American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property

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American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP)
TFP Standard.png
Rampant lion on a red standard, logo of the American TFP
Founded1973 (1973)
Type501(c)(3) Charity
Registration no.23-7325778 (EIN)
  • Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
Area served
United States
Key people
Raymond E. Drake, President
John Horvat II, Vice-President
$8,530,115 (FY 2012)[1]

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), or "The American TFP," is a special campaign of The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc. ("FCC").[2] It is one of a number of autonomous national TFPs which claims to form "the world's largest anticommunist and antisocialist network of Catholic inspiration."[3]


Founded in 1973, it is one of many "Tradition, Family and Property" groups (TFPs) and like-minded organizations worldwide, all of which are inspired by the work of the Brazilian intellectual, politician and activist Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. The first American group was incorporated in 1975, and established its first hermitage in 1977 in Yonkers, New York. The Yonkers location was subsequently closed, with the hermits establishing their permanent hermitage on 70 acres in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.[4]

The Foundation for a Christian Civilization ("Foundation") was incorporated in 1973, drawing on earlier ties between Brazilians, who traveled to the US to develop a North American affiliate. The American TFP developed early connections with leaders of the religious and political right, including Paul Weyrich of the Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation and Morton Blackwell of the College Republican National Committee and the Reagan administration.[5][6] Founded to help fundraising for a Catholic counterrevolution against communism, it subsequently becoming a civil cultural organization that aims to uphold and promote the values of Christian civilization. The Foundation later merged in June 1992 with American TFP to form a single corporation identified as The Foundation for a Christian Civilization.[4] Following the death of the founder in 1995, the American TFP split away from the original ideals of the Brazilian TFP.


The American TFP is staffed by approximately 75 full-time members and employees. It claims, with its affiliated America Needs Fatima campaign, to have more than 120,000 members nationwide. The organization's national headquarters are in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, with regional offices in Chicago, Illinois; McLean, Virginia; Lafayette, Louisiana; Orange County, California; Hazleton, Pennsylvania; and Rossville, Kansas.

The organization solicits funds as a non-profit charity,[2] not as a diocesan organization."[7] Its annual public reports to the Internal Revenue Service indicate that between 2002 and 2014 it dispersed $1,800,000 to support the St. Louis de Montfort Academy and $1,500,000 to support related organizations in North and South America, most significantly Canada Needs Our Lady, Associação dos Fundadores and the Tradición y Acción organizations of Colombia and Peru.[8]


The American TFP's worldview is based on Oliveira's 1959 essay, Revolution and Counter-Revolution. According to the aims laid out in this book, TFP acts to oppose what Oliveira believed was an anti-Christian process that had undermined Christian civilization since the 14th century, the "Revolution" of the study's title. Oliveira considered that this "Revolution" had three phases which progressively undermined the Church and social order:

  1. The Protestant "Pseudo-Reformation" and its rejection of religious authority and inequality, in particular the Pope.
  2. The "Enlightenment" and the French Revolution and its rejection of temporal authority, in particular the King and nobility.
  3. The Communist Revolution and its rejection of economic inequality; the final phases seek to eradicate the Church and Christian civilization while applying more radical egalitarianism and implementing neo-paganism.

The American TFP promotes what it sees as the values of Christianity, and opposes liberal and egalitarian ideas, policies, and trends in both society as a whole and in the Catholic Church. While supporting selected elements of Catholic teaching, the group also argues for the need for authentic elites in society that raise, above all, the moral tone of general society, as witnessed by Oliveira's Nobility & Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII. In this book, Oliveira seeks to counter the "preferential option for the poor" found in Catholic social teaching and in Liberation theology, with support for the natural elite that exists in all societies, following the teaching of Pius XII, that they may become the obligated class working for the good of society (Noblesse Oblige).

If the Revolution is disorder, the Counter-Revolution is the restoration of order. And by order we understand the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ. That is, Christian civilization, austere and hierarchical, fundamentally sacral, anti-egalitarian and anti-liberal.

According to some commenters, including traditionalist Catholic sources, TFP claims "to move from Christian principles, but they tend to move in the political arena".[9] Ardently anti-Communist, the group's interpretation of Catholic teaching led it to voice its opposition to the Vatican's policy of rapprochement with Communism.[10]


The American TFP actively promotes its views through newspaper advertisements, direct mail, leafleting, public meetings, and 'caravans', groups of volunteers that spread TFP's message to the public at large. Its campaigns cover a wide range of issues, including the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church,[11] Islam and 9/11,[12] just war,[13] abortion,[14] euthanasia,[15] embryonic stem cell research,[16] homosexuality and same-sex marriage,[17] and homosexuals in the military. In addition, TFP also supports creation science and intelligent design.[18] The group also protests against films and plays that it views as blasphemous, including Jean-Luc Godard's 1985 film Hail Mary, Scorsese's 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ, McNally's 1998 play Corpus Christi, Kevin Smith's 1999 film Dogma, and Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. In October 1999, TFP local coordinators carried out 300 protests at movie theaters against Dogma, and have mobilized 17,000 volunteers to hand out over 5 million protest fliers.

