Bill Donohue

We sent the following letter to Rep. Jim Jordan today (we urge you to contact his communications director, Russell Dye:

July 26, 2023

Hon. Jim Jordan
Committee on the Judiciary
2056 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-3504

Dear Chairman Jordan:

In my letter of July 24, emailed to you that day, I asked that you follow through in your pursuit of having FBI Director Christopher Wray submit documents you requested regarding the agency’s probe of Catholics. You did just that: On July 25, he handed over documents pertaining to this issue. It is reported that your team will now review the documents and then decide what to do next.

I commend you for your work. Finally, Catholics have someone who listens to their concerns and acts on them.

In Wray’s July 25 letter to you, he asks the House Judiciary Committee not to publicly disclose information in the documents without prior consultation with the FBI. I trust you will act prudently. In your review of the documents, I would like to raise some questions relevant to this inquiry that are of importance to the Catholic community. It is my hope that the FBI will release information that satisfies my concerns.

We know from a January 23 internal memo that the FBI’s Richmond Field Office was conducting an investigation of “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics,” particularly those who prefer the “Traditional Latin Mass.” At least one undercover agent was involved.

Question 1: On what basis did the FBI conclude that these Catholics warranted a probe? Do they have a history of violence? If so, where is the evidence? If not, why were they singled out?

In your April 10 letter to Wray, you comment on FBI documents you received on March 23. What you said about the FBI’s probe of “mainline Catholics” was especially disturbing.

“The FBI similarly noted two other opportunities to engage in outreach with religious institutions in the Richmond area, citing a desire ‘to sensitize the congregation to the warning signs of radicalization and enlist their assistance to serve as suspicious activity tripwires.’ This outreach plan even included contacting so-called ‘mainline Catholic parishes,’ and the local ‘diocesan leadership.’”

Question 2: On what basis did the FBI decide it was necessary to enlist “mainline Catholics” to spy on their fellow parishioners? Where is the evidence that ordinary practicing Catholics pose a security threat to the United States or to other law-abiding Americans? How common is it for FBI agents to infiltrate houses of worship—of any religion—employing  “tripwire sources”?

Thank you for your efforts. If there is anything the Catholic League can do to be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


William A. Donohue, Ph.D.

cc: Christopher Wray

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