I still think people should avoid TFP


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.


Thank you for speaking out. From our encounters with them in the past, I have found your reporting on them to be very accurate.

They also avoid using the term "Catholic" in any of the titles they use because they are not an officially recognized Catholic organization, thus you will see them using the varied titles "American Needs Fatima," "The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property," and one I came across called "Western Hemisphere Cultural Society."

"They also avoid using the term "Catholic" in any of the titles they use because they are not an officially recognized Catholic organization..."
Well, at least they have some level of honesty...

I believe that there is something in canon law which says that the title "Catholic" cannot be used by an organization unless said organization is approved by the local bishop.

If someone could provide the exact canon, I would be very much appreciative.

If I find it in the meantime, I will also post it.

Also remember: they steal vocations. They have summer camps for boys and very often those boys become involved with TFP and decide to join them. But that means you belong to them, you don't leave them and you live with them in a life of celibacy. Any group who asks for celibacy had damned well better be a recognized Catholic religious order or the local diocesan priesthood. Otherwise you're just a kook group who is pretending to be priest-like.

After the entire lc/rc filthy mess, I wouldn't go anywhere near these guys.

Well, there are a lot of sections in the Code Of Canon Law that deal with associations of the Christian Faithful, but I had this one highlighted (probably because of my prior research into the TFP). I'm not sure if they are considered a "public" or "private" association though.

Can. 299: 3) No private association of the Christian faithful in the Church is recognized unless its statutes are reviewed by competent authority.

Can. 300: No association shall assume the name "Catholic" without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority, in accord with the norm of can. 312.

And to give a brief overview of Canon 312:

The authorities competent to erect public associations (I'm assuming this would also include p

The authorities competent to erect public associations are:

1) The Holy See; 2) the conference of bishops in their own territory; 3) the diocesan bishop in his own territory.

Can. 312 also states that the written consent would be required for the valid erection of an association or a branch of an association in a diocese, even if this is done in virtue of apostolic privilege.

I'm not a canon lawyer, but my guess is they have the organization has their own to advise them on what they can/can't do.

Something hit a snag.

I meant to write:

"And to give a brief overview of Canon 312:

The authorities competent to erect public associations (I'm assuming this would also include private associations as well)."

Sorry for any confusion.

Thank you, Richard.

So what is the legitimacy of the American branch of the TFP?

If you want insights into TFP, E. Michael Jones did some articles several years ago: Check his Culture Wars website for any of them.
Stay away from TFP; right on, R.!

Neither. They are not a catholic association at all. In fact they runing into big problems because they are messing with a real religious order who had at one point similar ideals, but then the whole problem of getting bad ideas and not wanting to obey the Church, a thing Prof. Plinio C. de Oliveira never wanted caused them to separate. All the contrary, he said that disobedience to the Pope and the hiearchy is as good cutting oneself from the vine and bound to die. This always happends. Some people want to intrepert a great soul's ideas according to their own wishes and some want to be faithful to the voice of the Church and to Her doctrine as explained by a faithful son of the Church.

Here is an official communication:


The American TFP is no good. The Brazillian TFP is finally in the hands of the ones faithful to the Pope again.

My only experience with TFP is that they're always at the national March for Life but they're one of those groups that are obviously there only to be seen. Something about them always gets my spidey sense going (and after the LC/RC debacle, I've learned to listen to my spidey sense). Thanks for confirming.

Did you contact the TFP and ask them for answers to these questions? It would seem like the thing to do. I know for a fact that Cardinal Alfonse Stickler wrote a glowing preface to the biography of Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira "The Crusader of the XX Century" by Prof. De Mattei. Vatican Cardinals are not fooled into just supporting groups without good reason, as some of these entries suggest.

And by the way, the title of this blog uses the word "Catholic." Does that mean this blog was approved by a bishop?

So I guess if we follow the logic of Bishop Castro Mayer, the early Franciscans were wrong in following St. Francis, since he was just a layman...

Say Richard, do you have any more up to date information regarding TFP?

That stuff from the 80's is pathetic, I mean, I've seen it before, and it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Look what happened to Bishop Meyer with the Lefevrist schism, and John Armor -- come on, he's just a sad case of lack of personality. Do you really find merit there? Why didn't he stand up them back then (1981!).

Now, the exploitation sounds scary. Do you have some hard evidence there? Let's get 'em!

And those priests who don't know the whole truth, shouldn't we help them out? Who are they? We need to get moving before those "moonies" make headway.

Let's get the edge on them because I heard they are growing fast.


From http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=2747852&postcount=44
Catholic Answers recently contacted the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for an update on the status of Tradition, Family, and Property (the organization that sponsors America Needs Fatima), and was told that this group - their national headquarters is located in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania - has a good relationship with the diocese. To the knowledge of the person we spoke with, the diocese has not received negative reports about their activities. We also were told that once a year the Bishop of Harrisburg grants TFP permission to use a local parish for the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass. The spokesperson added that the presider is a Maronite priest, who is in good standing with the Diocese of Brooklyn.

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