“America Needs Fatima”
A CULT USING THE FATIMA NAME
The America Needs Fatima campaign is wholly operated by an organization called The Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), founded in Brazil by Professor Plinio Correa De Oliveira in 1960.
Dr. Plinio claimed to have a “private, prophetic charism” enabling him to look at a young man’s face or photo and discern that the young man had “tao” (sometimes “tau”). The “tao” is considered to be a mark on the boy’s soul put there by the Virgin Mary to select him as one of her “warrior monks” or “militants.” Boys and young men possessing “tao” are told that to refuse this “vocation” is tantamount to condemning their own soul to hell. They are required to make vows of celibacy and obedience to TFP, a “vocation” higher than the vocation to married life or to the priesthood. To make them afraid to leave the group, stories are circulated throughout TFP of the horribly-violent, sudden deaths of ex-TFPers. Those who leave are called “apostates”, even if they remain faithful Catholics. This entire recruitment procedure is in violation of Canon Law 219 prohibiting any coercion in choosing or remaining in any state of life.
Before his death on October 3, 1995, Dr. Plinio often prophesied that he would see the battle of Armageddon within his own lifetime. His followers were kept in a constant state of agitation, expecting this cataclysmic event at any moment. The warrior monks are supposed to be key participants in Armageddon and the subsequent “Reign of Mary”. This false prophet was treated a “living saint”; his followers would bow in his presence, revere his personal belongings and compose hymns honoring him and his mother. Some militants chant a litany to Donna Lucilla, Dr. Plinio’s deceased mother, or substitute the name of Donna Lucilla for Mary and the name of Plinio for Jesus while reciting the Hail Mary
Nevertheless, TFP seemed so dedicated to spreading the Catholic faith (in particular devotion to Our Lady of Fatima) and also to fighting communism that many of the finest and most devout Catholic families in Brazil fell for the outward appearance of orthodoxy and enrolled their sons in schools and training centers run by TFP in Brazil. The result was so disastrous that on April, 18 1985 the NCBB (National Council of Brazilian Bishops) condemned the group and ordered Catholics to have nothing to do with it. The response of the group has been to claim that its anti-Communist stance prompted the bishops’ opposition, and that the condemnation was just an “unsigned note.” On the contrary: the condemnation was written on the letterhead of the NCBB and published in several of Brazil’s largest newspapers. It is the misleading teachings of the group and the damage it has done to Catholic families that prompted the bishops’ warning, which characterized the group as a “cult of personality ” (meaning that they are giving excessive or worshipful devotion to their leader) and also accused the group of “abusing the name of Holy Mary.” The official nature of the notice was subsequently confirmed by the Under-Secretary General of the Brazilian Conference, Fr. Valentini Netto December 8, 1995.
Meanwhile this group has spread to 25 countries and the same damage to souls and vocations is now becoming apparent in the US. Many good Catholics in this country have been misled into supporting TFP through one of its front campaigns, such as America Needs Fatima, which is currently the chief fund-raiser for the group. All moneys collected from the “free-will” offerings at the “Pilgrim Virgin” meetings go to TFP.
TFP cleverly organizes events that draw faithful, even prominent, Catholics into innocent association with the group. Photographs or endorsement letters are then produced to persuade other Catholics to lend their support or to convince them that TFP is a faithful Catholic group. But Catholics who have merely lost time or money in unknowingly supporting this cult are the lucky ones. Some families have lost their sons. Boys and young men who are selected for membership in the group soon learn to have contempt for their parents while also plying them with requests for money to support the work of the group. By demanding celibacy of lay members, the group robs these parents of grandchildren and robs the Church of strong Catholic husbands and fathers and of the Catholic children they would have produced.
Sometimes TFP recruits married men. They are instructed that their “tao” or “vocation” is a higher calling than their family life. The group makes heavy demands on their time. Observers and former members report that it is not unusual for a married man to spend every weekend working full-time for TFP. If his wife objects, she will be told that she “does not have the grace” to understand the TFP mission.
