House Speaker Mike Johnson and two other Republican members backed a Latin Mass held in the U.S. Capitol, exactly one year after an FBI memo linked traditionalist Catholics to ‘violent extremism.’ The memo, leaked from the FBI’s Richmond office, prompted outrage among traditional Catholics, who felt unfairly equated with domestic terrorists. Meanwhile, Ryan Ellis, treasurer of the Arlington Latin Mass Society, stated that this event, supported by around 60 to 70 attendees, affirms that traditional Catholics are as fully American as anyone else.
While no members of the Congress attended due to recess, Ellis said some staffers were present. Yet, the event was selectively publicised to ensure it remained discreet against a backdrop of scepticism concerning the traditional Latin Mass, following Pope Francis’ apostolic letter, Traditionis Custodes and subsequent clarification from the Holy See.
The controversial FBI memo linked Catholic ideologies with potentially violent extremism, predicting growing interest ahead of the next general elections. The memo identified several Catholic-tied organizations on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups, triggering a wave of pushback and prompting a lengthy investigation by the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.