SPLC Changes Number of ‘Radical Traditional Catholic Hate Groups’ in Latest ‘Hate Map’ After FBI Backlash

by Typer O’Neil


You may have heard that, early last year, the FBI issued a memo targeting Catholics—specifically “radical traditional Catholics”—that relied on the work of the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center. The FBI rushed to rescind the memo on Catholics after a whistleblower published it and The Daily Signal demanded answers.

This week, the SPLC released its annual list of “hate groups” and the “radical traditional Catholic” category remains.

The SPLC releases a list of “hate groups” and “antigovernment extremist groups” each year, putting the listed organizations on a map with chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. As I explained in my book “Making Hate Pay,” the list has two purposes: It’s a scam to terrify donors into ponying up cash and it acts as a defamation tool, smearing the SPLC’s political and ideological opponents.

This year, the SPLC claimed to have “documented the highest number of active anti-LGBTQ+ and white nationalist groups we have ever recorded.” The topline number of 1,430 hate and antigovernment groups marks a record for the “hate map,” which began including antigovernment groups in last year’s map (covering 2022).

The report accompanying the “hate map” stretches to 72 pages, but it only once explains the “radical traditional Catholic hate group” label. “For ‘radical traditionalist’ Catholics, antisemitism is an inextricable part of their theology,” the report states. “They subscribe to an ideology that is rejected by the Vatican and some 70 million mainstream American Catholics.”

The report does not address the FBI memo.

However, the list of “radical traditional Catholic hate groups” has one fewer entry on the 2023 “hate map.”

A group called Catholic Apologetics International—which the Southern Poverty Law Center has considered a “radical traditional Catholic hate group” since 2007 and which appeared in the FBI memo—disappeared from the 2023 list to no fanfare.

This change comes after The Daily Signal reported that the organization no longer exists.

Michael J. Matt, whose newspaper appears on the “hate map” under the name “The Remnant/The Remnant Press,” told The Daily Signal last year that the SPLC’s list of “radical traditional Catholic hate groups” not only is egregiously false but extremely outdated.

“There has been an explosion of traditional Catholic groups since Pope Benedict XVI brought back the Latin Mass. None of the new groups who are in positions of real influence are targeted in the [FBI] memo,” Matt explained in May 2023. Meanwhile, the FBI memo included many Catholic groups Matt described as “defunct.”

Robert Sungenis, founder of Catholic Apologetics International, had told Matt that “the organization is done now,” Matt told The Daily Signal at the time.

Although the SPLC released an updated list on June 6, 2023, that list applied to 2022. The new list, accounting for 2023, no longer includes Catholic Apologetics International, likely due to The Daily Signal’s reporting.

Matt described Christ or Chaos as a “completely defunct” website run by two people. The SPLC’s updated website for “radical traditional Catholicism” quotes a February 2023 blog post from the website.

Matt said E. Michael Jones, who runs the “hate group” Culture Wars, “is not a Latin Mass Catholic at all.”

Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the town of Richmond, New Hampshire, is a monastery also known as Saint Benedict Center. The monastery took inspiration from the late Father Leonard Feeney, who reportedly published material warning about a Jewish conspiracy to undermine Catholicism. Saint Benedict Center’s website mentions Jews, but mostly in the context of attempting to convert them to Catholicism.

Much of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s attack comes down to a mistaken view of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), Matt argued.

“The SPLC are huge defenders of the Second Vatican Council, saying the Catholic Church was antisemitic, full of hate,” he said. “So, anybody who likes the old Latin Mass, that’s just code for hate, especially antisemitism. That’s the broad brush that they paint traditional Catholics with.”

The SPLC claims it doesn’t demonize all Latin Mass Catholics, but only “a small subset … whose rejection of Vatican II is rooted in antisemitism.”

The SPLC has repeatedly attacked the Society of Saint Pius X, a traditional international priestly society that comprises almost 700 priests and supports the Latin Mass, accusing it of supporting antisemitism.

“The SSPX also continues to reject antisemitism as anti-Catholic, as we say in no unclear terms,” SSPX Communications Director James Vogel told The Daily Signal, citing the society’s statement on antisemitism.

The FBI discovered “radical traditional Catholics” because a convicted felon whom the FBI had been monitoring due to his threats of violence attended a traditional Catholic church. Had the SPLC found any connection between this individual and the “radical traditional Catholic” groups, it likely would have trumpeted that connection in the report on 2023 “hate groups.”

By the SPLC’s logic, any Catholic organization dedicated to the official teaching outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church could be considered a “hate group.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center branded the Ruth Institute an “anti-LGBTQ+ hate group” in part because its founder, Jennifer Roback Morse, called homosexual activity “intrinsically disordered,” pulling a direct quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In doing so, the SPLC implied that the official teaching of the Catholic Church is “hateful” enough to brand an organization preaching it an “anti-LGBTQ+ hate group.”

The Ruth Institute remains on the SPLC’s 2023 “hate map.”

The SPLC’s “anti-LGBTQ+ hate group” label inspired a terrorist attack in 2012, when a gunman used the “hate map” to target the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. The SPLC also faces a defamation lawsuitfrom one group on its “hate map,” and a judge has allowed that lawsuit to enter the discovery process.

Perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center will remove even more of the “radical traditional Catholic hate groups” from the list next year. If so, it likely will “find” more “anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups” to keep the numbers up.

After all, the SPLC leadership wouldn’t want donors to think the organization is actually effective at decreasing “hate” across the U.S., would they?

– – –

Tyler O’Neil is managing editor of The Daily Signal
Photo “Traditional Latin Mass” by Servants of the Holy Family. CC BY 4.0.




Appeared at and reprinted from DailySignal.com

Related posts