The “spiritual formation” that TFP gives to children unwittingly placed in its care fosters anti-clericalism and contempt for their fellow Catholics. They are urged to receive daily communion, but have scant regard for the Mass. TFP families and militants frequently wait outside reciting their trademark, rapid-fire Rosaries and come into Mass just in time to receive communion. They call Catholics who faithfully assist at Mass “white heretics”.
TFP exists, not to build up the body of Christ, but to perpetuate itself and further the self-aggrandizement of its leaders. Catholic youths who join TFP with the noble vision of defending of tradition, family and property end up separated from Catholic tradition, do not start families of their own and after the finest years of their young manhood are used up, find they have acquired no substantial property of their own. When they finally leave, often despairing, they are without money, education or marketable job experience. There is no doubt that this group is a destructive and insidious cult.
Question: I met some of the young men with the America Needs Fatima campaign. They were wholesome and sincere. How can you accuse such nice Catholics of being members of a cult?
Answer: TFPers are drawn from the “cream of the crop” of young Catholic men, well-brought-up and serious about their faith. Their own good qualities make them targets of the group’s recruitment and their own sincere desire to serve God makes them vulnerable to the lure of the group. In no way am I saying that there is anything evil or flawed about the character of the TFP rank and file. But they are trapped, believing that to leave is an act of apostasy that will endanger their souls. If the activities and mission of the group had genuine appeal to spiritually-inclined youths, it would not be necessary to manipulate them into joining or coerce them to make them stay. There are other legitimate Catholic groups that see no contradiction between promoting devotion to Mary while supporting traditional vocations to the priesthood or family life.
Question: What could possibly be wrong with traveling with a statue of Mary and gathering people to pray the Rosary?
Answer: Nothing. It is not the statue, the Rosary, or devotion to the Blessed Virgin that is at issue. But gathering people to pray the Rosary as a fund-raiser for a cult that is robbing the Church of vocations and secretly promoting the idolatrous admiration of a false prophet is indefensible.
Question: If this group is bad, why do I see them at Catholic conferences and Right-to-Life marches?
Answer: Where do you expect to find a cult group that wants to prey upon the best Catholic youths? Wouldn’t you expect to find them at places and events where they can impress Catholic parents with how good they are? They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, presenting a squeaky-clean front while hiding their real beliefs and objectives. – Matthew 7: 15.
Question: I have given money to America Needs Fatima and I feel totally betrayed on finding out what is really behind it. What should I do about it?
Answer: You can request that your donations be returned, though it is unlikely they will be. If the amount is substantial, you might consider suing them for false representation. They may settle with some individuals to avoid bad publicity. You might wish to channel your righteous indignation into warning other Catholics about them. Remember, this damaging group is wholly supported by faithful Catholics. Drying up their funding should severely curtail their operations.
Question: Even if they are a cult, couldn’t Mary be using them for some good purpose?
Answer: Mary and Jesus do not “use” people. They invite our free and willing service. They are never behind false prophecy, lies, manipulation, and coercion. (For the scriptural view of a false prophet, see Deuteronomy 18: 20-22) Rather, this cult is using the Blessed Virgin and exploiting the devotion that other Catholics have toward her for their own ends. We will exhibit true devotion to Mary by putting an end to this group’s advance in this country.
Bishops are not protecting their flocks (TFP)
I am mad as hell at most Bishops throughout the world. In time, over a period of three or four Newsletters, I will tell all the reasons. I have long list of the great things Pope John Paul II tried to do to save the Church but was completely ignored by most Bishops. These same un-cautious have no respect for the authority of other bishops and do not bother to look into the harm that comes to the people God gave to them to protect.
Condemned apparitions, movements and heresies already condemned in other dioceses move on to contaminate these stupid bishops’ people and they pay no attention to it and do not seem to care as long as they are not bothered.
This is only one of the many examples of how they are not protecting their flocks and do not seem to care. One of the most heavily condemned (and anti-Catholic) groups in the world is from Brazil and called “The Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property“.
