The Catholic Church is heeding federal law enforcement’s warning that a radical group is “calling for extreme violence” against churches nationwide in response to the Supreme Court‘s expected reversal of abortion rights.
An internal document obtained by Newsweek outlines intelligence shared by the Department of Homeland Security with the Catholic Church of a planned “Night of Rage,” targeting churches and pregnancy centers over their opposition to abortion rights. The document sheds light on how law enforcement and the church are bracing for backlash after a leaked opinion showed the Supreme Court preparing to rescind federal abortion rights.
Labeled an “urgent memo,” the document is from the Diocese of Stockton, California, and is directed to all clergy, as well as parish and pastoral staff. The memo states that Jesse Rangel, a DHS agent, told the diocese that federal law enforcement has discovered a manifesto from an “extremist group” calling for attacks on churches beginning at 8 p.m. the evening the court issues its opinion.
The memo does not describe the specific threats facing churches, but states that Rangel told the diocese that “large groups with cells nationwide have already been discovered ‘casing’ parishes, including here in California.” The diocese’s leadership has issued a “critical notice” for clergy, parishes and pastoral center staff to “develop a plan should you see or hear anything suspicious.”
“Make sure you have ushers and or security available during your services and perhaps identify who among your volunteers and parishioners are law enforcement,” the memo continues. “Suspicious activity would include someone asking out of place questions (Largest Mass times? Doors always open? Do you have security?), looking around church property, protestors, and general disturbances.”