FBI’s Targeting Of Catholics Was A Widespread Effort

Multiple offices of the FBI were part of the effort to crack down on “radical-traditional Catholics.”

Written by Anthony Cash

What’s happening: An FBI document reveals that multiple field offices coordinated in investigating “radical-traditionalist Catholics” for violent extremism, signaling an agency-wide effort to target traditional Catholic congregations as possible terrorists.

  • Catch up: A redacted version of the document was originally released in February, sparking controversy over the government’s targeting of Catholics. Another report released in April showed the bureau asked clergy to act as informants.

Why it matters: FBI Director Christopher Wray denounced the document in July, testifying to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that the inquiry was isolated to the Richmond, Virginia, field office. But the less-redacted document shows the inquiry also involved field offices in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.

  • What’s next? Chairman Jordan sent a letter to Wray asking for details from the FBI and for corrections to Wray’s July testimony by August 23.

Zoom out: The FBI document is part of a trend of government hostility to people of faith. Massachusetts recently allegedly denied a foster care license to a couple because they are “devoutly Roman Catholic.”

  • Why? In the above example, Massachusetts cited the couple’s traditional views on marriage and sexuality as reasons for concern — these views are now fundamentally opposed to the federal government’s position. If left unchecked, the government's actions could extend to all religious Americans.