No one who really knows the truth of this group (which is easy to know by calling their bishop) would think of them as anything but Satanic and nuts. However, they do not sell themselves around the world for what they really do; they pretend to be the voice of Fatima. You will only see them as “America Needs Fatima” and they are going around collecting money on the pretence that they are promoting Fatima. Learn the truth and then see if you can wake up your sleeping bishop.
The truth about “America Needs Fatima”
Originally Posted by CatholicSam
America Needs Fatima is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is a front for raising funds for the “Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property” organization which is indeed a cult. It started in Brazil.
It has been condemned by the National Council of Brazilian Bishops as a cult, and breaks Canon Law 219. The founder, Dr. Plinio Correa De Oliveira, claimed (he’s now deceased) to have a “private prophetic charism” and could tell a boy’s vocation, or what he called “tao” by looking at his face. He would then select young boys to be “Our Lady’s Warrior Monks” which the group considers to be a higher vocation than that of the married life or even the priesthood. Members do not attend Mass, but rather gather outside saying “rapid fire rosaries” until it’s time for Holy Communion. They refer to those who faithfully participate in Mass “White Heretics”. Some members will even go so far as to replace the words of the Hail Mary with Plinio’s name instead of Jesus and his mom, Donna Lucilla, instead of Mary. The group was also condemned by the Brazilian Bishops for “abuse of the Holy Name of Mary”.
PLEASE do NOT give money to this group! By all means, please do gather to say the Rosary on October 13, but do not do it in the name of “America Needs Fatima.” They try to show how good they are (heck, I just found out about this and had their pictures up in my house!), they use quotes from wonderful Saints and promote devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, which is a wonderful devotion. But all the funds raised go directly to the TFP, which is a cult and which we faithful Catholics should NOT be supporting. They are VERY deceptive!!
If any of you get “The Fatima Crusader” magazine from this group, you can see the article about the boys being taken away to be prepped as the bogus “Warrior Monks”.
Be Careful Conservative Catholics.
Many leaders of the American right are and have been Catholics, including William F. Buckley, Jr., Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Buchanan, and Paul Weyrich.
Weyrich organized a series of seminars in the early 1980s designed to teach conservative Catholics how to pressure progressive bishops on issues relating to war and peace, opposition to U.S. policy in Latin America, and support for the sanctuary movement. With the help of Cuban exile priest Enrique Rueda, an outspoken critic of liberation theology and a regular broadcaster on Radio Marti, Weyrich used the mailing list from the Wanderer and funds from Joseph Coors to create “truth squads” in cities with progressive bishops.
Seattle’s Raymond Hunthausen was the first to feel the scorpion’s sting. Petitions were circulated, letters were written, and Wanderer editorials regularly castigated Hunthausen for his alleged pro-communism. Rome responded quickly and eagerly to this campaign of vilification cooked up in Washington; in short order, Hunthausen was silenced and publicly humiliated.
All the above sounds great to us Conservative-Traditional Catholics, but do not look to fast.
Weyrich has also been quietly supporting a Brazilian-based group, Tradition, Family, and Property. Neo-fascist in orientation, TFP blends monarchism, mysticism, and zealous devotion to the group’s founder, Plinio Correa de Oliveira, with a rigid anti-communism and extreme anti-modernism.
TFP was founded with the aid of land-owning bishops opposed to Brazil’s agrarian reforms in the 1960s, and its members figure prominently in the Brazilian government and military. In other Latin American countries, TFP has been suspected of supporting political violence; in fact, Venezuela’s government has outlawed the group. Even other Catholic rightist organizations regard TFP as cult like.
In the early 1980s, Weyrich helped TFP organize a Washington press conference where U.S. and Brazilian representatives denounced land reform and attacked liberation theology as a form of banditry. In turn, TFP’s American branch, the Foundation for a Christian Civilization, honored Weyrich at a banquet held at its elegant estate, Our Lady of Good Success, in Bedford, New York. Later, at least according to Charles M. Wilson of the Saint Joseph Foundation of San Antonio, Texas, Weyrich forced the inclusion of TFP members in various “orthodox” Catholic roundtables and institutes, among them the Carroll Group and the Siena Group for Public Policy.
