WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The Traditional Latin Mass was offered within the walls of the U.S. Capitol beneath the chambers of Congress on the one-year anniversary of infamous FBI Richmond memo that identified “radical traditional Catholics” as potential “domestic terrorists” requiring surveillance because they hold that life in the womb is sacred and marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
The Mass, at which LifeSiteNews was present, was offered at noon on January 23 inside the Capitol in one of the vaulted reception rooms beneath the Chamber of the House. It was hosted by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Congressman Jim Jordan, who were unable to attend due to a House session.
At standing room only, about 50-60 “radical traditional Catholics” attended the Mass as the Gregorian chant for the feast of Dominican friar St. Raymund of Penyafort, observed on January 23 in the 1962 liturgical calendar, echoed beneath the chambers of Congress.
Traditional Latin Mass at the Capitol Building pic.twitter.com/mH7gPMWvXj
— Catholic Arena (@CatholicArena) January 24, 2024
Commenting on the weaponization of government against traditional Catholics evidenced in the FBI memo, Johnson said at the Capitol, “Today marks one year since the FBI designated traditional Catholics as ‘radical’ and sent spies into their places of worship. Government agencies were designed to protect the American people, but they have been weaponized by the Biden administration. House Republicans must bring accountability to agencies targeting Americans based on their faith.”
Today marks one year since the FBI designated traditional Catholics as “radical” and sent spies into their places of worship.
Government agencies were designed to protect the American people, but they have been weaponized by the Biden Administration.
House Republicans must… pic.twitter.com/hJvvsrFiP1
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) January 23, 2024
Speaking to The Pillar on the occasion of the anniversary of the FBI memo, Johnson said,
In my previous career, I was a religious liberty defense lawyer and I would go to court all the time in federal court around the country defending the rights of people of faith to just simply maintain their right of conscience, their right of belief, their right to practice and act upon their beliefs. And this flies right in the face of all of that.
The idea is alarming that the FBI, the most powerful law enforcement agency in the federal government, would engage in a program to recruit Catholic parishioners to spy on people next to them in the pews because of their viewpoint is just frightening.
It violates, undermines, these essential fundamental freedoms that we have as American people, and it looks very much like what we used to refer to as “viewpoint discrimination” in the courts, where the government takes adverse action against people because of their religious beliefs. And that’s exactly what this looks and sounds like, and that’s why I believe it got so much attention.
I believe that all people, all leaders, all people of faith, should let their voices be heard on this. I mean, it is something that really has to be addressed, and I am comforted that my colleagues in the Congress, the Republicans, are sufficiently engaged on this and we’re trying to bring the appropriate amount of oversight to make sure this kind of outrageous activity never ever occurs again.
But it does raise a lot of alarm, and I think that all of us should address it in the most direct and aggressive manner that we can.
In December, the House Weaponization Committee published a report revealing that FBI employees were still discussing how to disseminate a bureau-wide memo identifying so-called “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology” as a magnet for “violent extremists.”
Dr. Robert Malone, one of the original inventors of mRNA vaccine technology and a strong critic of the governmental COVID response, commented at the time on the report, saying,
Personally, I find the FBI going after tradcaths and conducting ‘domestic violent extremism investigations against Catholic Americans exercising their First Amendment rights’ so abhorrent, I can barely write about it without my blood boiling.
The fact that the FBI is stonewalling this House Committee and will not answer how many FBI employees accessed critical documents before their removal and (will not?) confirm whether any outreach occurred to Catholic parishes as a result of the memorandum [is shocking]. That fact that this is not headline news is also pretty shocking.
While the FBI claims it ‘does not categorize investigations as domestic terrorism based on the religious beliefs — to include Catholicism — of the subject involved,’ an FBI-wide memorandum originating from the FBI’s Richmond Field Office did just that. Under the guise of tackling the threat of domestic terrorism, the memorandum painted so-called certain ‘radical-traditionalist Catholics’ (RTCs) as violent extremists and proposed opportunities for the FBI to infiltrate Catholic churches as a form of ‘threat mitigation.’ The FBI’s Richmond memorandum is a startling reminder that Americans’ civil liberties and core Constitutional rights must be vigorously guarded against government overreach, including in this case from an overzealous federal law enforcement agency.
In January 2023, former FBI agent turned whistleblower Kyle Seraphin released an eight-page internal document sent January 23, indicating the FBI in Richmond olanned to conduct surveillance to intercept “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” who have allegedly found common ground with “radical-traditionalist Catholic (RTC) ideology.”
The FBI backpedaled on the memo the day after the leak, saying the document failed to meet its “exacting standards.”
Despite the retraction, the memo sparked extensive backlash, earning the condemnation of Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, the editors of two Catholic news outlets named in the memo, The Remnant’s Michael Matt and Catholic Family News’ Brian McCall, and the attorneys general of 19 states.