A friend asked today:
Does anybody see any problem with one becoming a Rosary Rally Captain [in the…] Public Square Rosary Crusade operated by The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). Does anyone on [this list…] know anything about this organization?
I advise people to steer clear of TFP.
Most of its activity in the US seems to be in two areas: organizing protests against anti-Catholic manifestations in society, and exploiting anti-Catholic manifestations in society to raise funds.
TFP started out well, but degenerated for a long time into a personality cult for its founder Plinio Correa de Oliveira (now deceased); he claimed prophetic powers and a grandiose role for himself in world history and even in salvation history. His followers wrote hymns about him and devotional prayers about his mother (!).
I would compare the group to the Moonies: a personality cult using religious elements for political purposes.
Here are two articles about TFP:
One by a former member, John Armour:
One by Rick Salbato, who writes about Catholic fringe movements:
For TFP’s official status: in Brazil, where it was founded, the bishops’ conference warned Catholics not to join or support it, in 1985. TFP defenders claim that this opposition stems from TFP’s opposition to then-trendy liberation theology.
However, traditionalists, including Lefebvrists, are equally adamant against the group. They got to see it up close when TFP cultivated relationships with them, until traditionalist leaders in Brazil such as the retired Bishop of Campos, Antonio de Castro Mayer, found out about Plinio’s secret doctrines. (See Bp. de Castro Mayer’s 1984 letter.)
Most people involved in TFP groups in the US, of course, including priests who might opine about it, have no idea of any of the above. It’s possible that the errors of the past have been eliminated in practice, but I think it would be better to organize Catholic lay apostolate in groups with no connection to the apparently heretical Plinio.