In a letter written to Fidelity magazine and published in its September 1989 issue, Wilson claimed that Weyrich had pulled a “railroad job” in getting TFP representatives involved in various projects over and against the sometimes strident objections of other organizations.
Fidelity, the monthly organ of the highly conservative Ultra-Montanists, criticized Tradition, Family, and Property in its May 1989 issue. Writer Thomas Case noted that, in the mid-1970s, TFP had been repeatedly accused by the Brazilian authorities of “inducement to flight, reckless transfer, and concealment of minors”–and this despite TFP’s own slavish devotion to the military regime.
Young men were alleged to have been deceitfully recruited by TFP, to be trained in their academies as “warrior monks” for the cause. According to the Brazilian government, TFP sought to obtain legal guardianship over the minor children of parents dedicated to TFP and then turned their sons against both them and the mainstream church, regarded by TFP loyalists as an institutional fraud.
TFP is so outlandish in its views that it regards the current papacy as “apostate” and only one generation removed from the biblical end of time. Even so, several of Weyrich’s closest associates, among them Connaught (“Connie”) Marshner, resigned from the board of Fidelity in anger over the magazine’s expose on TFP and its American affiliate.
These, then, are Weyrich’s associates on the fringes of Catholic anti-modernism. Indeed, Weyrich himself is so far removed from the Catholic mainstream that he fled to an ultra-traditionalist Byzantine Rite church, still technically within the pale of Rome’s jurisdiction. He continues to work closely with the evangelical Protestant right in this country, providing logistical support for ventures like the Christian Coalition.
Bishop on Tradition, Family and Property (America Needs Fatima)
Here is a letter from Bishop Castro De Meyer on the group (he worked with them for years):
This letter was published in the Campos daily, La Folha de Manhspan in 1991; the original text, however, is dated 1984, two years after Bishop de Castro Mayer’s break with TFP. It appeared in Le Sel de la Terre, [no. 28, Spring 1999], in an article entitled “Documents sur la T.F.P”.
I owe a response to your grieving letter of September 24, which, as the postmark indicates, you sent me on September 25. 
In this case, I can only offer the sole advice: pray, pray much, above all the Rosary or at least the five decades of the Rosary, asking the Virgin Mother, Mediatrix of all graces, to enlighten your son and make him see that TFP is an heretical sect because, in fact, although they do not say or write it, TFP lives and behaves in accord with a principle which fundamentally undermines the truth of Christianity, that is, of the Catholic Church.
In fact, it is de fide that Jesus Christ founded His Church — destined to maintain on earth the true worship of God and to lead souls toward eternal salvation — as an unequal society, composed of two classes: one which governs, teaches and sanctifies, composed of members of the clergy, and the other — the faithful — who receive the teaching, are governed and sanctified. This is a de fide dogma.
St. Pius X wrote that the Church is, in its very nature, an unequal society, meaning that it comprises two orders of persons: shepherds and flocks, those who belong to the various ranks of the Hierarchy and the faithful multitude. These two orders are so completely distinct that the Hierarchy alone has the right and authority to guide and govern the members to the Church’s ends, while the duty of the faithful is that of allowing themselves to be governed and to obediently follow the way given by the governing class (The Encyclical, “Vehementer”, February 11, 1906) .
And the entire history of the Church, as can be seen in the New Testament, attests to this truth as a fundamental dogma of the Church’s constitution. It was to the Apostles only that Jesus said: Go and teach all nations. Too, the Acts of the Apostles show us the life of the Church in the times following Jesus Christ.
Because of this, it is a heretical subversion to habitually follow a lay person, therefore, not a member of the Hierarchy— as the spokesman of orthodoxy. Thus, they do not look to what the Church says, what the Bishops say, rather what this or that one says…. Nor does it end there: this attitude — even if not openly avowed — actually positions the “leader” as the arbiter of orthodoxy, and is accompanied by a subtle but real mistrust of the hierarchy and of the clergy in general.
