Now Traditional Catholics are Terrorists! By Peter West

When I was emailed this item by Brian to comment, at first I thought it was a joke. The US FBI must have too much spare time on their hands, for now they are proclaiming that Catholic Latin Mass attendants are what that they call "radical Catholic traditionalists," and white supremacists. This is news to me, while my experience of the Latin mass is restricted to Australia and the UK. But, I have never once seen anything like this. Of course, the FBI has been made into a radical rogue police group itself by the Biden administration, which in 2022, declared war upon Trump supporters. So, now this KGB police force, is working its way down the list. The FBI needs to be closed down.

“An FBI whistleblower has released an internal FBI document from the agency's Richmond office, showing that the FBI is out to gather intelligence on a subset of Catholic Latin Mass lovers that they call "radical Catholic traditionalists," based on claims, possibly scurrilous, that they are nests of anti-semitism and "white supremacy" in need of government surveillance.

According to Kyle Seraphin, the former FBI agent-turned-whistleblower:

The FBI’s Richmond Division would like to protect Virginians from the threat of “white supremacy,” which it believes has found a home within Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass. An intelligence analyst within the Richmond Field Office of the FBI released in a new finished intelligence product dated January 23, 2023, on Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVE) and their interests in “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” or RTCs. The document assesses with “high confidence” the FBI can mitigate the threat of Radical-Traditionalist Catholics by recruiting sources within the Catholic Church.

The acronym, new to many in the Domestic Counterterrorism field, comes with a footnote by the writer explaining RTCs are “typically characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council.” The writer makes an unsubstantiated leap that a preference for the Catholic Mass in Latin instead of the vernacular and a number of more traditional views on other world religions can amount to an “adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and white supremacist ideology.” 

Mitigate the threat? What threat? There was no proof of antisemitism cited. Don't like it, don't go to one.

Oh, but hey, they aren't planning to spy on all Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass as a style of worship, the document notes, just the subset they consider "radical Catholic traditionalists," whatever that is.

Seraphin continues:

This writer draws the important distinction between “traditional Catholics,” who simply prefer the Traditional Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II teachings, and RTCs, who espouse “more extremist ideological beliefs and violent rhetoric.”

A discerning reader may wonder why the writer believes such divisions exist and if there is evidence of the extremist and violent rhetoric within the Catholic church. The analyst’s note doesn’t provide specifics. When the FBI generates an intelligence product, it is important to note the analyzed sources. Typically, strict source vetting removes partisanship and bias, so a product is both consistent with federal law and can add value to the FBI’s overall mission. Of note, this document was reviewed and approved for release by the FBI Richmond Chief Division Counsel, who is the office’s top lawyer.

Which is quite a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of worship, which is guaranteed by the Constitution. Even crummy and utterly wrong religions that are loaded with antisemites are guaranteed that one.

It shows that the FBI has too little to do as a bloated and oversized agency, so it's now getting into areas it has no business in, turning itself into a "Lives of Others"-style Stasi.

There is also reason to think they aren't acting legally or don't know much about their target.

The term "traditional Catholic" itself is a very muddled one, given that it includes Latin Mass-appreciating Catholics who are inside the Church and tend to be very conservative, and wack-jobs who are outside the Church but who consider themselves the "real" Catholics, who can also be conservative. Some of these groups, according to Wikipedia, are halfway-in and halfway out, and their statuses within the Church can actually change depending on who's running things in the Catholic Church hierarchy.

For a practicing Catholic, being in or out are two different things -- either you're Catholic (or Orthodox), or else you're protestant (small 'p' intentional as these kinds of dissidents aren't part of any recognized Protestant church), and there is no gray area. Catholics? If they are outside the Church, they ain't Catholics no matter what they call themselves.

The Bureau tries to separate the two in this document, and calls presumably the sects outside the Church the antisemitic nests worth spying on. If even Catholics have trouble telling the difference based on the varied statuses, you can bet the secularists inside the FBI are going to have even more trouble telling them apart.

Who are these newly revealed targets, anyway?

The approximate number of this undistinguished mass, according to Wikipedia, citing a very old Catholic World Report estimate with a broken link, is about 1 million worldwide. That 1 million number doesn't distinguish those in or out, either. What's more, it's apparently just a guess.

