Tradition, Family and Property
Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) is an international movement of political/civic organizations of Traditionalist Catholic inspiration. The first TFP was founded by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in Brazil in 1960, inspired by his 1959 book Revolution and Counter-Revolution which became the TFPs' foundational text, later supplemented by his 1993 Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII. He remained president of the Brazilian TFP's national council until his death in 1995.
Religion, ideology, and structure
Some see the movement as more cultural and political than religious. From that perspective it can be seen as opposing its values of Tradition, Family, and Property to the French Revolution's values of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Its worldview has been characterized as an "extreme moralism, against divorce, against Communism, and against change." It has been pointed out that the group's citation of Catholic tradition is selective, drawing on speeches and encyclicals from the most conservative popes, including the 1864 Syllabus of Errors, while the social doctrine of the Church formulated from the pontificate of Leo XIII to the present is deliberately ignored.
Löwy's study of the interaction of religion and politics in Latin America used the international TFP to exemplify the most conservative of four tendencies within Latin American Catholicism: the one which "defend[s] ultra-reactionary and sometimes semi-fascist ideas." A recent study pointed out that "TFP draws on a rigid interpretation of Christianity to offer the faithful an all-encompassing ideological justification for what are, in essence, very conservative politics." It has been noted that similar religious movements "are benign compared to Tradition, Family and Property (TFP)" which is also "opposed by the Catholic leadership because of its beliefs and recruiting procedures." Some analysts see it as a fringe group within the Latin American Catholic church.
Institutionally, TFPs have been described as having a "chameleon-like identity". When dealing with the church, they describe themselves as a civic association of the laity, and therefore independent of ecclesiastical control; when dealing with civil society, they stress that they are a voluntary association inspired by religious ideals, and therefore not subject to certain civil regulations such as labor laws.
International expansion and cooperation
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TFP is both a national organization and a transnational movement which shares fundamental beliefs, goals, publications, and even funding. Shortly after its foundation in Brazil in 1960, the TFP began a program of international expansion, beginning with a "Latin American Congress of Catholicism" in Serra Negra, Brazil, attended by about 350 Brazilians and about 20 representatives from other countries in Hispanic America. TFP sees this meeting as the beginning of its expansion, with the foundation of TFP offices, national TFPs, and affiliated organizations in 29 countries throughout the world, including Argentina (1967), Chile (1967), Uruguay (1967), Paraguay (1967), Peru (1970), Spain (1971), Bolivia (1973), Colombia (1971), Ecuador (1973), Portugal (1974), the United States (1974), Venezuela (1971), Canada (1975), Italy (1976), France (1977), United Kingdom (1980), Germany (1982), South Africa (1983), Australia (1988), India (1992), Poland (1995), Austria (1999), Ireland (2004), Belgium, Costa Rica, Lithuania, the Philippines, and New Zealand. This expansion produced what is claimed to be "the world’s largest anticommunist and antisocialist network of Catholic inspiration."
Although these TFPs described themselves as "autonomous anticommunist organizations inspired by the traditional teachings of the Popes", they cooperated effectively to advance their social and political agenda. A striking example occurred in 1981 when thirteen TFPs (and related organizations) published a six-page critique by Oliveira of Francois Mitterrand's Socialist government program to implement what was called "self-managing socialism". They were refused space for the essay by six French daily papers but they did publish it in 44 other major newspapers worldwide. The cost of placing each six-page advertisement in The Washington Post or the Toronto Globe and Mail was about $100,000.
The Sociedad Argentina de Defensa de la Tradición, Familia y Propiedad was established in 1967, drawing on a group of conservative Catholics who had previously founded the magazine Cruzada, which opposed liberal Catholicism and socialism. In the late 60s the TFP gained the apparent support of the Argentine military regime when they called for a purge of progressive clergy from the Catholic Church. The publications of the Argentinian TFP have been described as embodying a discourse of violence legitimating the authorities' suppression of civil rights. In 1973 the Buenos Aires provincial police investigated military training activities conducted by the TFP. Around 1976 or 1977 a Father Vicente was forced to flee to Uruguay with the assistance of the Jesuit Provincial, Jorge Bergoglio (later Pope Francis), after having been threatened by TFP for preaching against the murder of three Pallottine priests and two seminarians.
