FBI Retracts Report Labeling Trad Catholics Thought Terrorists

FBI Retracts Report Labeling Trad Catholics Thought Terrorists

A leaked FBI report revealed that the Bureau’s Richmond, Virginia Division is investigating the threat of “white supremacy” among Catholics who prefer Latin Mass. Since the leak made headlines, FBI headquarters rescinded the report, claiming it does not “open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”

This seems to contradict the document itself, which says its findings are based in part on “liaison reporting.” According to the document’s whistleblower and former Special Agent Kyle Seraphin, liaisons “are overt contacts with trusted members of a community or an industry.” That suggests the FBI already has been investigating Americans based on “First Amendment protected activity.”

The January 23, 2023 document claims “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” (RTCs) are “typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council” (which allowed for Mass to be said in people’s spoken language) and their “adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.” According to the FBI, the threat comes from RTCs increasingly fraternizing with “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists” (RMVE).

To further surveil “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics,” the document says the Bureau may potentially mitigate this “threat” with “tripwire and source development,” which means further infiltration into Catholic communities using various kinds of informants. The report also implies the FBI will begin monitoring social media posts for what it claims is “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” ideology. 

Terrible Sourcing

The FBI sources grounding the field office’s recommendation to increase federal surveillance of conservative Christians include two Salon articles, the infamous “rosary extremism” Atlantic article, and a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center — all left-wing sources, three of which were op-eds. 

Nowhere in the document does the FBI explain how traditional Catholics pose a “violent” threat. The document offers only two pieces of evidence of an “overlap” between “Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists” and “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics.” One is that both groups are “[hostile] toward abortion rights advocates.”

For the second, the FBI cites an alleged collaboration between Nick Fuentes’ “American First/groyper Movement” and Church Militant, a Catholic media organization that has been hyper-critical of the Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse cases and woke ideology infecting American bishops. 

The evidence sources provide for the “overlap” between Radical-Traditional Catholics and “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists” include Fuentes’ supporters and Church Militant activists attending the same pro-life demonstration and Michelle Malkin speaking at Church Militant rally.

One of the Salon articles even has a quote from Church Militant founder Michael Voris explicitly stating there’s no association between Church Militant and America First: “Church Militant doesn’t align itself with any specific group in a formal way — including groups that are expressly Catholic,” Voris said at the time.

“Church Militant might partner with anyone in a particular effort to achieve a limited and shared goal,” Voris added. “In this particular case (Roe), yes. [Church Militant] will link arms with almost anyone who decries the horror of babies being hacked to death in their mothers’ wombs. Isn’t ‘linking arms’ the very thing Antifa and BLM and the Democrats do?”

The Federalist asked Voris if there have been any associations between Fuentes or America First and Church Militant. Voris responded: “Zero. Never has been.” 

The FBI Doesn’t Get Catholicism 

The document identifies “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” as “typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council,” and names several Catholic groups in schism, meaning in a formal break from the Catholic Church. However, Church Militant, the FBI’s only named organization allegedly flirting with racist extremists, ardently defends the validity of Vatican II and the vernacular Mass. A video posted to its YouTube channel just this week calls on viewers to avoid falling into schism at all costs. 

The FBI’s fabricated association between traditional Catholics and white supremacy is even more bizarre given Catholic Church demographics. The word Catholic is derived from Greek and means “universal.” The Catholic Church is extremely multiracial, with North Americans and Europeans making up a minority of the global Catholic population. In the United States, Hispanics account for 40 percent of the Catholic population. 

Voris told The Federalist the FBI should stick to “drug cartels and human trafficking” because its “theological analysis” is “off base.” He explained that the idea that Catholicism could coexist with white supremacy is ludicrous, given that Christianity teaches “every single person was made in the image and likeness of God and therefore has an inherent spark of the divine life and dignity within them, so you can’t hate anyone.” 

A Pretext To Persecute Political Enemies 

“The government right now is the one that our founders feared,” said Voris. Indeed, the FBI report justifies surveilling private citizens’ social media and infiltrating their religious communities without providing any legitimate or serious evidence for how they pose a “violent” threat. The only crimes the FBI field office could identify were thought crimes.

The Richmond bureau mentions surveilling Catholics’ response to “immigration, affirmative action, and LGBTQ protections,” things that under the First Amendment, Catholics are allowed to protest and reject.  

Traditional Catholics are not white supremacists. Even if they were, racist viewpoints are protected under the First Amendment. The “groypers,” or the “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremist” group that the FBI is so focused on, also have a right under the Constitution to think and say whatever they want—so long as they aren’t violent. The entire report is an affront to constitutional rights and yet another reminder that the FBI is becoming nothing more than the intimidation and enforcement arm of the extremist Democratic Party. 

The FBI wants Americans to believe this was an honest mistake. In reality, it’s extremely on-brand with the corruption and political targeting that’s become commonplace in the bureau. As far as we know there have been no major FBI investigations into Black Lives Matter and Antifa, two groups that torched American cities in summer 2020 and caused at least 18 deaths and more than $1 billion dollars in property damage.

There have also been only a handful of arrests and sparse investigation related to the nearly 100 attacks on pro-life organizations and churches at the hands of pro-abortion domestic terrorists in 2022. Meanwhile, peaceful pro-life activists have had their homes raided by federal agents and face lawfare, fines, and prison time. 

The FBI launched the Russia collusion hoax against President Donald Trump by lying to a secret court about the credibility of Christopher Steele, the author of the debunked Russian disinformation dossier. The agency interfered in the 2020 election by preemptively branding the Hunter Biden laptop story as Russian disinformation for Facebook (and likely other platforms) to censor. For years, the FBI also secretly pressured Americans into signing forms that relinquish their constitutional right to own, purchase, or even use firearms, and they even launched investigations into “terrorist” parents who express concerns at local school board meetings

The FBI report that demonizes devout Catholics is not based on any “threat pictures,” as the analyst says, but on raw politics. This time, the target was traditional Catholics, but you can be sure they won’t stop with Catholics.

Evita Duffy-Alfonso is a staff writer to The Federalist and the co-founder of the Chicago Thinker. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, and her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1 or contact her at evita@thefederalist.com.


Originally Posted on: https://thefederalist.com/2023/02/09/fbi-retracts-memo-labeling-traditional-catholics-violent-white-supremacists-pushing-infiltration-of-christian-communities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fbi-retracts-memo-labeling-traditional-catholics-violent-white-supremacists-pushing-infiltration-of-christian-communities
[By: Evita Duffy-Alfonso

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