As a practicing Catholic, however, one thing I can say, though, is that the number of those who favor the Latin Mass is small, very small, a tiny subset within the Catholic Church itself, and their numbers are undoubtedly the majority of those who do go to Latin Masses.  What's more, any of us Catholics, (or even non-Catholics) can go to a Latin Mass if we feel like it and if we know where it is held (the leftists running the Church these days are trying to stomp it out, too, by not publishing times and places) which muddles the number further. It's fine and dandy to have these kinds of religious expressions as well as entirely within the First Amendment freedom to worship as well as Catholic-legitimate. As someone who's been to them, nothing weird goes on, no antisemitism is ever spouted, cripes, we can't even understand what they are saying since it's in Latin, they are just Catholic Masses done in another style. I consider the traditional Mass too long, so I rarely go to one, but it's a nice cultural experience when I do. These Masses presumably would not be included the "radical traditionalist" group the FBI is targeting.  

I can't imagine how small that group is, these "radical traditional Catholics" named in the document as targets who are supposedly all in for anti-Semitism and need spying on and presumably would be outside the Church. What is it? Ten people? Twenty? With numbers that small, where would they even find an informant to pay for information?

The FBI document at the link cites a Southern Poverty Law Center document, written by some radical anti-Catholic leftist, which as Seraphin notes, is an activist NGO the Bureau are not supposed to cite as fodder for their intelligence investigations, as they well shouldn't.

That group has a partisan bias and is about as credible as Fusion GPS which fobbed off an "opposition research" document on Donald Trump with false and mendacious claims as legitimate research done without fear or favor.

Well, the Bureau did it anyway. So they broke the law right there and didn't care and put out an intelligence-section document urging agents to recruit informants to infiltrate these groups to spy on them.

How many informants have they recruited? Where's the evidence of systemic anti-semitism in these groups? 

The only thing I can think of is that Mel Gibson's eccentric version of "Catholicism" is believed to be in this 'out' category, and yes, he has uttered a string of anti-semitic comments during a traffic stop many years ago, so one could lay antisemitism on him, but the actor did apologize, meaning, he seemed to know that what he said was a sin, so even that makes it legitimate to question whether these irregular groups outside the Church are big nests of antisemitism.

While nobody's shown the proof of that among these sects, it's a fact that antisemitism is historically real, however, and does have a bad history in the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church and in the nations that followed Catholicism (and Lutheranism, too) which is the time period that these sects are said to favor. Ghettos, special taxes, persecutions, expulsions, ugly smears, slanders and even art, pogroms, killings, all vile and horrible acts against Jews in Europe did happen. James Mitchener's "The Source," a book about the Jewish people that I read as a kid at the urging of my Catholic catechism teacher, describes a lot of that horrible activity vividly. Wikipedia outlines a lot of it, too. But antisemitism itself has been condemned by the Church as early as the 11th century by Pope Calixtus II, so it's been out there for a while that antisemitism is sinful, but there have been contradictions in the centuries that followed. Vatican II attempted to hose it out. 

Bad as it is, it's police overreach in violation of the First Amendment to be targeting any church or sect or whatever for spying without a proper pretext of authentically illegal, as opposed to repugnant, activity. Seraphin notes that the document is to be applied to intelligence investigations which can go on forever, but to what purpose is this? If they have no evidence a crime has been committed they are squarely within crime territory themselves, violating the First Amendment.

If they are doing this to the radical Catholic sects, who must number a few dozen people, the next question is who else are they doing this to? How widespread are these violations of the First Amendment which includes freedom to worship? We know they have been violating freedom of speech from the Twitter Files revelations now we learn they are violating freedom of religion.

So, what other groups are the target, why can't the Bureau go after real criminals instead, and why hasn't anyone been busted for this? Perhaps this can be sorted out in the current Congress and perhaps laws can be passed that the FBI should be fully sueable should it violate these kinds of elemental Constitutional rights as breach of contract.

Whatever it is, someone should be held accountable, and a broader investigation about why the Bureau can't seem to stay in its lane and observe Constitutional protections is in order. Obviously, this is an agency that has grown too bloated and is getting into mischief instead of productive activity.”



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Sunday, 21 July 2024

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