The Sociedade Brasileira de Defesa da Tradição, Família e Propriedade was founded in 1960 and flourished during conservative opposition to the land reform proposed in Brazil by the government of João Goulart. Goulart's land reform program was criticized by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, the economist Luis Mendonca de Freitas, and reactionary bishops Antonio de Castro Mayer and Geraldo de Proença Sigaud in their 1961 book, Agrarian Reform—A Question of Conscience, which treated private property as a moral absolute. The Brazilian TFP's campaign against what it termed "socialist and confiscatory land reform", provided the incentives leading to the military coup of 1964 as well as later repressive legislation. In 1968 the Brazilian TFP gathered two million signatures on a continent-wide petition campaign against Communist infiltration of the Catholic Church which placed it in clear opposition to the mainstream of the Brazilian hierarchy. TFP also urged the military government to arrest Archbishop Hélder Câmara for his support of land reform. In 1969 Câmara linked the TFP indirectly to the murder in Recife of his aide, Father Antônio Henrique Pereira Neto.
These actions, as well as TFP's strident opposition to liberation theology, led to a string of criticism beginning in 1970 from a number of bishops, including the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, which saw the TFP as destroying ecclesiastical unity. Notably, at their 23rd general assembly in 1985 the Brazilian Bishops criticized TFP for its "lack of communion … with the Church in Brazil, its hierarchy, and the Holy Father" and for its "esoteric character, the religious fanaticism, and the cult given to the personality of its leader and his mother." The Brazilian TFP replied the next day that "justice forbids TFP from accepting as valid vague and generic accusations like those in the NCBB text. Specific facts and proofs must be presented." The American TFP attributed the bishops' critique to "the tragic influence of Marxist liberation theology among Brazilian bishops".
The Brazilian TFP split into two factions after the death of its founder in 1995 and a dispute over the rights to the society's name and assets has been progressing through the Brazilian courts. As of 2013 the final decision was waiting on action of the Supreme Court. One faction, the Heralds of the Gospel, founded by Monsignor João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, was formally approved by the Vatican in 2001 as a lay association of the faithful. The Heralds moved away from political action and, despite their lay status, adopted a semi-religious mode of life. After an unfavorable court decision in 2004 the remaining, politically active, faction formed the Association of Founders of TFP to continue the original expression of their religious and social ideals and to contest the court case. Since this split, the Association of Founders has received substantial financial support from the American TFP.
In 1967 a group of conservative Catholics who published the magazine Fiducia, decided to form a Chilean chapter of the TFP. During the late 60s the TFP circulated a book claiming the Prime Minister, Eduardo Frei Montalva, was the Chilean Kerensky. The book was written in Portuguese by Fabio Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, a director of the Brazilian TFP, translated into Spanish by the Argentine affiliate of the TFP, and distributed in Chile and throughout South America. Vidigal argued that the Christian Democratic party was a tool of the communist plan to socialize Latin America. His book was repeatedly confiscated and the TFP was banned by Frei's Christian Democratic government. They opposed the government of Salvador Allende and welcomed the 1973 military coup that overthrew his Popular Unity government.
In 1976, during the Pinochet dictatorship, the TFP published a book maintaining that Catholics are duty bound to resist pastors and clergy who support the hierarchy, especially the defender of human rights Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez, who they said was leading the country toward Communism. The Chilean TFP can be seen as advocating violence against the "enemies of the truth", especially those who were seen as tolerating the infiltration of communism. By March the Chilean Bishops' Conference responded with a formal rebuke of the TFP, maintaining that the bishops have the sole governing responsibility in the Church and that those who participated in this campaign have "by their actions placed themselves outside the Catholic Church". Nonetheless, the TFP continued to have strong influence among the conservative political, military, and economic leadership of Chile, many of whom were present at a 1992 anniversary celebration of the founding of TFP.
The Société française pour la défense de la Tradition, Famille, Propriété grew out of an office established in 1974 by four Latin American members of TFP to disseminate information regarding TFP in Europe. French associates established the Jeunes Français pour une Civilisation Chrétienne in 1975, which took its present name in January 1977. Its statutes set the goals of defending the fundamental principles of Christian Civilization and opposing the principles of liberal and egalitarian revolution and the communism and socialism which that revolution engendered. With its foundation it established a school, l’École Saint-Benoït, which was closed after two years amid accusations that it was being used as a center of indoctrination and recruitment.
