Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira


Chapter 2
Admission of New Members








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If we consider the ideas fashionable in certain circles of Catholic Action on what criterion to use when recruiting new members, we will find also there a disastrous effect of the doctrines on the magical action of liturgical participation and the grace of state in Catholic Action.

Tumultuous Recruiting

We know of a certain member of Catholic Action who works in an ambience massively hostile to the Church and who was asked by a "zealot" why he would not found a section of Catholic Action there. The vigor with which the interpellation was made and the farfetchedness of the whole idea, led him to believe that his interlocutor ignored entirely the situation in the ambience in question. The latter, however, hastened to correct this impression by giving a most detailed description of the place's peculiarities. He expressed surprise at the idea. So his interlocutor said: "You don't know what Catholic Action is! Let it be filled with Free Masons and anyone else of the same kind, and in a short while they will all be converted."

The words of the Holy Ghost are thus forgotten:

Bring not every man into thy house: for many are the snares of the deceitful. For as corrupted bowels send forth stinking breath…so also is the heart of the proud, and as a spy that looketh on the fall of his neighbor. For he lieth in wait and turneth good into evil, and on the elect he will lay a blot. Of one spark cometh a great fire, and of one deceitful man much blood: and a sinful man lieth in wait for blood. Take heed to thyself of a mischievous man, for he worketh evils: lest he bring upon thee reproach for ever. Receive a stranger in, and he shall overthrow thee with a whirlwind, and shall turn thee out of thy own. (1)

And the Holy Ghost adds:

Never trust thy enemy: for as a brass pot his wickedness rusteth: Though he humble himself and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him. Set him not by thee, neither let him sit on thy right hand, lest he turn into thy place, and seek to take thy seat: and at the last thou acknowledge my words, and be pricked with my sayings. (2)

There is much talk about apostolate of infiltration. Does it not occur to anyone that our enemies have been doing this for centuries? The illustrious Bishop Vital Maria Gonçalves de Oliveira published a booklet during the reign of Pius IX in which he noted that certain adversaries of the Church spent a long time receiving Holy Communion daily from the hands of the Pontiff, in order to gain his confidence.

Think of the very serious responsibility, from every viewpoint, of those who advocate the admission of members en masse into Catholic Action. One can apply the warning of the Apostle to those who recruit collaborators for the Hierarchy, in such a tumultuous manner: "Impose not hands lightly upon any man, neither be partaker of other men's sins." (3)

Nevertheless, presented with seriousness, and seemingly inexplicable unless considered together with the liturgical automatism, this erroneous principle gives the measure of the criterion with which many people intend to practice Catholic Action. This error is repeated with increasing frequency in many study workshops. From it was born the most dangerous doctrine that any person whatsoever should be received into Catholic Action and allowed to make the promise shortly thereafter; the person starts the trial period when he wants and makes the promise three months later; and immediately after the promise, by the marvelous action of the acquired mandate and the liturgical magic, the newcomers will be transformed into excellent members. In other words, just like the philosopher's stone, Catholic Action supposedly has the rare gift of turning into gold anything approaching it. As we can see, it is always the same automatism producing its logical consequences.


1) Ecclus. 11:31-36.

2) Ecclus. 12:10-12.

3) 1 Tim. 5:22.


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