There is a visceral anticlericalism in TFP: everything that comes from the clergy is prejudicially received. Basically, it holds that all priests are ignorant, not very zealous or interesting, and have other such qualities. Well, then, keeping in mind the divine Constitution of the Church which was instituted by Jesus Christ, TFP’s habitual anti-clericalism, latent, makes it an heretical sect, and therefore, as I have said, is animated by a principle contrary to the dogma established by Jesus Christ in the constitution of His Church.
Nevertheless, TFP had a healthy beginning. There was a certain evolution of the apostolate carried out by the bi-weekly newspaper of the Marian Congregation of St. Cecelia, titled, O Legionario. As a serious and well intentioned movement, it sought to strengthen the intellectual and religious formation of the members of that Congregation and, consequently, of the bi-weekly’s readers. It was influential throughout Brazil. That was the era of [its] obedience to Monsignors Duarte and Leme.
I accompanied and approved its apostolate, also when it began to stray into an anticlerical spirit, which began by its consolidating its position and then reversing it by putting the clergy in tow behind a charismatic layman, with his monopoly on orthodoxy. Perhaps I gave it support beyond a licit point. I retracted it only when it became clear to me that my warnings were not being taken into consideration. They had become useless.
It is just to observe that the straying of certain members of the hierarchy …explains the TFP scandal, but it doesn’t justify the positions they came to take. Even less so, those of their leader, Plinio.
At this time, as I said at the beginning of this letter, the remedy is prayer. First, because without prayer nothing is obtained: Ask, Our Lord says, and you shall receive. It is necessary to pray, because charismatic fervor produces a certain fanaticism: individuals become incapable of seeing objective reality, of perceiving even fundamental errors, because of this inversion of following a lay person instead of the legitimate Shepherds of the Holy Church. So much more so when, as I have observed, members of the Hierarchy unfortunately and frequently utter words and take positions which any Catholic can see are dissonant from doctrine and from the guidance of the Church of the ages…..
I ask Our Lord that he grant you, and your entire family, a holy and happy Christmas and many years filled with God’s grace.
I ask that you pray for me, Servant in Christ-Jesus,
Antonio de Castro Mayer, Bishop Emeritus of Campos
“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)
This is second hand reference from a web blog, I couldn’t verify it. Be careful, these people can be a major pain.
-Peter, September 26, 2004
From the MotherOfGod2 blog to which I was subscribed:
America Needs Fatima [ANF] called me yesterday to ask if I would host the statue of Our Lady in my home. They come for 2 hours, have a slide presentation, pray a rosary, and talk to the kids about the Fatima message. I’ve heard good things about the actual visit / presentation, but I have reservations about ANF. I asked her directly on the phone yesterday whether they recognize and honor Pope BXVI, and she said, “of course.” My appt for the visit is Feb 13th. In your opinion, should I do the visit, or cancel? –kari
We’ve talked about ANF on this list before, and my impression (backed up by Dez) is that they are Rad-Trad-y. They claim to support the Pope, but Dez pointed out that many of the people in the org are RadTrad. I am trying to decide if I can look the other way, or if I should cancel. I have a friend that had them come and do the presentation. He said it was actually well done, and not heavy-handed or disrespectful of Rome. So I’m torn. Sounds like a good thing to invite a few friends to. -kari
America Needs Fatima. Actually, if you ask me; America needs Jesus the Christ… our Savior. I am not familiar with AMF. It’s on TFP’s site. While we’re into credential verification, anybody know about these folks? I like the fact that they’re taking the ‘Revolution’ to the streets and that they’ve accomplished many good things that many bishops have acknowledged as such. Yes, I am cautious, too, which is not a bad thing for me:
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is an organization of lay Catholic Americans concerned about the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization. Its origins date back to January 1971, when the first TFP members started to group around the publication Crusade for a Christian Civilization. Today, with over 120,000 active members, volunteers and donors, the TFP is on the front lines of the Culture War, peacefully defending the values of tradition, family and private ownership. -Jeannie
Correct. ‘America Needs Fatima’ is actually the primary fund-raising front of TFP – otherwise known as Tradition, Family & Property. TFP was begun in Brazil a number of years ago. I have intimate first hand knowledge of this group. Many of them are RadTrads. Some of them are not. Most of them have a serious problem with Vatican Council II – and many even privately challenge the validity of Vatican II. I have personally experienced this on numerous occasions going back over a quarter of a century to quite recently.