The society was described as one of the most active of the pseudo-Catholic organizations by The French Assembly's Commission of inquiry into sects. The Commission defined as pseudo-Catholic those organizations that appeal to the Catholic tradition which they maintain against the reforms imposed by Rome. TFP was also seen to exemplify a mastery of commercial fund-raising techniques, with a network of closely related organizations targeting messages to susceptible recipients.
The Young South Africans for a Christian Civilisation (TFP) was founded in 1984, during the declining years of the apartheid regime, to resist "the liberal, socialist and communist trends of the times" and to provide theological support for the idea of a natural inequality in society. Early targets of TFP's expansion into South Africa were the Catholic, Portuguese speaking, refugees from newly independent Mozambique. One of its activities was to oppose the newspaper, New Nation, which had been funded by the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, advanced liberation theology, and opposed apartheid but which TFP saw as "communist inspired". TFP sought to undermine the bishops' popular support and appealed, unsuccessfully, to the Pope that he ban the paper. TFP's efforts were more successful in providing justification for the government's three-month suspension of the newspaper in 1987. The State President and an unnamed government minister wrote the TFP commending them for supporting the goals of the National Party government. The South African bishops issued a strongly worded rebuttal of the accusation that the New Nation was a "communist" newspaper and noted that TFP's critiques ignored the gospel basis of liberation theology.
TFP maintains that they supported the Catholic Bishops' 1952 statement in opposition to Apartheid. They also oppose the excesses of laissez-faire capitalism, but more so the radically liberal and socialist egalitarianism found in Communism which the Catholic Church defines as "intrinsically evil". TFP favors natural and harmonious inequalities in an organic society.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property was founded in the United States in 1973, stemming from a group who in 1971 had founded a magazine, Crusade for a Christian Civilization. This drew from earlier encounters of members of the Brazilian TFP with followers of the American New Right. The American TFP is staffed by 75 full-time volunteers and 60 paid employees, and its national headquarters is in Spring Grove, Penn., with branch offices in McLean, Va., Chicago, Ill., Rossville, Kan., Lafayette, La., and Orange County, Calif.
The American TFP is active on many social, cultural, and economic issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, homosexuality in the military, socialism, death penalty, sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, Islam, and many others. It promotes its ideas through newspaper advertisements, direct mail, leafleting, public meetings, online protests and activism, and 'caravans', groups of volunteers that travel across the country for weeks at a time to promote TFP's ideas on city streets and at universities.
Some of its larger campaigns include America Needs Fatima, one of the largest promoters of the message of Our Lady of Fatima, TFP Student Action, its university student outreach, and the Public Square Rosary Crusade, which organizes annual rosary rallies every year. Approximately 5,900 public rosary rallies were held in all 50 states on 16 October 2010, and 14,108 on 10 October 2015.
- American TFP Frequently Asked Questions #9
- "A 'Phenomenon' Called TFP", New York Times, p. WC7, 17 December 1978
- 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. 88–89, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5
- Matta, Raúl (2008), "Tradition, Famille et Proprieté: Une enquête sur les " croisés " du XXIe siècle", L'Ordinaire Latino-Américaine (in French) (210): 121–137, ISSN 0997-0584
- American TFP, 7 April 2008, The Founder
- Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin (2003), "The Return of Martyrdom: Honour, Death and Immortality", Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 4 (3): 11–34
- Bruneau, Thomas C. (1974), The Political Transformation of the Brazilian Catholic Church, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 227, ISBN 978-0-521-20256-5,
[TFP] has by and large ignored the Second Vatican Council and some of its important members have criticized Popes John XXIII and Paul VI for their leftist leanings. The organization has the complete support of a handful of bishops…. The TFP is a live organization and extremely influential among certain sections in the government and upper middle-class society. From its inception the TFP diverged from the mainstram of the Church.
