15 February 2023, The Tablet

Row over leaked FBI memo targeting traditionalist Catholics

The document says that traditionalist groups adhere to “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT and white supremacy” ideology.

Row over leaked FBI memo targeting traditionalist Catholics

The FBI headquarters in the J Edgar Hoover Building, Washington DC.
Wikimedia Commons

Conservative Catholics and politicians in the United States are criticising the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a leaked internal memo that indicates the agency is eyeing traditionalist Catholic communities for links to political extremism and white supremacist groups.

The memo, which was reportedly obtained by a former FBI special agent and posted on the UncoveredDC website, warns that “radical traditionalist Catholics”, while representing a small minority among Catholics, adhere to “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT and white supremacy” ideology, while also preferring the “traditional Latin mass”.

“This assessment is made in light of the ongoing polarisation characterising the US political environment and the probability that policy issues of mutual interest to [racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists] and [radical traditionalist Catholic] adherents will remain in the public spotlight,” reads the memo.

The 23 January document is entitled, “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities”.

The document was reportedly obtained from the FBI field office in Richmond, Virginia.

The memo lists several organisations that the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as hate groups.

They include Catholic Apologetics International in Pennsylvania, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in New Hampshire, The Remnant Press and Church Militant, a Michigan-based, far-right media outlet that the memo says has been increasingly collaborating with the white nationalist America First “groyper” movement.

Conservative figures and political leaders have taken to social media to blast the FBI for what they characterised as the federal government persecuting devout Christians.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, the far-right firebrand from Georgia, renewed her call to defund the FBI.

The FBI has since told American media outlets amid the political backlash that it has removed the memo from its internal systems because the document did not meet the “exacting standards of the FBI”.

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