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Tim Kaine Supports FBI Monitoring Of Catholic Churches

Holland McKinnie
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Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has voiced his support for the FBI’s investigation into Catholic parishes in his state. The FBI’s Richmond division has been accused of infiltrating Catholic communities to monitor potential extremism, specifically traditional Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass. The agency believes that this demographic may be harboring white supremacist sentiments.

In a recent interview with a local ABC affiliate, Kaine suggested that the controversy was likely a misunderstanding. He encouraged the FBI to communicate with church leaders. He expressed the importance of working together to prevent unwitting involvement in extremist activities. The senator noted that the FBI had conducted similar surveillance operations in American Muslim communities for years, collaborating with mosques to address radicalization concerns.

Former FBI Special Agent Kyle Seraphin brought the issue to light in February, warning that the FBI aimed to mitigate the threat of “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” by recruiting sources within the Catholic Church. Seraphin’s revelations led House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to issue a subpoena to FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier this month.

Critics argue that this investigation crosses a line by infringing on Americans’ First Amendment rights, potentially targeting traditional religious practices based on shared beliefs with conservatives on abortion, immigration, and LGBTQ protections. This concern extends beyond the Catholic Church, as the same logic could be applied to other denominations like Baptists, Lutherans, and Evangelicals.

The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, a powerful organization with a budget exceeding $200 million, has remained notably silent on the issue. Only one U.S. bishop, Barry Knestout, spoke out one week after the whistleblower report in February.

An intelligence document released in January by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office outlined the perceived threat of “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics,” alleging that these individuals adhere to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideologies. However, the document does not provide specific evidence supporting these claims. It relies on controversial leftist sources such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, Salon, and The Atlantic.

As the FBI moves forward with its investigation into Catholic parishes, it is vital to consider the potential consequences of targeting religious groups based on shared beliefs with conservatives. Moreover, ensuring that the agency stays within its boundaries and upholds Americans’ First Amendment rights is essential to protecting the freedoms and values that define the United States.