The TFP confronts its
11th media uproar
with pride and serenity
Study supported on the written opinions of a theologian and a canon lawyer
* Unraveling objections
The Folha da Manhã, a morning daily of Campos (March 14, 1985), published nothing less than one and a half pages with a garish report from Mr. Giulio Folena, a resident of SãoPaulo, having as an appendix a document authored by Mr. Luis Filipe F. Guimarães Ablas. Both writers are former TFP members.
The document of Mr. G. Folena, teeming with false affirmations, and even superfluous ones for the goal he has in mind, seems to be a substitute for a response to the book, TheTFP’s Reply to a Vain Onslaught, published in two volumes by this organization in the middle of last year.
Should this be the case, one is obliged to acknowledge that the disproportion between Mr. G. Folena’s analysis and the TFP’s two-volume work is total.
This work, written by a commission of members of the organization—Messrs. Atila Sinke Guimarães, Gustavo Antonio Solimeo, João S. Clá Dias and Antonio Augusto Borelli Machado—is a smashing refutation to accusations of heterodoxy hurled at the TFP concerning an alleged cult of veneration said to be rendered illicitly by members of the organization to Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and the soul of his distinguished mother, Dona Lucilia R. Corrêa de Oliveira. The work of the commission of TFP members has obvious intellectual merit, is grounded on excellent reasoning, and its orthodoxy is soundly assured by the crystal-clear opinion of a Spanish theologian of world renown, Very Reverend Father Victorino Rodriguez, O.P., and by opinions on specific parts from canon lawyer Father Arturo Alonso Lobo, O.P. and theologian Father Antonio Royo Marin, O.P.—both of whom are just as famous. No answer at the same level was rendered.
A critique of Mr. G. Folena’s lengthy and silly exposé, and the confused and tumultuous appearance of Mr. O. Fedeli on TV Manchete yesterday would require taking out additional extensive space, if done with the seriousness that is the hallmark of TFP publications. This means further expense, which we are not sure we can afford. If the organization deems it to be opportune, a full evaluation of the same will be provided in mimeograph form. In this case, the TFP will inform the public as to the time and place where this refutation will be available.
Readers are reminded of the superficiality of spirit demonstrated by someone who were to formulate an opinion on this subject without knowing what the organization has to say about it: "Let the other side be heard"—"audiatur et altera pars," is the fundamental legal maxim of every nation today that is not under the communist yoke.
A TFP book on an issue that is… “secret!”
The material published in the press of São Paulo (Folha de S. Paulo of March 15, 16, 17, and 19; Folha da Tarde of March 15, 16, and 19; and Jornal da Tarde of March 15) is likely to have greater repercussion thanks to the incendiary note these papers gave the declarations of Mr. Luís Filipe F. G. Ablas. Consequently, we give a priority to them in this our first analysis.
Indeed, anyone who reads what was published in the Campos daily, and all the more so its summary as published by the three dailies of São Paulo just mentioned, is left with a more pejorative understanding of the facts. Now then, once these have been properly laid out and explained, together with the important aspects not mentioned in the media attacks, one cannot but see them as they are and how, in all fairness, they deserve to be seen.
By a striking coincidence, on March 14 (the day in which the first of these media attacks surfaced) final arrangements were being made to send to press a most substantial book, with excellent argumentation and ample documentation, written by TFP member Átila Sinke Guimarães. The book is about the most important among the interesting aspects of life in the organization which were deformed by Misters G. Folena and L. F. Ablas. In publishing this book, the TFP wishes to make publicly available something which Mr. L. F. Ablas affirms is… secret!
This book was sent to press some days ago and will be for sale to anyone who wants it at Rua Dr. Martinico Prado, 246, telephone 221-8755, from 8 am to 8 pm, beginning next Monday, April 2.
This book too received a favorable opinion from the eminent theologian Very Reverend Father Victorino Rodríguez, O.P.
Frankly, no objection against the TFP on this subject can be taken seriously from now on unless the detractor can show that he is fully acquainted, not just with this communiqué, but also with what is stated in this book.
Historical antecedents: the simple recounting of the facts
Nevertheless, given the delays of printers, which are always possible, and to dispel misgivings engendered in uninformed readers, especially by the São Paulo dailies already mentioned, the TFP reaches out before the book is available to clarify some of the more essential aspects of the matter. For this, there is nothing more efficient than the simple recounting of the facts.
1. As all Brazil and, so to speak, the entire West knows, the TFP’s mission is to fight against the expansion of international communism, using legal and peaceful means.
In this arduous struggle, now twenty-five years old, the members of the TFP have confronted victoriously the systematic, well articulated, and well-nigh continuous waves of two types of campaigns, both equally vehement: (a) that of silence; (b) that of calumnies, misinformation and counter-information.
