A recently leaked FBI memo seems to indicate the FBI has turned its attention to conservative Catholics as potentially being connected to white supremacists. The memo, released by the FBI’s Richmond Division in Virginia, stated it believed that white supremacists were turning to Radical-Traditionalist Catholics (RTC) for support. The memo defined RTCs as “typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council,” which, among other things, pulled the church away from a strictly Latin mass. The traditional Latin Mass has been strongly discouraged by Pope Francis, who recently released a decree which highlighted a document he released in 2021 that set limitations for when and how the Latin Mass can be used. The memo also stated RTCs would be characterized by “adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.” The memo did not provide specific examples or sources from its conclusions, other than referencing a list from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate groups” watchlist, which has been criticized as being politicized. 

A whistleblower discussed the memo with Tucker Carlson, alleging that the document was just the beginning of the FBI going after Christians in general. “They have found a gateway in what they think is fringe Catholicism in order to move into Christians in general and declare them to be the actual criminals in this country or the potential terrorists,” said Kyle Seraphin, whistleblower and former FBI agent. Seraphin pointed out how the memo singled out conservative beliefs, such as traditional marriage and pro-life stances, as being signs of “radicalism.” Speaking on behalf of the whistleblower who brought the document to his attention, Seraphin said, “He or she stated the very simple statement, which is that if they’re going to go after radical, traditional Catholics, then radical, traditional Baptists are next and radical, traditional evangelicalism and anybody else that espouses essentially what is radical, which is just a Christian faith and that is dangerous apparently in this country.”

The FBI has been criticized for what some claim to be its targeting of religious pro-life groups and advocates. On September 22, 2022, twenty-five heavily armed federal agents stormed the house of Catholic pro-life advocate Mark Houck for allegedly pushing a Planned Parenthood escort in October 2021. The Biden administration alleged that Houck had violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), which prohibits any use of force against clinic workers. When he was arrested, Houck was facing up to 11 years in prison. According to Houck, he pushed the worker away from his son after the man tried to attack him. The Thomas Moore Society, which represented Houck, stated the altercation took place 100 feet from the clinic entrance and was across the street. It took a jury 1 hour to find Houck not guilty of the charges this past January. After Houck’s acquittal, Republicans in the House of Representatives authorized the creation of the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, chaired by Representative Jim Jordan.

The FBI has tried to distance itself from the memo discussed by Seraphin, stating it was retracting the memo because “it does not meet our exacting standards.” The FBI did confirm that the memo did come from the Richmond office. “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,” the FBI said in a statement. 

More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad