Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
The Moral Profile of a TFP Young Man
The Catholic Religion Is Not for Softies
8th SEFAC (Semana Especializada para a Formação Anticomunista) Closing Session – Sunday, February 14, 1971 (excerpts)
We have before us a map showing the vastness of Brazil, one of the world’s largest countries. With our landmass and an admirably homogeneous population from a racial and political point of view, it has the best circumstances to develop in future centuries. Our vast territory has an admirable continuity; nothing divides it into watertight compartments. It constitutes an enormous geological unit with a people also extraordinarily united.
If you look at the differences between Brazilians from Amazonas, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso, and Goiás you will find them truly insignificant. Everywhere, Brazilians are one, homogeneous, genuinely united, and cohesive, without disputes, rivalries, or antipathies. They are peaceful, affectionate people who see other states’ residents as true brothers. They live in exemplary peace without geographical or ethnic divisions that have often turned apart the history and life of other nations.
This colossal city of São Paulo, the point of attraction for the largest immigration flow Brazil has seen in the 19th and 20th centuries, where descendants of almost all races of the earth live together, presents a strictly Brazilian denominator that marks this city of work and progress with a sovereign note. It makes most diverse peoples live together in the peace and fraternity that truly is Brazil’s dominant climate.
Even more than this fraternity resulting from our people’s nature and almost complete racial homogeneity (as most different races gradually merged, constituting a homogeneous and entirely harmonious whole), we note an amazing religious affinity in Brazil. Providence organized migratory flows to Brazil so that, unintentionally, most immigrants are Catholics. Brazil is a Catholic nation from beginning to end. The percentage of non-Catholics is not only numerically insignificant but also insignificant in its capacity to impress the rest of the population.
Therefore, we have an immense unity of mind, Faith, and territory. So united, an expanding population tends to be one of the world’s largest, with massive economic resources still to be explored. That represents a vast potential.
Brazil stands on the threshold of the 21st century with the possibility of becoming the leading 21st-century power. At the same time, it boasts one of the most glorious titles a nation can have. No country on earth has a Catholic population to match. Numerically, Brazilians are the most important people in genuine Christianity—Catholic Christianity.
A magnificent future awaits us—that of a people who profess the true Faith, know the true principles and hence the natural order that the Catholic Religion alone teaches in its integrity. Furthermore, with its sacraments, only the Church provides the supernatural forces needed to abide by those principles.
Having received the treasure of the fundamental principles of Christian Civilization from the hands of the Catholic Church, Brazil has every means to impose the future path we must follow to attract and invite other nations to follow this line.
My young friends, Brazil can do that easily because Providence made it share its homogeneity with the entire Latin American continent. All its homogeneous nations were born from Iberian territory. These Catholic nations populate vast territories, are sisters to one another and make Latin America—a magnificent block of unexplored resources—the greatest treasure of tomorrow’s Christendom.
It is, therefore, a signal event for a large number of young people from all over our territory to gather in a country that will play such an outstanding role in the future. Called by TFP members and volunteers, you a here to spend a few days studying the evil of communism, its doctrinal incompatibility with the Catholic Church, and how to counter its insidious action to preserve Christian civilization--an immense treasure not only in Brazil but all Latin America, represented here by directors of TFPs from various South American nations.
Amazement at the Huge Number of Young Men Enthused with TFP Ideals
What causes the most astonishment to outside people who understand neither the meaning of our history nor the profound meaning of current events is to see an enormous number of young people enthusiastic about TFP ideals. The youth come from great distances, leave comfort and pleasure to study, and pray to defend a superior ideal: Tradition, Family and Property.
This ideal begins by affirming Tradition, a word that means continuity with the past, fidelity to the principles that others gleefully proclaim dead and incapable of flourishing in our days. The word tradition—which some could argue would likely turn young people away—fascinates Brazilian youth to the point of attracting many elite young men who understand its meaning and can serve it with outstanding dedication.
Indeed, the word Tradition means fidelity, reflection, and elevation of views; it poses a challenge.
