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Traditional Latin MassCistercians from Vyšší Brod Monastery/Wikimedia Commons

Author’s note: This article has been updated following the Diocese of Richmond’s release of Bishop Knestout’s statement regarding the FBI memo on “Radical Traditionalist Catholics.”

UPDATE FEB 17, 2023: The USCCB issued a statement on the leaked FBI memo on Thursday 16 February, 2023. You can read our report on that statement here.

(LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has remained conspicuously silent on Wednesday’s release of the bombshell memorandum from the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia office declaring that “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology” is a magnet for “violent extremists.”

The organization has neglected to mention, in any capacity, the memo which has already been decried as “anti-Catholic” by Virginia’s attorney general. LifeSiteNews has repeatedly reached out to the USCCB with requests for comment, with no response as of publishing.

Meanwhile, the document has been condemned by Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, by non-Catholic Fox News host Tucker Carlson, by the attorneys general of 20 states, including Virginia’s AG Jason Mirayes, and other public figures including journalist Jack Posobiec, and U.S. Representative and former Physician to the President Ronny Jackson.

READ: Virginia AG leads 19 states in demanding FBI come clean about ‘anti-Catholic’ memo, church spying

The now-retracted document was itself anonymously leaked by a non-Catholic FBI whistleblower, according to former FBI agent Kyle Seraphin, who published the 8-page memo on Wednesday. Seraphin told Tucker Carlson on Thursday he believes the memo is an “open door” to target all Christians in the U.S. as criminals.

The document asserts that “increasingly observed interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVE) in Radical Traditionalist Catholic (RTC) Ideology almost certainly presents new opportunities for threat mitigation” via “tripwire and source development.” 

In other words, the FBI’s Richmond office has expressed interest in recruiting Catholics to spy on fellow churchgoers who attend the Traditional Latin Mass. 

The memo indicates that this may have already taken place. It states that un-named liaisons have helped compile its findings, which suggests that persons familiar with these communities have been in touch with intelligence officials.

The document claims that RMVEs have “sought out” traditional Catholic worship and use RTC ideology language on social media, and that there is a “growing overlap” between the “far right nationalist movement and RTCs.”

“FBI Richmond relied on the key assumption that RMVEs will continue to find RTC ideology attractive and will continue to attempt to connect with RTC adherents, both virtually via social media and in-person at places of worship,” the memo explained.

“Radical Traditional Catholics” are characterized by the memo as typically rejecting Vatican II as a “valid council,” and often holding what it refers to as “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideology.”

Critics consider this assessment to be highly suspect at best, considering that the memo relies upon reports from the radical leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has long been rejected as a legitimate resource for the FBI, according to Seraphin, although in this instance it is being relied on as a primary source.

The memo also references three anti-Catholic smear articles (here, here, and here) published by left-wing websites Salon and The Atlantic to defend its monitoring.

The document’s mention of “anti-LGBTQ” RTC beliefs appears to vilify the vast majority of traditional Catholics as well as the majority of conservative Christians, since the biblical belief that marriage only exists between a man and a woman is interpreted by pro-LGBT advocates to be “anti-LGBTQ.”

In fact, the SPLC even identifies legislation that prevents males from participating in women’s sports as “anti-LGBTQ.” On its website, the SPLC rejects “religious liberty” as a “guise” for what it claims are anti-LGBT beliefs.

Despite the FBI’s retraction of the memo following intense backlash over its contents, Seraphin, Jason Miyares, and 19 other attorneys general remain unpersuaded by the FBI’s “damage-control efforts.”

The Virginia AG pointed out that if the memo had not been leaked, “it might well still be an intelligence product available to the Bureau.”

He went on to add, “The FBI’s scrubbing of the document… and the purported ‘review’ of the process that created it in no way reassures us that this memo 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.”

LifeSiteNews will update this report pending comment from the USCCB.


FBI whistleblower releases docs showing agency is surveilling ‘Radical’ Latin Mass Catholics

Bishop Strickland reacts to FBI whistleblower’s bombshell report on surveillance of traditional Catholics

FBI whistleblower: Memo on Latin Mass Catholics is ‘open door’ to declare all Christians ‘criminals’

FBI retracts memo on ‘Radical’ Latin Mass Catholics that cited left-wing SPLC report

Catholic media outlet named in FBI report slams ‘dystopian’ Latin Mass surveillance

The Remnant’s Michael Matt slams FBI ‘witch hunt’ of Latin Mass Catholics