On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed records from FBI Director Christopher Wray as part of its investigation into the bureau’s handling of an intelligence assessment from the Richmond field office that recommended agents infiltrate traditionalist Catholic churches to look for domestic violent extremism, CBS News reported.
In his letter to Wray, Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan said information already received by the committee showed that the Richmond field office “relied on at least one undercover agent” in producing its assessment which proposed that agents “develop sources” within church leadership and the clergy “to inform on Americans practicing their faith.”
In the intelligence assessment, which was first revealed in February by former FBI agent-turned-whistleblower Kyle Seraphin on the blog UncoverDC, the Richmond field office claimed that Roman Catholics who prefer that Mass be celebrated in Latin could be linked to violence and white supremacy.
In compiling its assessment, the Richmond field office used information from the far-left group the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list called, “Radical Traditional Catholicism Hate Groups.” It also cited articles from left-leaning websites including The Atlantic and Salon.
On Monday, Breitbart News posted a video on Twitter where the reporter asked one Latin Mass attendee, Fred Simon, how he would respond to the FBI considering those who attend Latin Mass extremists.
Simon told Breitbart that he would tell the FBI to come to a Latin Mass to see for themselves what it’s about, adding that the FBI should not listen to the SPLC.
The Roman Catholic Church celebrated mass in Latin since the third century. From 1570 until 1962, the Roman Catholic liturgy around the globe was in Latin. While it is still in use today, the Second Vatican Council placed certain restrictions on the Traditional Latin Mass.
When the intelligence assessment was first revealed, the FBI clarified that it was only circulated internally and said it did not meet the bureau’s “exacting standards.”