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Feds Target Traditional Catholics

Thursday, February 9, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: C. J. Doyle

The Friends of Saint Benedict Center today are criticizing the Virginia office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a leaked memo which alleges that some traditional Catholic organizations contain "violent extremists," are promoting "Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology," and are somehow linked to "white nationalists."

Some sections of the memo appear to be an almost verbatim recycling of the now discredited talking points of the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center.

An appendix attached to the memo, citing the SPLC, identifies nine Catholic organizations as hate groups which ought to be subject to "assessment" (surveillance), "threat mitigation" (countermeasures), and "source recruitment" (acquisition of confidential informants).

The nine groups listed included three publications---Catholic Family News, The Remnant and Culture Wars; four websites---Tradition in Action, In the Spirit of Chartres, Christ or Chaos, and Catholic Apologetics International; one Marian apostolate---The Fatima Center; and one religious community---the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Richmond, New Hampshire.

The memo also attempts, without foundation or evidence, to link the conservative Catholic news organization, Church Militant, to extremist groups espousing racialist ideologies.

The January 23rd memo, issued by the FBI's Richmond, Virginia office, is titled Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.

It was leaked on February 8th by former FBI agent turned whistleblower Kyle Seraphin.

The Friends of Saint Benedict Center are characterizing the memo as "a chilling assault on religious freedom and an egregious example of the dangers of politicized law enforcement."

Friends of Saint Benedict Center Communications Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: "The free exercise of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and by the Declarations of Rights in all fifty state constitutions. It is the foundational American liberty."

"Federal law enforcement is prohibited from opening investigations into American citizens predicated upon constitutionally protected expressive activity."

"None of these groups have ever committed, incited, advocated or apologized for acts of violence. They are being targeted, clearly and impermissibly, for their traditional moral and religious beliefs, which make them, presumptively, adversaries of the woke revolution being promoted by the current Administration."

"The memo even cites their 'hostility to abortion rights' and opposition to 'LGBTQ protections."

"The Virginia office violated FBI protocols by referencing, as its source, the anti-Catholic bigots of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is a lucrative bunco scheme which monetizes left wing paranoia by inciting fear of conservative Christians."

"The SPLC began a campaign of demonization against traditional Catholics some years ago, defaming them as hate groups. Among the manifest absurdities peddled by the SPLC was the ludicrous claim that traditional Catholic nuns engage in martial arts training, and that traditional Catholic monasteries contain automatic weapons."

"The Virginia FBI memo targeted the very same groups slandered by the SPLC. The SPLC has no credibility and no one in the FBI has any business treating it as a stakeholder in this matter."

"Investigating Americans for their religious affiliation represents a revolutionary departure from our constitutional republic, in the direction of a totalitarian future. The ten groups targeted by the Virginia FBI office ought to consider judicial remedies, including injunctive relief, to protect their constitutional rights as American citizens."

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