(LifeSiteNews) — The Wall Street Journal editorial board has joined an already large, diverse chorus of voices criticizing the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for signaling its intent to target traditional Catholics.
A memo produced by the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia office last month titled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities” had already brought heaps of condemnation and ridicule upon the Bureau for casting suspicion on devout Catholics as being prone to terrorism and violence.
Tongue-in-cheek, the WSJ referred to the FBI’s strange document as a “catechism” in which “traditionalist” Latin Mass Catholics were lumped in with “violent extremists,” warranting government investigation.
“The Latin Mass? Maybe that was a threat to the Roman republic, circa 50 A.D., but not to America’s in 2023,” jabbed the WSJ board.
“Some 70 million Americans are Catholic, and it’s no shock that they are a diverse church,” said the WSJ editors. “The intellectual sloppiness – and danger – of the report is its embrace of the false leftist political narrative that religiously inspired support of traditional marriage or pro-life views amount to a rising domestic terror threat.”
“The document is notable for its lack of evidence that ‘radical’ traditionalist Catholics have done anything to warrant targeting,” they continued. “This feels like a repeat of the Justice Department’s shoddy rationale for targeting parents for objecting to school shutdowns or mask mandates.”
READ: Youngkin calls for ‘full transparency’ from FBI over memo targeting Virginia Catholics
The FBI is planning to intensify its “assessment” and “mitigation” of “Radical Traditionalist Catholics” over the next 12 to 24 months according to an explosive document from a former agent turned whistleblower.
SIGN & SHARE: Tell the FBI to stop its surviellance of faithful Catholics and focus on the real criminals.
The bombshell 8-page memo was released by former FBI agent Kyle Serpahin on his website UncoveredDC Wednesday. The report, written by an FBI analyst in Richmond, Virginia, was published for internal agency use only on January 23, is titled, “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”
Seraphin describes the briefing as an “intelligence product” that, though not being exhaustive, can be used as an initial reference point for the agency to “prop up” future investigations on the subject. He says he obtained the document from an anonymous Baptist employee for the agency.
“This is the first FBI Richmond domain product to focus on the interest of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists in the Radical Traditional Catholic movement,” the document states. “A search of FBI databases indicates this is also the first FBI finished intelligence product to specifically address this environmental variable.”
SIGN: Politically-motivated witch-hunts of faithful Catholics cannot be allowed in a civilized society
Among the most controversial aspects of the memo is that it directly cites a defamatory study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on the subject “Radical Traditional Catholicism.” The SPLC has long been rejected as a legitimate resource for the FBI, Seraphin says, but in this instance, it is being relied on as a primary source to justify its efforts. The memo also references three anti-Catholic smear articles (here, here, and here) published by leftwing websites Salon and The Atlantic to defend its monitoring.
The report alleges that its real motivation is a concern that “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology” possesses an “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and white supremacy” outlook, and that this presents a threat to the US’s domestic well-being. The report further claims that adherents to RTC ideology “frequently share language and symbolism, such as crusader references or anti-Semitic discourses” online that pro-life white nationalists also support.
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FBI whistleblower releases docs showing agents are surveilling "Radical" Traditional Catholics in Virginia
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the memo has sparked extensive backlash, earning the condemnation of Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, the editors of two Catholic news outlets named in the memo, The Remnant’s Michael Matt and Catholic Family News’ Brian McCall, not to mention the attorneys general of 19 states.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio is demanding answers from FBI Director Christopher Wray regarding the memo, citing it as a “serious misuse of federal law enforcement resources.”
The WSJ editorial concludes, “While we doubt FBI leadership is pursuing a political agenda, the bureau clearly has major issues with partisan operatives and quality control in its ranks. If Mr. Wray wants to re-establish trust in the wake of the FBI’s recent string of scandals, he will have to do more to clean house.”
READ: USCCB condemns ‘extremism’ while saying FBI memo targeting Catholics is ‘troubling and offensive’