Conservatives Condemn FBI's Targeting of Traditional Catholics as Potential 'Violent Extremists'

( — Conservatives strongly condemned the FBI’s targeting of traditional Catholics as potential “violent extremists” and “hate groups,” which was revealed in a leaked memo from the FBI Richmond office last week.  As one conservative tweeted, the White House and the FBI “has gone to WAR with Christianity!”

On Feb. 8, the news outlet published the FBI memo (from Jan. 23) headlined “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.” The memo discusses alleged interest and connections between violent extremists and traditional Catholics.

Some of the issues that may spark “common cause” between the two groups, claims the FBI, include “abortion rights, immigration, affirmative action, and LGBTQ protections.”  The Catholic faith opposes abortion, so-called gay marriage, gay adoption, and gender ideology. Many evangelical Protestants hold the same views. 

The memo further discusses the FBI using informants to essentially spy on traditional Catholics and report back to the agency. As the memo states, “the current trend of RMVE interest in RTC ideology provides new opportunitites to mitigate the RMVE threat through outreach to traditionalist Catholic parishes and the development of sources with the placement and access to report on RMVEs seeking to use RTC social media sites or places of worship as facilitation platforms to promote violence.” 

Commenting on the FBI memo, House Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Tex.) tweeted, “The FBI arrested and RAIDED Christian pro-life activists. They did NOTHING when pro-life pregnancy centers were BOMBED. Now they’re labeling practicing Catholics as extremists. This White House has gone to WAR with Christianity!!”


Attorney Mike Howell, director of the Oversight Project at the Heritage Foundation, tweeted, “Woke FBI = Anti-Catholic FBI.”

Tyler O’Neil, managing editor of The Daily Signal, said, “The FBI’s ‘radical-traditional Catholic’ memo unmasks a ‘pattern of anti-Catholic bigotry’ at the DOJ that represents ‘the new Inquisition’ against Roman Catholics,   @CatholicVote Prez @BrianBurchCV told me.”

Kyle Seraphin, a former FBI agent, who published the memo on Feb. 8, said the FBI “needs to be abolished.” The FBI is targeting traditional Catholics as a “gateway” to declare “open season” on all Christians, he added in an interview on CatholicVote’s Loopcast. 

“There is a very loud, evil agenda… that leads to unhappiness and disconnection from God,” Seraphin said in the interview. “That agenda is being pushed in this country by secular forces in the government. And it’s being pushed back on by people in the Catholic Church who are looking for something more.”

FNC’s Tucker Carlson, in another interview with Kyle Seraphin, said, “The FBI, as an organization, has joined in the hunt for Christians, and we have proof of it.”

Joshua T. Hosler, a Marine and a veteran, tweeted, “After the @FBI made it clear that they view Catholics as an enemy of our great nation, all Catholics should be demanding the FBI to be cleared out, unfunded, and reassessed as a tool for the protection of ALL Americans!”

Carina Benton at The Federalist wrote, “The FBI’s persecution of Catholic fathers for their pro-life advocacy is sickening enough. But the monitoring of a tiny subset of Catholics based on their beliefs and mode of worship is an appalling new low.”

Conservative Emerald Robinson, a long-time reporter in D.C., tweeted, “Good morning to everyone except the FBI’s Richmond field office — which just warned its agents about ‘radical traditionalist Catholic ideology.’ In other words, they want to persecute Christians.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted, “The FBI wrote a memo on ‘Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology.’ The FBI would rather go after Christians than investigate Antifa.”

House Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) tweeted, “The targeting of practicing Catholics is another way the federal government has been illegally weaponized against the American people.   The House Select Subcommittee on @Weaponization will stand up for accountability.  Accountability is coming.”

On Feb. 9, in response to a query from the Catholic News Agency, the FBI claimed it was rescinding the document because “it does not meet our exacting standards.”

However, as Virginia Attorney General Jason Mitares (and 19 other state attorneys general) wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, “After the American public learned of the memorandum, the Bureau apparently emailed a smattering of reporters to inform them that ‘FBI Headquarters quickly began taking action to remove the document from FBI systems and conduct a review of the basis for the document.’

“The Bureau’s ‘action’ occurred only in response to public outrage over the memorandum, which the FBI never intended the public to see at all. Had the memorandum not been revealed to the public, it might well still be an intelligence product available to the Bureau.”

“Suffice to say we are not persuaded by the FBI’s damage-control efforts,” said the state attorneys general.  “The FBI’s scrubbing of the document from its systems and the purported ‘review’ of the process that created it in no way reassures us that this memorandum does not reflect a broader program of secretive surveillance of American Catholics or other religious adherents, and infiltration of their houses of worship. It assures us only that the FBI is embarrassed at the public revelation of the memorandum’s contents.” (Emphasis added.) 

The letter calls on the FBI to produce a complete, unredacted copy of the Jan. 23 memo, all documentation related to the memos creation, proof that the FBI is adhering to its infiltration guidelines, and an in-person briefing “of the process by which the report was drafted, an explanation of its conclusions, and the effect that is likely to be experienced by the Catholic populations of the undersigned’s States, and what efforts, if any, have been taken to ensure that the memorandum’s recommendations have not been, and will not be, implemented.”


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