- Matta, Raúl (2008), "Tradition, Famille et Proprieté: Une enquête sur les " croisés " du XXIe siècle", L'Ordinaire Latino-Américaine (in French) (210): 125, ISSN 0997-0584
- Löwy, Michael (1996), The War of Gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America, Critical studies in Latin American and Iberian cultures, London: Verso, p. 38, ISBN 9781859840023
- 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. 85–105, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5
- Lernoux, Penny (1989), People of God: The Struggle for World Catholicism, New York: Viking, p. 338, ISBN 0-670-81529-2
- Lernoux, Penny (1989), People of God: The Struggle for World Catholicism, New York: Viking, p. 338, ISBN 0-670-81529-2,
'The nearly universal view within the church of Latin America,' said Thomas Quigley, Latin America adviser to the U.S. Catholic Conference, 'is that TFP represents a fanatical fringe minority of the privileged sectors that is at variance with the authentic tradition of the Catholic Church.'
- Zanotto, Gizele (2007), Tradição, família e propriedade (TFP): as idiossincrasias de um movimento católico (1960-1995) (Doctoral thesis) (in Portuguese), Florianópolis: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, pp. 247–248
- 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. 100, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5,
Transnationalism is central to the TFP and helps to explain the organization's ability to exist and continue to work some fifty years after it was founded.
- 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) (pdf), New York: Foundation Center, 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Approximately $1,400,000 was transferred to the Associação dos Fundadores de TFP between 2005 and 2013.
- 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. 91–92, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5
- Sociedade Brasileira de Defesa da Tradição, Família e Propreidade, Um homem, uma obra, uma gesta – Homenagem das TFPs a Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (PDF) (in Portuguese), São Paulo: Edições Brasil de Amanhã
- Leroy, Bruno (4 July 2006), ""Tradition-Famille-Propriété": Une secte influente", Journal Chrétien (in French)
- Zanotto, Gizele (2007), Tradição, família e propriedade (TFP): as idiossincrasias de um movimento católico (1960-1995) (Doctoral thesis) (in Portuguese), Florianópolis: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, pp. 282–284
- "The American TFP" (PDF), Crusade Magazine, Hanover, PA: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, 134: , March–April 2015
- "Self Managing Socialism: Today France — Tomorrow the World [Advertisement]", The Wall Street Journal, p. 9, 1 July 1982
- "France: The Fist Crushes the Rose [Advertisement]", The New York Times, p. B20, 26 February 1982
- Oliveira, Plinio Corrêa de (12 December 1981), The Double Game of French Socialism: Gradual in Strategy, Radical in Goal, retrieved 19 March 2015
- "Ads attack French socialists", The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 12 December 1981
- Sherwood, Tom (10 December 1981), "Rightist Ad Raps French Socialism", The Washington Post, p. C8
- Sociedade Brasileira de Defesa da Tradição, Família e Propreidade, Um homem, uma obra, uma gesta – Homenagem das TFPs a Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (PDF) (in Portuguese), São Paulo: Edições Brasil de Amanhã, p. 309
- Browne, Malcolm W. (12 July 1969), "Church Liberals in Argentina Target of Rightists", New York Times, p. 8
- Ruderer, Stephan (2012), "Cruzada contra el comunismo. Tradición, Familia y Propiedad (TFP) en Chile y Argentina", Sociedad y religión (in Spanish), 22 (38): 79–108
- Ivereigh, Austen (2014), The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (Kindle ed.), New York: Henry Holt and Co., locations 2905-2909, ISBN 978-1-62779-158-8
- Mutchler, David E., S.J. (1965), "Roman Catholicism in Brazil", Studies in Comparative International Development, 1 (8): 104,
The two bishops constitute the core of the reactionary wing and their position is able to command little allegiance from the rest of the Brazilian hierarchy.
- Mutchler, David E., S.J. (1965), "Roman Catholicism in Brazil", Studies in Comparative International Development, 1 (8): 104,
Although occasionally citing an isolated quotation from Pius XI, the book sought support chiefly from nineteenth-century papal pronouncements.
