Way off Center: The Southern Poverty Law Center on St. Benedict Center

Well, by the grace of God, we must be doing something right. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published an article on Saint Benedict Center in the Summer issue of their Intelligence Report. It turns out they don’t like us.

Yes, the liberal organization — which impugns our stance on “divorce, abortion, birth control, pornography, [and] sodomy” — has given us a sound thrashing. You see, to have strong views against such things makes us a “hate group” to their way of thinking. This, from an organization which calls conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan a “white nationalist” guilty of “selling racism.” Further, those who call for stronger control of immigration are tied in with “white supremacist” causes and “anti-immigration extremists” (even Alan Keyes?). But Christian men aren’t the only source of evil, for the Concerned Women for America, are in SPLC’s sights for their pro-family agenda, and David Horowitz advances “efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable.” You movie buffs will be surprised to learn that Gods and Generals is racist historical revisionism and that The Lord of the Rings advances the cause of “the White Patriarchy” (because its heroes are “manly men who are whiter than white”). And lastly, to utter the unholy name of perhaps the most nefarious goose-steppers of all, the Michigan State University Young Americans for Freedom, like us, were designated a “hate group.”

One may wonder why we don’t simply ignore this organization. The main reason is that they are very well endowed financially and therefore have the money to make their claims stick. Further, they have stirred up a bit of trouble for us locally.

We have published a refutation of the article’s claims: “The Trouble in Paradise is Trouble with the Truth.” Here, we present a summary of its inaccuracies. Included in the SPLC’s fictitious portrayal of our religious community are the following:

  • A layman who comes to our chapel was accused of making the despicable statement that “Jews should be dealt with using ‘blood and terror if it’s required.’” This is false. The man said no such thing.

  • “Rumors” that “SBC members have rifles equipped with night vision scopes” and that automatic weapons are fired at our monastery “on a regular basis.” are reported. These rumors, unverified by the journalist, are false.

  • The claim is made that our religious community is “training in martial arts and weapons.” The unsubstantiated claim is false.

  • The article states: “Some [residents] even fear that the Slaves really intend to draw children away from public schools in favor of their own, possibly crippling secular public schools by de-funding them in the process.” The fear is groundless and nothing is offered to prove it.

  • One individual is cited claiming that “she feels that the SBC has begun to threaten her formerly idyllic way of life. At issue are both the beliefs and the practices of the SBC…. ” The implication is false. SBC has never threatened this person in any way.

  • We were accused of trying to pressure non-SBC-affiliated residents out of town: “The [SBC’s] goal was to have people get wind of this expansion and then move out.” Not a single shred of proof offered to support this statement. It is a suspicion, and a false one at that.

  • The article accuses us of “anti-Semitism,” which one SPLC spokesperson defined as “hating Jews.” The charge is false. Why do we bemoan the lack of serious effort to convert Jews to the Catholic Faith if we “hate” them? Among those Father Feeney was instrumental in bringing into the Catholic Church were over a dozen Jewish converts.

  • The article states: “Increasingly, folks here are objecting to the SBC’s desire to outlaw divorce, abortion, birth control, pornography, sodomy, public education and even, some fear, government in general.” The notion that we “desire to outlaw government in general is false, silly, and, not surprisingly, unproven.

  • The article employs colorful words to portray us in a fanatical light. We are called “radical,” and “angry.” We “hotly denied” accusations against us in the press. Further, we employ “extremist rhetoric” and live in a “compound.” Such inflated rhetoric does not advance the cause of truth, but only bolsters the article’s false assertions.

  • The article cited “concerns” about “the potability of wells on the SBC property. ” The “concerns” are baseless. Our drinking-water wells comply with the stringent standards of the NH DES , which monitors our systems through periodic testing.

When one advances the cause of the conversion of America to the Catholic Faith and the restoration of Catholic orthodoxy, he is asking for trouble. Groups like the SPLC are there to deliver.

That’s OK. We win in the final reel. “In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

For a longer refutation of the SPLC’s recent article, see “The Trouble in Paradise is Trouble with the Truth.”


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Good News! The Gospel is “For All.”

We recommend this Q&A with Archbishop Angelo Amato, the secretary of the CDF:

Q: Your Excellency, there are those who accuse the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of being anti-conciliar, because it offers full citizenship to a missal in which there is a prayer for the conversion of the Jews. Is it truly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Council to formulate this prayer?

A: Certainly not. In the Mass, we Catholics pray always and in the first place for our conversion. And we strike our breasts for our sins. And then we pray for the conversion of all Christians and all non-Christians. The Gospel is for all.

Q: But the objection is raised that the prayer for the conversion of the Jews was definitively surpassed by the one in which the Lord is asked to help them to progress in fidelity to his covenant.

A: Jesus himself affirms, in the Gospel of Saint Mark: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” and his first interlocutors were his Jewish confreres. We Christians can do nothing other than re-propose what Jesus taught us. In freedom and without imposition, obviously, but also without self-censorship. (our emphasis).

— As reported by Sandro Magister.