Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Faithfulness to Tradition
January 3 1992 (*)
ON January 3, during the Eighth Conference for TFP Supporters, the Brazilian TFP held a parade in downtown São Paulo. Below we present a summary of the speech that Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira delivered at the end of the parade.
It is with the greatest satisfaction that the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property welcomes all those who have come here to take part in this manifestation, which has a profound historic and contemporary significance.
You understand this significance well. This significance is precisely "faithfulness to tradition."
The first Mass celebrated on the occasion of the discovery of America indicates that the discoverers were not merely in quest of material advantage; they were moved by a profound spiritual sense of adherence to the one true Faith, the Faith taught by the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.
With this Mass and the planting of the Holy Cross on American soil began the missionary epic that would win this immense continent to the Church and Our Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with the plans of Providence.
Yet at the moment when the three Americas commemorate their discovery, at the moment when we commemorate the beginning of the civilizing of American lands that has reached its present apex, strange voices rise up to criticize this beginning and to defend a past that is even more remote than the last 500 years. These voices advocate a past of paganism, of savage backwardness—not to say jungle backwardness. They propose the elimination of civilization, claiming that the discovery was a disaster for the native populations of the New World, that it was a disaster for the history of the world. They defame the Popes and bishops, the Catholic monarchs and men who directed public affairs during those 500 years and integrated the Americas into the Western civilization born in Europe.
The Brazilian TFP could not fail to protest against this tendency, which goes against the grain of the whole course of history, and affirm its enthusiastic and convinced solidarity with the missionary work carried out by the Catholic Church in all the Americas. At the same time, it proclaims its assurance that the future of the Americas has but one meaning: the future of Christian civilization.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said of priests that they are "the salt of the earth and the light of the world." If such they are—and they are—He who is the Priest par excellence, Jesus Christ, is such par excellence. Everything that strays from Him heads toward a land without light and without salt, toward a way which is the wrong way. The world had ample occasion to see this when the Iron Curtain fell and the dismayed eyes of mankind could contemplate the state of misery, of physical and intellectual misery, of the constriction of the human personality, of the abasement of human dignity, carried out in 70 years of atheistic domination over one of the world's most extensive countries.
With this, mankind well understood the truth uttered by Our Lord when He affirmed that He is the way, the truth and the life. Whatever strays from Him enters the wrong way, into error and into death.
We do not want this wrong way, this error and this death, for any portion of American territory. We are opposed to this, and by the earnestness of our prayers, and by our efforts, by our peaceful but persuasive action, by our indefectible action, by our continuous action, we must work and fight so that the Americas will truly be a land of Christ and a land of Mary.
The course you followed is very meaningful and symbolic of the noble intention that moves you. Indeed, your march can be called the "March of Faithfulness."
It is the march of a faithfulness that began in the first mother cell of São Paulo, when it was just a hamlet inhabited by Portuguese and by Indians, whom the missionaries had just introduced to the light of the Gospel, when São Paulo was so small that all its population fit into a small church.
In that church is found the landmark of the religious and civil life of São Paulo, which became one of the world's largest cities. From that tiny city until today, the enormous itinerary has been accomplished. You symbolically walked along this itinerary. You walked along this way which is, therefore, the way of faithfulness to tradition, to this place where you have gathered to cry out your resolution of faithfulness to the fight for Christian civilization in the Americas.
I am quite certain that the footsteps of men have repercussion in heaven and that everything done here will have repercussion in heaven and will be written in the Book of Life.
In the Book of Life it will be said and written in heaven that in 1992, in the dawn of this year, when a certain false progressivism promises itself so many accomplishments in its program of renewal that, deep down, is deterioration, there were also steps that had repercussion firmly on earth saying: "We are also advancing! We are also going forward!"
The tradition you represent is not something fixed, stagnant, which does not develop, which has no future before it. It is not like the wax figures from the Grevin Museum in Paris or the Tussaud Museum in London. It is something very different. The tradition you represent is Catholic tradition, Christian tradition. It is a tradition full of life. It has an ardent natural and supernatural life. This life wants to open a way for itself in history.
It is a living tradition that cries out, shouts, applauds, objects, proclaims; it does not remain silent and it does not stop. It cries out its resolution to continue alive defending its place on earth. It affirms its progress and its rights against those who try to intimidate it in the name of the pseudo-marvels of a pseudo-progress.
It is a tradition that cries out to those who think as it thinks, so that they gather with it and fight with it in favor of true traditions.
And it is a tradition that objects against every attempt made against it.
It is a tradition that applauds not only everything in the past and the present that is good but also, right now and beforehand, it applauds what our Faith will inspire to our posterity until the day of the Final Judgment.
(*) TFP Newslettter, Vol. 5, No. 12, 1992.