The problem is they tend not to be very candid about this side of TFP when they are dealing with someone new to them. I have a number of personal friends who are in TFP. I will continue to be their friend. But I wouldn’t allow my grandsons to go to their camps. –Desmond Birch, moderator
Published in Mangalorean Catholics yahoo group digest no. 1965 dated April 16, 2010:
Subject: AN APOLOGY: ANF and TFP
To all members,
My sincere apologies,
I have been posting messages from America Needs Fatima [ANF] and Tradition Family Property – Student Action [TFP].
I just discovered that they are not Roman Catholic but Traditionalist.
Though the contents of the messages posted by me were not in any way outside of or contradictory to Church teaching, some of the other beliefs or doctrines of ANF/TFP might be.
Once again, my apologies, Michael Prabhu
The traditionalist ANF group has disguised itself so well that a U.S. deacon has to enquire about them from a leading Catholic apologist’s Q&A forum… and gets a wrong picture:
America Needs Fatima
December 18, 2007
What can you tell me about the organization America Needs Fatima and their ministry in bringing Mary’s statue to homes for recitation of the Rosary and information on Fatima? –Deacon Larry
I do not know much about “America Needs Fatima” but it appears to be a conservative Catholic organization called the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.
According to their website the…
…American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) was born of a group of Catholic Americans concerned about the multiple crises shaking every aspect of American life. Founded in 1973, the American TFP was formed to resist, in the realm of ideas, the liberal, socialist and communist trends of the times and proudly affirm the positive values of tradition, family and property.
Central to the TFP mission is the idea that the various crises threatening American society and the Church cannot be seen as separate and disjointed. Rather they originate from a single cause.
As far as I can tell briefly looking at their website, this group is in communion with Rome. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
It’s not their fault. I myself was on their mailing list for a year before I uncovered the truth about them. -M
TFP and America Needs Fatima
I have just read this exhaustive forum post on these two organizations. I have donated to these in the past and they seem to do good work. I was just wondering what your thoughts were. I have no idea what the heck to believe now. Here are the links: http://z10.invisionfree.com/Ignis_Ardens/index.php?showtopic=733
This site seems a little loony but I first found the skepticism here:
http://www.unitypublishing.com/NewReligiousMovements/FatimaCult.html. -Joseph, September 7, 2011
I am not familiar with the Tradition, Family, and Property movement. Although Unity Publishing is not a reliable source if even a portion of what they report is true then this TFP organization and its subsidiary America Needs Fatima is truly problematic.
I am inclined to defer to Bishop de Castro Mayer’s analysis of the movement, presuming this letter is genuine. I copy his letter below for reference:
[This letter was published in the Campos daily, La Folha de Manhà in 1991; the original text, however, is dated 1984, two years after Bishop de Castro Mayer’s break with TFP. It appeared in Le Sel de la Terre, [no. 28, Spring 1999], in an article entitled, “Documents sur la T.F.P”.] See page 4
That pretty well says it and settles it, in my view. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
I still think people should avoid TFP
By Richard Chonak, July 13, 2010
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.” –Mystical Rose
Here’s the statement of the Brazilian bishops, rendered via my novice knowledge of Portuguese:
“TFP’s lack of communion with the Church in Brazil, the Hierarchy and the Holy Father is well-known. Its esoteric character, religious fanaticism, worship offered to the person of its head and founder, the misuse of the name of Mary Most Holy, according to reports, cannot deserve to be approved in any form by the Church. We lament the harmful consequences of a civic organization that presents itself as a Catholic religious entity, with no connection to the legitimate pastors. Therefore the bishops of Brazil exhort Catholics not to join TFP or collaborate with it. (23rd National Assembly of the Brazilian Bishops Conference, April 18, 1985 at Itaici)” –Richard Chonak
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. I wouldn’t go anywhere near these guys. -ONW
TFP is legally separate in each country. I expect that its various national organizations are established without any involvement by Church authority. They would be considered private associations.
