Like something out of a Bond villain’s backstory, Steve Bannon has won a bid to take over an Italian monastery in the mountains of Italy built by Pope Innocent III in 1204. He plans to turn it into an academy to defend Christendom and Western culture. The sprawling castle encompasses several buildings, with hundreds of rooms, a guest house built into a rock, and a library with 36,000 volumes. Nicholas Farrell of the Spectator visited it and came away feeling he had been in a storybook. “[I]t made me think of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter books,” he wrote. YouTube tours of the place confirm that description, down to an apothecary complete with tinctures of mandrake. One almost expects to see Professor Flitwick dashing through the halls levitating feathers.
Bannon, a Catholic, has been openly vocal about his disappointment in Pope Francis. Bannon is quoted in the Spectator giving the pope some direct advice:
His greatest failings outside the spiritual and theological are siding with the globalist elites against the citizens of the nations of the world. Memo to the Pope — if you want to cultivate a media image of working man’s champion, great; but you then actually have to stand up for the little guy, and not with the rich and powerful who drive the UN and the EU in favor of their own internationalist agendas at the little guy’s expense. His attempts to demonize the populist movement in Europe and the United States are beneath contempt.
It is strange to see the pope always siding with big governments lately — as if the rest of us don’t rate. Third World invaders, spurred on by globalist agendas, get his attention, but our children — who will be on the same roads as undocumented and often drunk drivers or who may get shot while walking on American soil like Kate Steinle — don’t get his compassion or concern. It’s always someone else’s children he wants to protect at the expense of ours. Pope Francis even stated openly that our security is not as important as the “migrant” invaders’ “dignity.” I wonder if that comforts the parents who lost their children to illegal drunk drivers or the cartel violence pouring in over the border.
These types of actions, which have led to the greatest church in Western civilization being overtaken by globalist and corporatist agendas, is too big a pill for Bannon to swallow. It appears he’s setting up shop in the pope’s backyard to try and rectify the problem. Since being turned out of American politics, Bannon has set his sights on helping populist movements in Europe win elections. To that end, he is busy working to open an institute of learning to defend the West and our culture that will be able to take 250 to 300 students at a time.
His institute gets gravitas from an unlikely but powerful Catholic cardinal, Raymond Burke, who is serving on the advisory board. Burke is a conservative favorite among Catholic traditionalists because of his opposition to what appears to be the pope’s mission to water down the faith in all areas, including sexuality, divorce, adultery, and the rights of governments to remain sovereign. Farrell describes Burke as “Pope Francis’s most outspoken critic within the Vatican, who has said disobeying the Pope is a ‘duty’ if he has ‘deviated from the faith.’” And so it always has been, but these words are now scandalous to some in the church who would like the traditionalists to sit down and allow them to fundamentally transform 2000 years of magisterial teaching to soothe the feelings of the culturally hip.
Bannon echoed St. Catherine of Siena’s plea for Pope Gregory XI to reform with reminders of his duties to the people of God. In his remarks to Farrell about his mission, Bannon said:
The Pope is the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth. The Catholic Church is historically a pillar of Western Civilization. We’re not trying to destroy the Pope, but call him back to his responsibilities to speak for the little guy rather than acting as spokesman for the globalist elites — who, by the way, are no fans of the Catholic faith.
It is a plea that is centuries old. Do your job, Holy Father. Return to your flock.
As for me, I’m just hoping to get my letter of acceptance to the Bannon School of Gladiators for Western Culture (or whatever he’s going to call it). My advice is to stick with the Hogwarts associations and send invitations by owl post. Here’s a tour of the inside of Bannon’s new castle in the mountains.
Don’t miss 7:50 for a ridiculous surprise that is something Disney might have created with the help of Catholic craftsmen. (Have you ever seen Catholic animatronics? It should not be missed.) The artwork alone in this place is worth the price of tuition, whatever that turns out to be. Can you imagine studying under those ceilings? It is the perfect place for a cultural renaissance of the Western spirit, surrounded by the greatest works of Western art and beauty.