Image: NEW YORK – MARCH 17, 2016: Timothy Cardinal Dolan Archbishop of New York waves to parade marchers in front of St Patrick’s Cathedral on Saint Patrick’s Day in Manhattan on March 17, 2016.
CV NEWS FEED // Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who serves as the U.S. Bishops’ chairman for religious liberty, criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) this week over a leaked internal memo that targeted Catholics.
Dolan condemned racism and the promotion of violence by anyone, Catholic or otherwise, who rejects “Catholic teaching on the inherent dignity of each and every person.” “The USCCB roundly condemns such extremism and fully supports the work of law enforcement officials to keep our communities safe,” Dolan said.
However, Dolan wrote, “I agree with my brother Bishop Barry Knestout [of Richmond, VA] that the leaked memorandum was nonetheless ‘troubling and offensive’ in several respects – such as in its religious profiling and reliance on dubious sourcing – and am glad it has been rescinded.”
Dolan concluded by exhorting federal law enforcement “to take appropriate measures to ensure the problematic aspects of the memo do not recur in any of their agencies’ work going forward.”
Cardinal Dolan’s comments on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) lend considerable weight to a growing outcry against the Biden administration’s federal law enforcement agencies for targeting Catholics – which grew in intensity following the leak earlier this month of an FBI memo identifying “radical-traditionalist Catholics” as “extremists.”
“The memo implies that the FBI under the Biden administration has infiltrated Catholic groups and is already spying on their activities,” said CatholicVote President Brian Burch after the initial leak. “How do they justify this? They cite the SPLC as their primary source in claiming that ‘radical’ Catholics could soon become violent – and thus the FBI should begin a surveillance program on Catholic organizations.”
As CatholicVote reported:
The SPLC keeps a searchable list of “hate groups” on its website. In 2012, gunman Floyd Lee Corkins II opened fire at the offices of the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, DC., and later told law enforcement that he found the group and gained inspiration for the attack through the SPLC’s website.
The FBI retracted the controversial memo within 24 hours of it being revealed to the public. But the damage to public trust in the agency was already done.
Within a week, attorneys general from 20 states had written a strongly-worded letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI director Christopher Wray confronting the Biden administration over the memo.
“We write with outrage and alarm to address the anti-Catholic internal memorandum produced by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office on January 23, 2023, which was released to the public this week,” the letter said:
The FBI must immediately and unequivocally order agency personnel not to target Americans based on their religious beliefs and practices. We also demand that the FBI produce publicly all materials relating to the memorandum and its production.
“Anti-Catholic bigotry appears to be festering in the FBI, and the Bureau is treating Catholics as potential terrorists because of their beliefs,” the letter stated.
In addition, CatholicVote sent its own letter – this one to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan – calling for an immediate investigation into what Burch called the FBI’s “reckless actions.”
“This isn’t about ‘rad trads,’ Burch stated:
It’s not just about traditional Catholics who love ancient liturgy. And it’s certainly not about violence… or anything else the FBI should be working on. This memo is about silencing Catholics like you and me because we are part of the peaceful resistance pushing back against Joe Biden’s abortion extremism, attacks on parents, and radical trans and LGBT agenda.
Readers interested in reading and cosigning CatholicVote’s letter to Chairman Jordan can find it here.