T.F.P. meets with problems  

by Miguel Martinez


TFP ("Tradition Family and Property") considers itself to be engaged in a mortal conflict with the Left. It consequently tends to depict any trouble it may get into, simply as the violent reaction of the "Revolution" against its heroic opponents, a notion which Introvigne has translated into the fiction of the "anti-cult movement". 

Actually, opposition to T.F.P. has come mostly from parents of T.F.P. members, themselves usually Catholic traditionalists, and from conservative and traditionalist Catholic quarters. 

There are several reasons for this. In the first place, outside of Latin America, TFP generally keeps a low profile or operates through front organizations which the left usually does not understand. Skinhead-scalpers will turn elsewhere when they find a group like TFP whose writings are difficult to read, which is generally unobtrusive, and was founded by a man who sympathized for the British conservatives during the War (so much so that they took a pro-British stance during the Falkland War). TFP always viewed Fascism, with its optimistic cult of the State and the Nation, as a deviant form of "revolutionary socialism". 

Another reason is that TFP is actually far to the right of virtually every other right-wing organization. Whatever feelings people may actually harbour deep down, I know of no other right-wing organization which publicly holds that the rich are better than the poor. Even the most extreme Catholic traditionalists tend to blame the modern world on "International Freemasonry" or on "the banker Mafia", whereas TFP puts the blame squarely on the rebellious poor, to whom it opposes its self-styled "rightism". 

The third reason is doctrinal. Catholic traditionalists have problems with the "official" Church because of its supposed doctrinal deviation; but TFP is only interested in fighting agrarian reform, not in doctrine, which is why it was able to accept Vatican II and the reform of the liturgy. After all, the Pope has more battalions than Monsignor Lefèbvre ever had. 

Also, Plinio's denial of the future role of priests - and the exclusion in the present of priests from all the more secret aspects of the group - led Monsignor Castro de Mayer, for decades Plinio's patron among the Brazilian bishops, to state: 

"TFP is a heretical sect since, although they do not say so in words or in writing, lives and acts according to a principle which undermines the very basis of all true Christianity, that is the Catholic church". 
  
(Tradizione Famiglia Proprietà: Associazione cattolica o setta millenarista?, Rimini 1996, p. 6)
  


The extent of TFP's doctrinal deviation can be seen from the following document. I apologize to Catholic readers for including it, since it sounds very much like some of the more ribald songs nineteenth-century anticlericals used to sing after having had a drink too many. This "hymn" is however serious: a parody on one of the most revered hymns to the Virgin in the Catholic tradition, this is dedicated to Dona Lucilia, the mother of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira: 

Lady Lucilia, pray for us  
Mother of Mister Doctor Plinio, pray for us  
Mother of the Doctor of the Church, pray for us  
Mother of our Father, pray for us  
Mother of the Unspeakable, pray for us  
Mother of all of us, pray for us  
Mother of the coming centuries, pray for us  
Mother of the Axiological Principle, pray for us  
Mother of the Temperament of Synthesis, pray for us  
Mother of all purity, pray for us  
Mother of the Trans-sphere, pray for us  
Mother of Seriousness, pray for us  
Mother of the Counter-Revolution, pray for us  
Restorer of Temperaments, pray for us  
Source of Light, pray for us  
Procreator of Innocence, pray for us  
Preserver of Innocence, pray for us  
Consoler of Mister Doctor Plinio, pray for us  
Mediator of the Grand Retour, pray for us  
Mediator of all our graces, pray for us  
Dawn of the Kingdom of Mary, pray for us  
Lady Lucilia of the smile, pray for us  
Lady Lucilia of Flashes*, pray for us  
Most beautiful flower of all, pray for us  
Our refuge, pray for us  
Our consoler, pray for us  
Our help in the Bagarre, pray for us  
Reason of our perseverance, pray for us  
Vase of logic, pray for us  
Vase of metaphysics, pray for us  
Martyr of isolation, pray for us  
Queen of serene suffering, pray for us  
Queen of loveliness, pray for us  
Queen of serenity, pray for us  
Lady Lucilia, our Mother and Lady, help us  
Lady Lucilia, our greatest mediator before the Virgin, help us  

* In English 
  

  


The most extraordinary claim here is also the most obscure, "Mother of the Axiological Principle": this means a principle requiring no previous principle, in other words God himself. 

