Perhaps you’ve heard that the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland will soon be upon us.

Perhaps you’ve also heard what that agreement was about. From what I understand there might have been an issue or two between the Catholics and Protestants in that area.

Yet I also read a positively outrageous article recently under the headline “Disbelief as Christians Targeted,” which added, “FBI eyed ‘threat’ of Catholics.”

This would seem to imply that these people might possibly pose some kind of threat. 

When it is obvious to anyone choosing not to pay any attention to history at all that good Christians would never pose a threat to anyone.


“Carol Rhodes, a member of a conservative Catholic media organization based outside Detroit, was shocked recently to learn that her group was one of nine traditional Catholic groups being cited by the FBI as radical and extremist,” the New York Post noted last week.

“We’re very peaceful,” Rhodes, a member of the traditional Catholic media site Church Militant, told the Post. “This is crazy and doesn’t make any sense.”

Duh. What part of “militant” do you not equate with peace, love, and harmony?

The Post story continued, “An eight-page dossier leaked by former FBI agent Kyle Seraphin earlier this month indicated that the FBI’s Richmond, Va., office, at the behest of the Department of Justice, was going after ‘radical traditionalist’ Catholics and their possible ties to ‘the far-right white nationalist movement.’”

Seraphin leaked the memo to a site called, where he wrote, “The FBI’s Richmond Division would like to protect Virginians from the threat of ‘white supremacy,’ which it believes has found a home within Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass.” 

The print and online editions of this Post story included photos of Mel Gibson, a famous “rad trad” Catholic who has starred in movies like The Passion of the Christ. And the Lethal Weapon series. Which have nothing at all to do with violence or blood.

I can do this all day, but I think you get the point by now.

Obviously, the idea of the federal authorities snooping around the local Knights of Columbus or AOH hall is a little funny, and ultimately a very big waste of time.

That a “conservative Catholic” might have crossed online paths with some Q-Anon types does not merit an FBI probe.

But it is a sign of our kind of funny, ultimately scary times, that Catholic feathers might be ruffled at the mere suggestion that their faith of peace, love, and Father Coughlin would ever have anything to do with anything untoward, much less violent!

Child abuse, for the record, is kind of violent. And so is accommodating its perpetrators.

And that doesn’t even get us into what happened in Northern Ireland for a few decades. Or the wink-wink support this, uh, explosive issue received in various aforementioned KofC and AOH halls.

And while we’re at it, now that parade season is upon us, take a really close look at some of the banners at your local St. Patrick’s day march. Or up and down Fifth Avenue on March 17.

They don’t all remind you to “Love Your Neighbor,” or that “Guinness Is Good.”

And when you're done with that, Google “Christian Front.” And brew up a pot of tea to read about their frightening activities in Boston and Brooklyn.

It is a good thing, by the way, that such disturbing events – from the U.S. to Belfast – have gone away. It is a very bad thing that so many people have either chosen to forget about this or never learned about this in the first place.

Because of all the problems facing America these days, many can be symbolized by another creature you might see on Fifth Avenue in a few weeks. A horse.

So many people these days are up on their high horses, preaching and outraged, righteous and angry.

Some things are indeed worth getting worked up over.

Sometimes, though, you just fall off the horse.

(On Twitter and Instagram: @TomDeignan)

*This column first appeared in the February 22 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.