- Reforma Agrária Questão de Consciência (In Portuguese)
- The American TFP's 2007 comments regarding a note on the Brazilian TFP approved by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil on April 19, 1985
- A Reforma Agrária socialista e confiscatória – a propriedade privada e a livre iniciativa, no tufão agro-reformista (In Portuguese)
- Lernoux, Penny (1989), People of God: The Struggle for World Catholicism, New York: Viking, p. 341, ISBN 0-670-81529-2
- Mainwaring, Scott (1986), The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916-1985, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, p. 71, ISBN 978-0-8047-1320-7
- "Letter to Pope Says Church Harbors Pro-Communists", New York Times, p. 5, 14 September 1968
- Bruneau, Thomas C. (1974), The Political Transformation of the Brazilian Catholic Church, Cambridge Latin American Studies, 2, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 228, ISBN 9780521098489,
From its inception the TFP diverged from the mainstream of the Church.
- "Priest and Civilian Murdered in Brazil", New York Times, p. 7, 29 May 1969
- Mainwaring, Scott (1986), The Catholic Church and Politics in Brazil, 1916-1985, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 171–172, ISBN 978-0-8047-1320-7
- "A nova TFP [The new TFP]", ISTOÉ Independente (in Portuguese), 29 November 2013, retrieved 4 February 2015
- Pontifical Council for the Laity, International Associations of the Faithful: Directory, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, retrieved 3 February 2015
- Arautos de Evangelho [Heralds of the Gospel] (in Portuguese), retrieved 3 February 2015
- Quem somos nós? Origens e nosso objetivo [Who are we? Origins and our goal] (in Portuguese), Associação dos Fundadores de TFP, retrieved 4 February 2015
- 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. 92–93, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5
- 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. 95–96, ISBN 978-0-230-62370-5
- Smith, Brian H. (1982), The Church and Politics in Chile: Challenges to Modern Catholicism, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 338–339, ISBN 9780691076287
- Imbroglio, Detraction, Delire: Remarques sur un Rapport concernant les TFP (PDF) (in French), Asnières, France: Tradition, Famille, Propriété, 1980, p. 6, retrieved 17 February 2015
- Lernoux, Penny (1989), People of God: The Struggle for World Catholicism, New York: Viking, p. 342, ISBN 0-670-81529-2
- Assemblée Nationale; Commission d'Enquête (22 December 1995), Rapport Fait au Nom de la Commission d'Enquête sur les Sectes (in French), retrieved 9 February 2015
- Assemblée Nationale; Commission d'Enquête (10 June 1999), Les Sectes et l'Argent; Rapport Fait au Nom de la Commission d'Enquête sur la Situation Financiere, Patrimoniale et Fiscale des Sectes (in French), retrieved 9 February 2015
- Who We Are, Young South Africans for a Christian Civilisation, retrieved 12 February 2015
- Tomaselli, Keyan G.; Teer-Tomaselli, Ruth (2003), "New Nation: Anachronistic Catholicism and Liberation Theology", in Couldry, Nick; Curran, James, Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 195–207, ISBN 0742575209
- SACBC Statement on Attacks on The New Nation (PDF), 20 July 1987, retrieved 3 November 2015,
Tradition-Family-Property …[is] corroborating the view and stance of the National Party, which, as especially the black community knows, cannot tolerate opposition or alternative views on the realities of South Africa today.
- Bishop Reginald Orsmond (March 1989), SACBC Statement on Gospel-based Liberation Theology (PDF), retrieved 3 November 2015,
Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and the post-Vatican II Catholic Church do not speak the same language. This is particularly true when TFP uses the words 'liberation theology'…. To them, liberation theology is a dirty word…. Tradition, Family and Property follows the practise of those in power in South Africa; to use the word communism as a red herring to besmirch any attempt by those who protest against the manifest injustices of the apartheid system.
- John Horvat II, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society–Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go, York Press, retrieved 21 October 2015
- Sociedade Brasileira de Defesa da Tradição, Família e Propreidade, Um homem, uma obra, uma gesta – Homenagem das TFPs a Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (PDF) (in Portuguese), São Paulo: Edições Brasil de Amanhã, pp. 429–430
- American TFP, Who We Are
- Sociedade Brasileira de Defesa da Tradição, Família e Propreidade, Um homem, uma obra, uma gesta – Homenagem das TFPs a Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (PDF) (in Portuguese), São Paulo: Edições Brasil de Amanhã, p. 181
- 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
- America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally Central