The group has also been involved in other public and political actions, such as protesting the 2009 invitation to President Barack Obama to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame.[19] The president of TFP, Raymond E. Drake, wrote a letter to the president of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins, concerning this issue, expressing "great perplexity and grief...that a priest of Holy Mother Church and president of one of America's most outstanding and emblematic Catholic universities would invite a manifestly pro-abortion president to give the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.[20] TFP has continued its ties with the political right as a participating sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference[21] and by signing statements issued by the Heartland Institute that opposed housing finance reform legislation[22] and discussions of climate change in comprehensive energy legislation[23] and in the State Department funding authorization.[24]

TFP Student Action is the university campus outreach of the TFP.[25] Its activities include distributing fliers and other literature on the streets of universities, sponsoring speakers on campuses, hosting student conferences, and organizing protests and petitions, especially against the provision of information about abortion and the acceptance of LGBT students at Catholic universities. Its most recent campaign is against the 96 Catholic colleges and universities that allow LGBT student groups.[26] In April 2009, volunteers of TFP Student Action traveled to the major cities of New Hampshire[27] and Maine[28] to distribute literature against same-sex marriage.

The American TFP provides the staff to run Saint Louis de Montfort Academy, a boys' boarding school in Herndon, Pennsylvania, that provides students with a traditional Catholic education.[29] It also operates Call to Chivalry summer camps, which express Oliveira's nostalgic medieval view[30] of nobility, chivalry, and the imagined glory of the feudal past.[31]

Criticism for virulence[edit]

The American TFP has been cited in several article by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for their anti-LGBTQ views[32]. According to the SPLC the TFP is a “virulently anti-LGBT group.”[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property", Charity Navigator
  2. ^ a b "Fundraising Disclosure Notice", TFP Student Action Archived 2011-01-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "The American TFP" (PDF), Crusade Magazine, Hanover, PA: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, 65: [1], September–October 2003
  4. ^ a b "Mary Queen of the Third Millennium, Inc. v. The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc.", United States Patent And Trademark Office, December 3, 2008[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Power, Margaret (2011), "Transnational, Conservative, Catholic, and Anti-Communist: Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP)", in Durham, Martin; Power, Margaret, New Perspectives on the Transnational Right, New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, pp. 96–97, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5
  6. ^ Lernoux, Penny (1989), People of God: The Struggle for World Catholicism, New York: Viking, p. 343, ISBN 0-670-81529-2
  7. ^ "Office of the Chancellor", Pastoral Bulletin, Archdiocese of Miami, October 17, 2007
  8. ^ The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc. (Doing business as The American TFP; America Needs Fatima), Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (IRS Form 990N), New York: Foundation Center,CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2015
  9. ^ "A 'Phenomenon' Called TFP", New York Times, p. WC7, December 17, 1978
  10. ^ "The Church and the Communist State: The Impossible Coexistence"
  11. ^ The Church Shall Prevail Campaign Central
  12. ^ "A Psywar Against Order". Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  13. ^ Just War and the Pacifist Offensive Against Sovereignty Archived 2010-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ In Defense of the Unborn Campaign Central
  15. ^ A Plea for Terri Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Demolishing Myths About Stem Cell Research". Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  17. ^ Traditional Marriage Crusade Campaign Central
  18. ^ "Why Can't Evolution Evolve?". The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013. If there is a side to the debate where things are changing, it is that of those favoring creation. These advocates have gone way beyond Genesis and present scientific arguments to justify their positions. Their positions are not frozen in the unverifiable past but use every possible field of modern science to support their positions.
  19. ^ "Notre Dame: How the Gold Dome Tarnished"
  20. ^ Letter of the American TFP's president Raymond Drake to Fr. Jenkins
  21. ^ Rick Santorum to CPAC: "Let's Talk About How We Can Build a Great America Again", The American Conservative Union, March 7, 2014, archived from the original on 2016-01-11, retrieved March 6, 2015, Participating Sponsors: … Tradition, Family, Property…
  22. ^ Free-Market Leaders Urge Senate to Reject Housing Finance Overhaul, The Heartland Institute, April 23, 2014, retrieved March 6, 2015, Coalition members include leaders from … Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
  23. ^ "[Open Letter to Senator Pete Domenici]" (PDF), Environment & Climate News, The Heartland Institute, 6 (4): 7, May 2003
  24. ^ "[Open Letter to Congressman Henry Hyde]" (PDF), Environment & Climate News, The Heartland Institute, 6 (6): 15, July 2003
  25. ^ TFP Student Action
  26. ^ "Scandal: Research finds pro-homosexual clubs at 96 Catholic universities" Archived 2009-09-07 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Gay marriage protesters make noise in Nashua"[dead link]
  28. ^ Bloch, Jessica. "Protesters take aim at bill for gay marriage", Bangor Daily News, April 18, 2009
  29. ^ Saint Louis de Montfort Academy
  30. ^ Lernoux, Penny (1989), People of God: The Struggle for World Catholicism, New York: Viking, p. 339, ISBN 0-670-81529-2
  31. ^ Power, Margaret (2011), "Transnational, Conservative, Catholic, and Anti-Communist: Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP)", in Durham, Martin; Power, Margaret, New Perspectives on the Transnational Right, New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, p. 99, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5
  32. ^ "Extremists of Many Stripes Gather at Values Voter Summit 2011". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  33. ^ "National Organization for Marriage Has a Rough Start to 2013". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2018-07-23.

External links[edit]