In such action — to which they commit unending, huge and always selfless efforts — TFP members have carried the burden of various kinds of sacrifices.
They have done this right cheerfully, without vacillating or stepping back, because they are motivated by a great ideal.
2. A great ideal? How much more than just this! They are motivated by the holy, Roman, Catholic, and apostolic faith, which the vast majority among them professes since Baptism in early childhood. Not few among them, however, were drawn to it by grace from the distant regions of Protestantism, or the Greek schism, the synagogue or paganism.
The TFP is not a specifically religious organization, established and administered by ecclesiastical authority. In accordance with its charter and bylaws, it is a civic organization whose thought and action are informed by the traditional moral and theological principles of the Church. All of its members though are Roman Catholic.
Being faithful to the traditional teachings of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church, they are fully conscious that communism and the Catholic faith are intrinsically incompatible. And, consequently, it is out of love for the Catholic faith that they carry on the great doctrinal fights of the organization.
3. Continuing this consonance with traditional Catholic doctrine, they are particularly motivated in this fight by their confidence in Our Lady, the Mediatrix of all graces, through whose intercession all the prayers of men ascend to God, and through whom come to us from God all the graces granted unto us in His Mercy.
They are specially stimulated by this great Marian truth, and by the revelations made by Our Lady in 1917, in the Cova da Iria (Fatima, Portugal), to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, the members of the TFP intend to serve, through their anti-communist action, that One who warned us all, through the three little shepherds, that if men did not repent"Russia would spread its errors throughout the world," adding, however, the decisive and encouraging promise: "Finally, My Immaculate heart will triumph."
4. Aiming to better love and serve Her for whom they fight, TFP members usually follow, in this regard, the spirituality of a soul of fire, who figures among the most outstanding masters of the devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, namely, Saint Louis Maria Grignion de Montfort (1673-17 16), solemnly canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1947, to the unspeakable joy of all of ardent Marian souls, at that time very numerous around the world.
Because of this, it is customary in the TFP to read and study in a special way two famous works of this saint, the Treatise on True Devotion to the Most Holy Virgin and The Secret of Mary, of which many translations and editions have been published one after another in many languages, starting in the 19th century. And, at the end of this reading, theyusually—as the saint recommends—consecrate themselves as "slaves of love to the Most Holy Virgin," to whom each of them address a prayer in the following terms: "I deliver and consecrate to Thee, as Thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present, and future, giving to Thee the entire and full right to dispose of them as thou wishest for the greater glory of God, in time, and in eternity." These words are from the text of the consecration written by the saint.
5. As is normal, as long as one recognizes in the combat against communism a service to Mary, such combat, with the interior and exterior good actions it entails, constitutes an action through which one puts into practice the Montfortian consecration of "slave of love of Mary Most Holy." Since, undoubtedly, it is an action that is meritorious and in accordance with Her will to fight the enemy She points out to us as the chastisement and scourge of men, and from whom She promises to free the world.
Given that such anticommunist action is in accordance both with Christian faith and morals and with the will of Mary Most Holy, and given further that to undertake such action presupposes a disciplined and articulated work, without which no work is fruitful, to obey, in this anticommunist struggle, those whom in the TFP hold posts of authority, is logically the will of Mary. Those among the TFP’s associates and simple members who consecrate themselves to Her as "slaves of love" act within this perspective.
6. Such considerations resulted in that in 1967 — almost twenty years ago — a certain number of associate and simple TFP members, who habitually renewed their consecration as "slaves of love to the Most Holy Virgin," to ask Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, the illustrious founder of the organization and dedicated president of its National Council, to accept that they would consecrate themselves to the Mother of God in his hands. They understood by this to affirm reasonably that all the labors and sacrifices which the highest leader of the anticommunist struggle would indicate to them as necessary for their growth in devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, and in Her service, in the action undertaken by the TFP against the egalitarian, Gnostic, and communist Revolution, were, for them, the result of their consecration pursuant to the writings of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. It consisted, therefore, of a consecration as slaves of Mary Most Holy, made in the hands of Dr. Plinio. Slavery, one sees readily, in its substance entirely within the religious and spiritual meaning given it by the French saint. Specifically distinct — and how much! — from the vile, cruel and unjust slavery of the Indian forcibly captured in the jungle in order to serve the white lord, and of the negro traffic, no less vile, unjust and cruel.
Slavery to Mary? This is how it is legitimately described in Marian language today. For the formula of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort is titled Consecration of Oneself to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, through the hands of Mary. And this consecration is done "as a perpetual slave."