Interestingly, the Brazilian TFP has undergone a change. After Plinio’s death, it split into two factions; the faction favoring closer relations with the Church won the court case, and now has the rights to the name TFP (but only in that country). In the process, the Plinio loyalist directors expelled 1000 dissident members and ruined the organization financially, according to the new TFP web site: http://www.tfp.org.br/pdfs/tfppolemica_en.pdf. –Richard Chonak
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.! -Fr. John Mary ISJ
They are not a Catholic association at all. In fact they are running into big problems because they are messing with a real religious order that 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. On the contrary, he said that disobedience to the Pope and the hierarchy is as good cutting oneself from the vine and bound to die. This always happens. Some people want to interpret 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: http://www.miamiarchdiocese.org/bulletin/Bulletin_101707.pdf
The American TFP is no good. The Brazilian TFP is finally in the hands of the ones faithful to the Pope again. –Anonymous
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. -Jeannette
TFP – A Dangerous Cult
By John T. Armour, posted at fisheaters on April 19, 2008
I was a member of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) from July 1980 until January 1981. I affiliated with the group after meeting with a TFP sympathizer in my home state of California. As a member, I lived at “the TFP seat” in Mount Kisco, New York where I received the training and indoctrination that all members are given. I consider myself very fortunate to have been convinced by some good friends to separate from this group.
Looking back, I can now see that the TFP is a dangerous personality cult whose purpose is the glorification of its Brazilian founder, Dr. Plinio Corea de Olivera. Many highly idealistic and religiously motivated young men have been captivated by its persuasive program. The appeals to moral, dogmatic and liturgical tradition which are so refreshing in this age of turmoil are, in my opinion, simply a means to lure individuals into the cult.
During the period of training which I received, I was taught:
* Dr. Plinio will never die. When his mission on earth is fulfilled, he will walk into an earthly paradise and then ascend into heaven.
* Dr. Plinio’s mission is to defeat “the revolution,” the Communistic and/or demonic forces which are corrupting the human race. He is the “pilgrim of justice” sent by God for this purpose.
* Next to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dr. Plinio is most loved by God. Hence, St. Michael the Archangel is his own personal guardian angel.
* Dr. Plinio has the power to read a man’s soul in order to determine if he possesses “Tau,” the vocation and quality to fight the revolution. He is even supposed to be able to make this determination from viewing a photograph. “Tau” can be found only in males.
* Members of the TFP are required to pledge their allegiance to Dr. Plinio. They make a consecration of slavery to the Blessed Mother and to Dr. Plinio. So highly regarded is Dr. Plinio that we were encouraged to kiss one of his hats that had come into our possession. And we kept a special room set aside for him where we had a special bed raised on a platform above the floor.
When I first arrived at TFP headquarters in New York, the leaders convinced me that the group was not a cult. They asked me what I had heard about the group and, after correcting minor mistaken notions I had, and after I had assured myself that I was not getting into something I would later regret being a part of, I became a member. Right away, a man was assigned to watch over me, answer my questions and keep me from knowing too much until they were sure of me. He even told me what to write in my letter to my parents. Those of us whose parents did not agree with the TFP soon found ourselves referring to our mothers and fathers as the “fountain of my revolution” (FMR). The inference was that each of us had a trace of the revolution in him, and it had been obtained as a result of the corruption and leniency of our parents. We were convinced to reject and ignore any advice from them, to see this corruption in all our family members, and to treat them accordingly. In time, I grew to despise my family. On one occasion when I was being encouraged in this attitude, I told the leaders that I had caused my mother to cry when I had talked with her by telephone. The leaders actually laughed. But, at the same time, we were urged to convince our parents that they should be proud of us because we were clean-cut gentlemen who were doing God’s work.
