Congressional Republicans are furious over an FBI document classifying “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology” as a potential national security threat, according to a report published in The Christian Post.
Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) who serves as the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Mike Johnson (-LA) chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, reached out to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday, the report said.
The two described the “FBI’s targeting of a set of Catholic Americans for their religious beliefs” as the latest example of a “serious misuse of federal law enforcement resources” for “apparent political purposes.”
The eight-page document, leaked by former FBI agent Kyle Seraphin, said the FBI was investigating “radical traditionalist” Catholics and their possible ties to “the far-right white nationalist movement,” according to a NY Post report.
“RTCs are 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-LGBT, and white supremacist ideology,” the document states.
Seraphin, a Catholic, told The Post he believed the document was an “appalling” violation of the first Amendment and said there’s no connection between Catholics and white supremacists.
The document, which was rescinded by the FBI’s headquarters following outrage, stated that “the increasingly observed interest of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) in radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology almost certainly presents opportunities for threat mitigation through the exploration of new avenues for tripwire and source development,” the report said.
The eight-page document differentiates between Catholic congregations that follow the Roman Catholic faith as it was practiced before the reforms and modernization by the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, a cause for concern according to the memo, and those who practice Catholicism by the older version of the Catholic mass in Latin and are more traditional.