FBI Retracts SPLC-Sourced Memo Smearing ‘Radical Traditional Catholics’

Matt Philbin | February 10, 2023
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Man, “white nationalists” just ain’t what they used to be. Back in the day, groups like the Klan hated Catholics almost as much as they hated blacks and Jews. Now we learn from the Southern Poverty Law Center, via some knucklehead in the FBI’s Richmond office, that white supremacists are interested in recruiting Latin-mumbling papists. 

On February 8, former FBI agent Kyle Seraphin published a leaked FBI internal memo at UncoverDC. Generated in the Richmond office, it’s pithy title was “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”

Radical traditional Catholics (RTCs) refers to Latin Mass enthusiasts. Really. Here’s how the memo describes them:

RTCs are typically categorized 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. 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, without the more extremist ideological beliefs and violent rhetoric.

Well, glad the memo writer is careful not to tar all the religious weirdos with one brush. There must be some solid intel behind such an assertion, especially if it’s “almost certainly” a chance to dedicate some resources and do some mitigation.

Er, no. Seraphin says it was based on garbage articles from Salon and  the Atlantic, and a report from SPLC, the leftwing hate group that makes a lot of money calling rightwingers “hate groups.” SPLC has a rich history of lying about groups it disagrees with, and even inspiring violence against them. Seraphin writes that:

The SPLC appears to be a source for the intelligence analyst’s beliefs that RTCs exist and that they are anti-Semitic. The SPLC description for this “hate group” states RTCs “may make up the largest single group of serious anti-semites in America.”

Funny thing is, the FBI in 2014 pointedly stopped using SPLC as an intelligence source, removing it from the agency’s “Trusted Source” list on its “Hate Crimes Resource Page.” The U.S. Army had done the same a year earlier.

Seraphin told the Daily Signal, “We got briefings that SPLC was not legitimate when I was at Quantico.”

Related: Is the Bishop Catholic? Iowa Diocese Gets Real About Gender

And sure enough, the FBI has retracted the memo. A statement from its national press office said it was removing it from all agency systems because its sourcing “does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI.”

That’s big of them. Where do traditional Catholics go for their apology?

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