US Catholic bishops and 20 Attorney Generals are protesting an internal FBI memo targeting religious profiling of Catholics who attend Latin Masses. President Biden claims to be a practicing Catholic.
A Jan. 23, 2023 FBI internal memorandum entitled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities,” was published on Feb. 8, 2023 by Undercover DC, an investigative journalism organization. The memo refers to Catholics who prefer Latin Mass as “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” or RTCs and suggests infiltrating such groups.
“The document assesses with “high confidence” the FBI can mitigate the threat of Radical-Traditionalist Catholics by recruiting sources within the Catholic Church,” reported Undercover DC.
The memo derived some of its information from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-leaning Georgia group that tracks hate activity in the U.S.
On February 10, 2023, Jason S. Miyares, Attorney General of Virginia, along with 19 other Attorneys General, issued their own response.
The attorneys general seven-page letter was addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“This country was founded on the right of all people to worship in the church, mosque, or synagogue of their choice, free from government. Countless millions were drawn to our country because of that very right. Indeed, some of our first States were founded as safe havens for religious dissenters. There is no right more sacred to American democracy than the right to worship freely,” reads the letter.
In further response, Bishop Knestouts of the Richmond, Virginia Catholic diocese issued a statement on Feb. 13, 2023.
“I was alarmed to read the reports written late last week about the contents of the internal memo created by the Richmond Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I was also surprised to learn of the mention of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), a religious order, which celebrates the traditional form of the Catholic Mass. FSSP has served with devotion for many years the parishes within our Catholic community and to the faithful of our diocese who appreciate this form of the Catholic Mass in our diocese,” wrote Bishop Knestouts.
“The leaked document should be troubling and offensive to all communities of faith, as well as all Americans. I am grateful for the Virginia Attorney General and 19 attorneys general who have called upon the government to publicly release all materials related to the production of this memo. If evidence of extremism exists, it should be rooted out, but not at the expense of religious freedom. A preference for traditional forms of worship and holding closely to the Church’s teachings on marriage, family, human sexuality, and the dignity of the human person does not equate with extremism, the Bishop added.
New York City Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Religious Liberty Chairman of the U.S. Catholic Council of Bishops, emphatically criticized the FBI memorandum.
“I agree with my brother Bishop Barry Knestouts that the leaked memorandum was nonetheless ‘troubling and offensive’ in several respects – such as in its religious profiling and reliance on dubious sourcing – and am glad it has been rescinded. We encourage federal law enforcement authorities to take appropriate measures to ensure the problematic aspects of the memo do not recur in any of their agencies’ work going forward,” stated Dolan.
The Catholic News Agency received a response from the FBI confirming the document came from the Richmond office and it was being removed.
“While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, this particular field office product – disseminated only within the FBI – regarding racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI,” according to the FBI statement published by the Catholic News Agency.
This incident follows attacks on the First Amendment as evidenced in the free speech case, Missouri v. Biden. The First Amendment includes both the right to free speech and religious liberty.
The FBI has used partisan information and then targeted individuals. The Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign paid for the infamous Christopher Steele dossier and alleged Donald Trump was colluding with Russia to hijack that election. In the end, no such collusion was found. Doctoring evidence was found and the FBI misleading the FISA was concluded.
The FBI has engaged in and encouraged censorship, de-platforming, and silencing dissent on social media and treating parents protesting at school board meetings as domestic terrorists at the suggestion of the National School Boards Association and the Biden Justice Department.
Subscribe to our evening newsletter to stay informed during these challenging times!!