marxism, Evola sabotaged true conservatism. In similar way, Bannon’s movement sabotages true conservatism and Christianity, which does not tolerate occultism, whether in its form of left-wing or right-wing political activism. True conservative Christians have a responsibility to sabotage the saboteur’s occult maneuver against them.

There are cases when a remedy is worse than a disease. Even though Bannon’s “conservatism” has been presented as the “remedy” against pope’s socialism, it is not a remedy at all. It is as evil, harmful and deadly as Marxism is, because occultism, even in its form of political activism, is no remedy. It is another deadly disease.

If conservative Christians are unable to identify and confront the wave of devotees of Guénon and their traditionalism influencing populist movements and governments in Europe and Brazil and encourage presidents to get rid of them, just as Trump did to Bannon, our era is going to turn out to be actually a golden age for esoteric fascist intellectuals.

With information from The Intercept, NBC News, Robert Moynihan Report, Haaretz, The Guardian and Financial Times.

Portuguese version of this article: Steve Bannon move católicos conservadores para abraçar seu “conservadorismo” para se opor ao Papa Francisco

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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