We are in an age when all the media glorify what is modern. Radio, television, and the press relentlessly launch new fashions, customs, words, attitudes, and ideas, in a continuous stream of ever more extravagant novelties. They inculcate the idea that any reaction against this apocalyptic production of modern-labeled monstrosities is vain, useless, and will get no traction.
No one can argue against facts. Here is a fact: the TFP has filled the streets of Brazil with young people propagating the eternal principles taught by the Catholic Church. By their bearing, attire, and courage, these young people clearly indicate that Tradition is a principle with all its vitality and capacity to win.
Their campaigns have yielded magnificent results: divorce was not approved in Brazil; the entire nation protested communist penetration in the clergy; the book against a socialist and confiscatory land reform was a success all over the country thanks to TFP work. These campaigns clearly show that the TFP standard, unfurled by young people before the crowds, moves millions of Brazilians. In their subconscious, countless Brazilians sympathize with and revere Tradition. As long as someone dares to stand up, speak and proclaim, he drags innumerable people along, setting off a healthy reaction. The reaction of young people shows Brazil’s longstanding fidelity to itself and the fundamental principles of Christian Civilization.
The Profile of a New Type of Youth
This work developing throughout Brazil outlines a new type of youth profile. It is about this new kind of young man that I’d like to talk about tonight.
He is neither rebellious, resigned, nor a loafer afraid of asserting itself. He is not an indifferent young man living only to work and have a career. He is an energetic, courageous, and selfless go-getter who likes to think and analyze events. He forms his own opinion in the light of Catholic doctrine. Above all, he has no human respect and does not bother with other people’s laughter or misunderstanding. He does not mind going out into the street and receiving insults, to which, with a superior attitude, he does not respond. Yet, facing physical aggression, he reacts promptly and effectively. He knows how to defend his honor. In this way, this young man has destroyed the old and erroneous notion of a ‘good’ young man. He affirms a new and genuine idea of an authentic young Catholic throughout Brazil.
The Misconception of a Good Young Man
What is the erroneous concept of a good young man? It dates from my very distant youth and, I believe, continues more or less until the present day. It is the idea of a soft, smiling young man resigned more or less to everything, lacking the courage to say no or to argue with anyone, always hiding around the corner, running away from all circumstances in which he can stand out.
He is ashamed of his opinions and has an inferiority complex toward the scoundrels of his generation. He is embarrassed to go to confession and receive communion. He is ashamed to pray the rosary, to be pure, and to say he opposes the novelties of our day. But he’s so nice!... poor thing!... so unassuming!... He only asks to be allowed to live in some corner and be crushed and defeated. He has such a begging look! When kicked, he goes to his corner to cry.
That is the wrong image of a good young man – and a dismal image of goodness. If, to be good, a young man had to renounce everything that makes youth shine; if he had to refrain from fighting and lacked the courage to speak loud and clear, to argue and present himself before an audience where everyone thinks differently; if he did not know how to proclaim the virtues he practices, he would be an underrated image of himself. That kind of goodness is not goodness.
The Catholic Religion Is Not for Softies
The Catholic Religion is not the religion of the soft. Piety is by no means a school for man to become effeminate. Let us leave unisex stuff to moderns and the shame of confusing the sexes to heathens. A young Catholic is truly manly in the full extent of the word. He is a man who knows his responsibilities, is aware of his dignity, and has convictions taught by the Faith. He is proud of these convictions and being Catholic; he is proud of being pure and understands that impurity is shameful and that purity is glory. He knows that unbelief is blindness, and believers are those who truly see.
He understands that a person who fights for an ideal is worth far more than one pursuing and struggling for a career. At most, he who fights for a career deserves respect. He who fights for an ideal deserves veneration. He knows that bad people are bad. He knows the world is populated with “children of darkness.” He knows the children of darkness can only be met with energy greater than their own.
Facing evil’s insolence, the genuine young Catholic knows how to be even more insolent with holy audacity. He knows how to be even more arrogant with holy arrogance. He knows how to face anyone and to proclaim truths loud and clear at the center of the fight.
