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RICHMOND, Va. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Attorneys general across the United States are blasting Joe Biden's FBI for targeting traditional Catholics.
On Friday, 20 state attorneys general signed a letter criticizing the U.S. Department of Justice for labeling traditionalist Catholics as dangerous. The letter, addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, calls out an "anti-Catholic" internal memo leaked from Richmond's FBI office:
The FBI must immediately and unequivocally order agency personnel not to target Americans based on their religious beliefs and practices. We also demand that the FBI produce publicly all materials relating to the memorandum and its production. ... Anti-Catholic bigotry appears to be festering in the FBI, and the Bureau is treating Catholics as potential terrorists because of their beliefs.
The memo was leaked by a Catholic former FBI agent, Kyle Seraphin, and singles out groups that hold a "radical-traditionalist Catholic (RTC) ideology." The FBI document describes "RTCs" as "typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council 'Vatican II' as a valid church council; disdain for most of the popes elected since Vatican II, particularly Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II; and frequent adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideology."
It distinguishes between RTCs and those Catholics who simply prefer the traditional Liturgy, noting, "Radical-traditionalist Catholics compose a small minority of overall Roman Catholic adherents and are separate and distinct from 'traditionalist Catholics' who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II teachings and traditions, but without the more extremist ideological beliefs and violent rhetoric."
The FBI observes that groups like the Society of St. Pius X and the Society of St. Pius V are "canonically irregular" and "schismatic," respectively, while pointing out that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is in communion with Rome.
In the report, Church Militant is characterized as a "far-right Catholic media outlet" and part of "a growing overlap between the far-right white nationalist movement and RTCs" — a claim that CM completely rejects.
The other organizations specifically mentioned in the FBI memo include Catholic Family News, The Remnant and The Fatima Crusader. The FBI specifically noted that the list was obtained from the Southern Poverty Law Center — a Marxist, far-left organization.
Soon after the memo started gaining traction in the Catholic media, the FBI retracted it and issued a statement: "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 continued, "Upon learning of the document, FBI Headquarters quickly began taking action to remove the document from FBI systems and conduct a review of the basis for the document."
In their letter, the attorneys general shot back.
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.
The letter's author, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, pointed out "a dangerous tendency in the FBI and DOJ to label those who hold views contrary to the administration as violent extremists or terrorists." Miyares also criticized Biden's FBI in a news release: "The leaked memo from our state capital's FBI office is unacceptable, unconstitutional, and un-American. Frankly, it's what I would expect from Communist Cuba."
During COVID-19, many Americans recall that Biden's Department of Homeland Security compiled a blacklist of U.S. workers who were asking for religious exemptions from abortion-tainted jabs due to religious beliefs. At the same time, the Biden DOJ was labeling parents "domestic terrorists" for resisting, at school board meetings across the country, the Marxist indoctrination of their children.
The attorneys general reveal just what the FBI was proposing in this latest leaked memo: "[T]he memorandum proposes recruiting Catholics to enter a sacred house of worship, talk to their fellow Catholics, and report those conversations back to the FBI so that the federal government can keep tabs on the bad Catholics."