This hymn came into public domain when it was revealed by Prof. Orlando Fedeli, a member of TFP for over 30 years, who asked Mons. Antonio de Castro Mayer for his opinion on its orthodoxy. One can see where the roots of Introvigne's dislike for "apostates" lies. TFP did not deny the allegation; it simply shifted the blame on over-zealous young followers, and claimed the hymn to be perfectly orthodox ((Carlo Alberto Agnoli e Paolo Taufer, TFP: la maschera e il volto, Ed. Adveniat, S.Giustina di Rimini, s.d., p. 17 ss). - shifting the blame onto the boys is a time-honoured practice in certain kinds of organizations. It also claimed that use of the hymn had long been discontinued. The current official version of this issue is given by Roberto de Mattei in his hagiography of Doctor Plinio (Roberto de Mattei, Il crociato del secolo XX: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Piemme, Casale Monferrato, 1996, p. 249):  

"It is true that for a certain period some co-operators of the association used a litany with invocations to Lady Lucilia, composed by two adolescents late in 1977. This litany was forbidden by Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira as soon as he got word of it" 


Oddly, this hymn by Brazilian adolescents seems to have spread across the ocean, since it was certainly used in France in the early '80s, and a former AC member recently told me that some TFP affiliates were still using it in Italy in the early '90s. When nothing else works, shocked TFP sympathizers who discover this hymn are told that "things are different in Latin America": this happened to be a favourite stratagem in my group, New Acropolis, which came from Latin America too. 

If Plinio's mother is the Virgin Lucilia, her offspring of course must be quite special. Just how special appears from an extraordinary episode, which can hardly be blamed on over-zealous adolescents, since it is based on a statement made by Plinio, repeated in many works on him, and - as usual - proudly narrated in Cristianità. ("In memoriam: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira", November-December 1995, p. 6): 

"On February 1st, 1975, in view of the increasingly difficult situation of the Catholic Church, and hence of the Catholic world, during a meeting of the Brazilian TFP, he offered himself as an expiatory victim. Thirty-six hours later he was seriously wounded in a car accident, the consequences of which followed him until his death" 


More than its political character, it was this highly suspect theological nature of the group which led to its condemnation by the Council of Brazilian bishop 

"During its 23rd plenary assembly, the Council of Brazilian bishops approved a note concerning the 'Brazilian Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property', advising Catholics not to join the above mentioned Society []. Its esoteric character, its religious fanaticism, the personality cult of the founder and of his mother, the abuse of the name of the Virgin Mary [] can absolutely not be approved of by the Church"  
  
(Osservatore Romano, July 7, 1985, p. 12, n. 408, weekly Spanish edition quoted in Tradizione Famiglia Proprietà: Associazione cattolica o setta millenarista?, Rimini 1996, frontispiece)
  


The terms "cult" or "sect", with their double meaning of "deviant religious behaviour compared to an institutional religion" and a "closed totalist group", are certainly ambiguous. But this condemnation of TFP reveals why the organization was certainly considered by some to be a "cult" in the first sense of the word; and why therefore this organization took a special interest in the issue of "cults" in 1985, that is exactly when Introvigne too started involving himself in this matter. 

Former TFP members have written that Plinio was well aware of this association. Referring to cult accusations, he used to tell them: 

"This must not come as a surprise; since you belong to TFP, you will be treated as if you belonged to a cult, by your very parents and friends! It will be terrible, and it will be hard indeed to stay faithful." 
  
(Tradizione Famiglia Proprietà: Associazione cattolica o setta millenarista?, Rimini 1996, p. 38)
  


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