That is the genuinely good young man: fearless and unashamed to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ. To him, we can apply Our Lord’s words: On Judgment Day, I will be proud of these young men who, in the age of paganism par excellence, were not ashamed of Me before others but affirmed their fidelity to Me. I will feel honored and glorified by these young men and take them straight to heaven with Me.
Conversely, on Judgment Day, I will be ashamed of those who were ashamed to confess Me before others.
A TFP Young Man’s Magnificent Profile
We have before us this magnificent type of TFP young man whom I have so often seen campaigning in our streets. On Viaduto do Chá stand the pilasters that served as a pedestal for our glorious campaigns. How often have we seen our young men with their red capes in the middle of the streets, facing crowds and proclaiming our principles! From atop skyscrapers, someone throws a stone at them; another throws a glass of water, another boos; another mocks. Yet, others stop and sign our manifestos or buy a book; others applaud and praise them.
They divide the city. Their chest is like an assertive prow dividing the waters of public opinion into two different streams. They separate the good from the bad in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom the prophet Simeon said came to earth to make known the thoughts of many. Division ensues in contact with TFP young men, and the thoughts of many souls manifest. In contact with such young men, a Christian Brazil that loves purity, Tradition, Family, and Property reveals and defines itself, waging a counter-offensive against its adversaries, maintaining its institutions, and ensuring the nation’s path to the future.
My dear young men participating in this study week, you see how unprecedented this gathering is in the history of Brazil. I once read in a magazine a sociologist saying that the TFP phenomenon is particularly troubling because of the joy and pride TFP members display while enduring mockery by their adversaries and remaining serene and discreet when applauded by the crowds. It is so upsetting as to merit a unique study. That poor man did not know the TFP reality and the profound secret of its vitality that amazes so many. This deep secret is God’s grace descending from the highest of heaven; the supernatural force drawn from frequency to the Holy Sacraments and devotion to Our Lady makes them capable of actions that human nature would not allow. Above all, we have the Faith that moves mountains and overcomes any obstacle; a Faith that can cross valleys and mountains and make the latter jump like goats, as the Holy Scripture says.
We have a great program to carry out, an outstanding achievement to make all of Brazil align with the cause of Tradition, Family, and Property.
We have the example of those who preceded us with the sign of Faith; they were few in the beginning but soon filled the entire Roman Empire.
We must carry our audacity further than Paris’ Sorbonne revolutionaries who recently caused severe disorders and abominations. Sorbonne protesters issued a slogan that would be magnificent were it not at the service of their evil goals: “Be realistic, demand the impossible.” Anything seems possible for a man truly identified with his ideals. That also holds for us. We count on God, Who is on our side and not theirs. These could well be the final words closing these days of study.
The revolutionary tide may swell from today to our next meeting. We may have the impression that terror and violence are shaking Brazil. But nothing shakes our Faith. We remain calm and fearless, ready for heroism, to face all risks and combat, entirely dedicated to Our Lord and our ideal.
We must be realistic and demand what seems impossible. However, for God, everything is possible. Let Brazil rise along with other countries as a single nation and acclaim Our Lady’s Reign in the eyes of the contemporary world to fulfill the words of Scripture: “Her children have arisen and proclaimed Her blessed.”
At Fatima, Our Lady promised, “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary triumph as all Latin America rises in the eyes of the world to proclaim Her blessed Reign. Through us, She will have accomplished the impossible that begins in study weeks such as this one, gathering young men from big and small cities throughout Brazil to defend the imperishable Christian civilization ideal. They have said YES to their vocation and the call for the great 20th Century Crusade to defend imperiled Christian Civilization by saying NO to all factors of disintegration, corruption, and destruction that communism spreads throughout the world. Our YES and No will reverberate to the end of time with echoes of glory. Heavenly choirs will echo your voice mixed with these triumphal voices.
Let’s say YES to Our Lady, NO to the enemy, and let us forge ahead to victory.