This slavery brings with it a supreme liberty. This is what His Holiness John Paul II emphasizes with clarity and precision. Questioned in this regard by the renowned author AndréFrossard, His Holiness stated about the "sacred slavery" to Mary Most Holy:
"Slavery: the word may shock our contemporaries. As for me, I don’t see in it any dificulty. I believe it is a type of paradox as is frequently found in the Gospels, the words "holy slavery" meaning that we could not fulfill more profoundly our freedom — the greatest of the gifts God has given us. Because freedom is measured by the love we are capable of.
"This is what, I believe, [Montfort] wanted to show."(1) (A. Frossard, Dialogues avec Jean-Paul I, (Paris, 1983), pp 186-187 – apud L ’Homme Nouveau (Paris, November 18, 1984).
(1) Indeed, while enumerating the motives for adopting the slavery of love, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort says: "This practice gives great liberty of spirit -the freedom of the children of God - to those who faithfully practice it. Through this devotion we make ourselves slaves of Jesus by consecrating ourselves entirely to him. To reward us for this enslavement of love, our Lord frees us from every scruple and servile fear which might restrict, imprison or confuse us; he opens our hearts and fills them with holy confidence in God, helping us to regard God as our Father; he inspires us with a generous and filial love." The Saint goes on to tell the life of Mother Agnes of Jesus, who died in the odor of sanctity in France in 1634, concluding: "One day the Blessed Virgin appeared to Mother Agnes and put a gold chain around her neck to show her how happy she was that Mother Agnes had become the slave of both her and her Son. And St. Cecilia, who accompanied our Lady, said to her, 'Happy are the faithful slaves of the Queen of heaven, for they will enjoy true freedom.' Tibi servire libertas." (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, nos. 169-170). http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/truedevo.htm
By analogy to this slavery — obviously one that is entirely religious and spiritual — it is perhaps well for us to repeat that the consecration as slave of Mary in the hands of Dr. Plinio entailed creating between him and the person consecrating himself to Mary in his [Dr. Plinio’s] hands, a situation which, from the perspective of the Treatise on True Devotion to the Most Holy Virgin by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort could be called one of lord-slave.
The expression may cause surprise to persons who understandably are not familiar with this specialized, we would almost say technical, terminology. However, it is entirelyconsonant with Catholic doctrine and morals, and with the Montfortian consecration. This will be easily recognized by so many Marian souls who will eventually read this present communiqué. And, it is also what is demonstrated — as above stated — with abundance of historical and doctrinal arguments in the book by Mr. Atila Sinke Guimarães.
This may seen even more alien to a-religious minds accustomed to seeing things in a secularist and naturalist perspective; not, however, from the luminous and supernatural perspectives, the perspectives of the Christian faith.
But how can one understand and judge favorably from a secularist perspective, something which can only be explained in the light of the Faith?
Confirming from the onset the doctrine of what is explained here, we advance the information that the book writt en by Mr. Atila Sinke Guimarães enjoys favorable written opinions of two luminaries of the Catholic contemporary intellectual world, the canonist Father Arturo Alonso Lobo, O.P. and the theologian, Father VictorinoRodriguez, O.P. professors emeritus of the illustrious University of Salamanca, the first being one of the collaborators in the famous Comentarios al Código de Derecho Canónicopublished by BAC (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos) and the author of numerous books; and the second, with more than 200 studies on theology and philosophy published in books and specialized periodicals of the main European centers of culture.
7. Lastly, it is important to emphasize five aspects of this consecration to Our Lady done in the hands of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira:
a) As in the consecration to Our Lady, the "slave" who thus consecrated himself was not subject to any moral pressure. In other words, any act of disobedience on his part, did not constitute a sin;
b) And if, for eventual and grave reasons of conscience — for example, to preserve the integrity in the Faith or the observance of Catholic morality — the "slave" who might believed it necessary to leave this situation, he could do so licitly at any moment, without needing permission from anyone. Because the person who thus consecrated himself did not renounce (and could not renounce) this faculty, in the act of his consecration. As can be seen, it was a bond that was freely constituted and maintained constantly free by the always spontaneously renewed consent of the person who contracted it. This is diametrically contrary to the situation of a slave subjected to brute force.
c) The group of persons thus consecrated constituted something of a vein, a sector inside the TFP. They were never an association distinct from the TFP. For theTFP associates and simple members thus consecrated, intended to exercise their consecration through an anticommunist action co-identical with that of the TFP,in the ranks of the TFP, and under the direction of the founder of this organization and president of its National Council.
d) Unfortunately, this consecration, done in the vast majority of cases in 1967, had an ephemeral life. After a surge of fervor, it quickly entered into decadence, because of the superficiality of spirit and the inconsistency of so many members of the "new generation" of that time. A few months later, the obedience resulting from this consecration no longer enjoyed more than vague traces of existence. And this too waned. In 1972 there was a ceremony of consecration that seemed almost posthumous. For there was no further meeting, except a sporadic one in 1976, held in an ambience of discouragement which made any other meetings definitely impossible. That was nearly ten years ago. That which happened, allows one to see the entire absence of moral coercion inherent to such obedience.
e) All of this left behind in the souls of the "slaves of Mary" through the hands of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, sadness, nostalgia, vague hope. — Who knows? Maybe one day? — That day…has not yet come.
