Organized Attacks on Catholics Continue

Last year the FBI rescinded an internal memo, leaked by a whistleblower, revealing how the federal law enforcement division of the Justice Department was targeting “radical traditional Catholics.”

The reporting around this revealed that the evidence behind this outlandish charge was the inclusion of “radical traditional Catholics” on a list of hate groups compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The memo, titled “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities,” characterizes radical traditional Catholics or “RTCs” 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.”

The memo leaked by the whistleblower also urged that the FBI should monitor these Catholics through “the development of sources with access,” including in “places of worship.” It presents a list of “hate groups” published by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a place to start this work.

Well, recently the Southern Poverty Law Center put out its latest list and it still includes “radical traditional Catholics,” despite the fact that the FBI rescinded the memo, saying that it “does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI.” But the memo’s very existence should trigger alarm bells for anyone who cares about Americans’ First Amendment freedoms.

The Southern Poverty Law Center originally was an honorable organization that, for example, was credited with helping to bring civil rights lawsuits in 1971.

However, recently the Southern Poverty Law Center has repeatedly cited Catholic organizations — either traditional or otherwise — as hate groups for citing aspects of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

A Catholic group in Louisiana was labeled a hate group for stating that homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered,” which is in the catechism that binds all Catholics worldwide.

The Southern Poverty Law Center believes that traditional Catholics — many of whom attend Latin Mass — do not believe in the tenets of Vatican II and its associated reforms.

The Southern Poverty Law Center cites on its website, “Adherents of radical traditional Catholicism,” or “integralism,” routinely pillory Jews as “the perpetual enemy of Christ,” and “condemn the Vatican’s outreach to other Christian denominations and faiths, and sometimes assert that recent popes have all been illegitimate.”

It also broadly suggests that “the Roman Catholic Church has always been an attractive target for conspiracy theorists, due in large part to its elaborate and sometimes mysterious-seeming rituals, its associations with secret societies like the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians.”

Should the Catholic Church consider the Southern Poverty Law Center a hate group?

Of course not, since we believe in redemption. However, all Catholics should know that the Southern Poverty Law Center is no friend of ours.