It may seem odd that a group such as the TFP could attract and hold anyone’s confidence and loyalty. But the appeal of spirituality was very strong. We all knew that something was wrong both in the world and in the Church. Here was a dedicated group living an exemplary semi-monastic life, ostensibly formed to fight the decay we knew existed. And we were young and inexperienced. I was actually convinced that I was in the Blessed Mother’s special army.
The religious overtones were very heavy. We were encouraged to receive Holy Communion daily in the TFP Chapel. That it was distributed to us by a layman who was one of our own was done only out of supposed need. That need, of course, served to provide more evidence of the spread of the revolution. (A large number of hosts were consecrated three or four times a year by a visiting priest from Canada. He left them in our Chapel tabernacle.)
The converted mansion where about sixty of us lived was full of holy pictures, statues and other religious articles. We were required to pray all fifteen decades of the Rosary daily, and meditation was encouraged. Each evening, after dinner, instruction from Dr. Plinio was given to all. Most often, this instruction came via recordings; sometimes it was a printed message that was read. All messages were in the Portuguese language which was translated into English by one of the leaders.
We were led to believe that, if we left the TFP, Our Lady would chastise us because She did not want anyone to leave Her army. Many tales of terrible deaths suffered by those who left were recounted. We actually knew a Brazilian member who had been transferred to the United States, but who left the organization to get married. When he contracted a bone disease which killed him, many were pleased to learn that such justice had been delivered to a turncoat.
The atmosphere cultivated within this group is one which holds that the entire world is corrupt and only the TFP has escaped the corruption. Even traditional Catholics, such as Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers, are scorned—though never publicly.
Very few members ever attend Mass on Sundays, not because of any inability to locate a Tridentine Mass chapel, but because most do not want to go. A few do attend Mass at a nearby Byzantine Catholic Church. Members of the TFP derisively refer to faithful Catholics who do attend the Tridentine Mass as “trads.” I was mocked one Sunday for reading the Mass to myself out of a missal. TFP leaders even joke about “trad” priests saying on one occasion that they would like to have one kept in the basement to be brought out when needed.
The TFP members I knew do not believe that Pope John Paul II is a true Pope because, according to them, he has excommunicated himself by stating heresy. The group believes that the See is vacant. Neither of these attitudes, nor many other of the aforementioned attitudes will ever be stated in public, however. TFP members are very anxious to cultivate a favorable image, even among those they constantly denigrate.
It is my hope that no one will accept the TFP at face value. I believe the group to be a dangerous cult which does harm to those within its web, and to the Catholic Church which I thought I was serving while I was with it.
“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
(quoted in Tradizione Famiglia Proprietà: Associazione cattolica o setta millenarista?, Rimini 1996, pp. 70-71)
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)” -Neel
TFP’s response to all charges made against them is at
EWTN’s shocking endorsement of ANF/TFP
I am curious as to the standing of the organization, “America Needs Fatima”. I like what this group represents but a recent question published in the National Catholic Register (NCR) on 9/16/07 asked about whether this group was a cult and about the priest, Fr. Gruner. Although the response clearly answered Fr. Gruner as a suspended priest and that the consecration of Russia did take place correctly, it never addressed the organization, “America Needs Fatima”. I then received a mailing from Fr. Trigilio endorsing this group. Can I get EWTN’s confirmation re: “America Needs Fatima” and any other pertinent info regarding this topic? (I have scanned images of the NCR article & Fr. Trigilio’s endorsement, but I didn’t see how I could attach these.) –Fran, 10/2/2007
The group, Tradition, Family, and Property, is not specifically under formal Catholic guidance and direction and administration, but is thoroughly Catholic in inspiration and loyalty. It began in Brazil, but its Founder contested some of the Cardinal’s position. The group has enemies but, to my knowledge, it is most sound, most Catholic, and loyal to the Vatican. Fr. Gruner has nothing to do with this group, TFP. He is doing his own thing quite independently of the Church. America Needs Fatima was inspired and organized and led by TFP. I thoroughly endorse my dear friend’s recommendation of TFP, i.e. Fr. John Trigilio. –Fr. Robert J. Levis
Categories: False Mystics