Thursday, May 23, 2024

Pro-Life Group Challenges Biden Administration’s Targeting of Traditional Catholics

A pro-life organization, Priests for Life, has taken action against what it perceives as the Biden administration's unjust scrutiny of "traditional Catholics" by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Justice. The request aims to uncover details surrounding the retracted report from federal law enforcement labeling "radical-traditionalist Catholics" as potential terror threats.

Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life and former Catholic priest, expressed concerns about the administration’s focus on pro-life individuals and traditional Catholics. Pavone emphasized the need to understand how taxpayer dollars are utilized to target such groups and activists.

The controversy arose earlier this year when the FBI’s Richmond Field Office circulated a memo identifying “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology” as a national security threat. Republicans in Congress, along with whistleblowers, have raised awareness about the FBI targeting traditional Catholics, sometimes involving pastors and Diocesan church officials.

Priests for Life, assisted by the American Freedom Law Center, filed the FOIA request to obtain information on the memos and communications related to pursuing American citizens based on their religious beliefs. Rob Muise, co-founder and senior counsel for the AFLC, accused President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland of weaponizing the Department of Justice to target law-abiding citizens due to their political beliefs.

The memo in question outlined the “interest of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) in radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology.” However, the document’s definition of “radical-traditionalist” Catholics included characteristics such as the rejection of the Second Vatican Council, disdain for certain popes, and adherence to specific ideologies.

While the FBI acknowledged that the document did not meet its standards and took corrective action, advocacy groups like Priests for Life and CatholicVote have criticized the federal government’s response as inadequate. CatholicVote previously sued the FBI and the Department of Justice for failing to comply with FOIA requests promptly.

The investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee revealed that the FBI’s Richmond Field Office collaborated with multiple offices nationwide when compiling the memo on “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology.” The ongoing controversy raises questions about the administration’s approach to religious freedom and the perceived targeting of specific faith-based communities.

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