Sempervivum, the flower that does not die: was the transparent and gracious figure of speech that this nostalgic hope (but on the strictly natural plane, a mere dream!) preserved as its symbol. What is wrong with that?
8. Secret association? That is what the above-mentioned dailies state. Now then, we have seen that it was not an association, but a sector, a vein, and this vein was not secret,it did not constitute a closed cabal of exclusivists with purposes just for themselves, from which the others should be excluded and left in the dark.
What happened was this. After much insistent asking and seeing the surge of enthusiasm that the spontaneous idea of this consecration was causing in some TFP associates and simple members who were looking for him on this topic, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira did not wish to deny that good resolution his support. However, at the same time, having in mind the "flash in the pan" that so many generous religious or ideological surges resulted in along the course of history, especially, as was the case before him, when coming from young individuals or persons in early maturity, he recommended to each person who sought him out on this issue, not to spread the idea among others. So that the idea would result, presumably, from an interior motion of grace. Thus, those who received this grace, only spoke about it among themselves.
What could be more prudent? In itself, the ensuing facts proved that in many, the very initial movement, which was serious and profound, carried with it manifestations that tended now towards the exaggerated, now to the ephemeral, both symptomatic of a "flash in the pan." It was possible to restrain one or another exaggeration that manifested itself, always with suave and even gradual prudential moves, and, more rarely, with one or another forceful decision. The tendency to the ephemeral, unfortunately, quickly gained ground, without it being possible, in the end, to control it.
In addition (let it be said in passing), the appearance of abuses along the course of a formation or preaching do not prove anything against it.
The tendency to abuse results, in every man, from Original Sin and from preternatural action. From apostolic times there have been saints whom certain exaggerated listeners or followers wanted to adore as gods. Is this the fault of the saints who reacted against it? Certainly not. It was the fault of man.
The appearance of the tendency to abuse can happen in regards to anything. Only its impunity entails guilt.
In any event, everyone hoped that if this consecration really took hold, it would extend itself to the entire TFP. But this should happen gradually, without sweeping enthusiasms, and without constituting for this any moral pressure on those who, for personal motives, did not wish to make such consecration.
The new vein in the TFP was, thus, essentially not secret, for it tended of itself, and in a natural way, to encompass everyone, taking into account only the necessary gradualness for this to be done in a normal and free manner.
Little by little, the knowledge of these facts spread. Today, the entire TFP knows these facts and everyone has respect and sympathy for the sempervivum. And with the unending nostalgia of those who received the so-called "grace of ’67."
9. Not having space here to discuss the ceremonies alleged by Mr. Luis Filipe Ablas, let us say something however about the buffets.
"Buffet": the word shocks since it reminds one, for example, of a vulgar aggression in a bar. However, we find no word that translates better the Latin word "alapa" used in the Roman Pontifical for the ceremony of the dubbing of a knight by a bishop (cf. Pontificale Romanum, [Malines, France: H. Dessain, 1934], p. 1019). Thus, we call the ritual "alapa"a "buffet." In French, for example, we find in the vocabulary of Chivalry the word "paumée," a blow given with the palm of the hand. Etymologically, paumée is linked with the Portuguese "palmada" [smack], a word which in today’s common usage took on a different meaning, bringing to mind amusingly the correcting of a child. "Slap?" The term describes somewhat the blows in a fight among children heading to adolescence. Inadequate as the word "buffet" might be, we do not find another.
Three buffets were given in the act of consecration to Mary in the hands of Dr. Plinio. Indeed, in the dubbing of the medieval knight, the officiating noble administered the accolade to the new knight, by striking him lightly on the shoulder or back with the flat of the sword, and then striking him (this could be done by the new knight’s own father) with the palm of his hand (cf. León Gautier, La Chevalerie [France: Arthaud, 1959] pp. 135-15 1). As is generally known, the medieval knight went down in History as a model of Christian dignity and brilliance. These blows and buffets had a purely ritual or ceremonial character, being linked to traditions that it would take too long to explain here.
Something analogous is seen in the purely ritual buffet given by the bishop to the young Catholic receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.
It is not surprising therefore, that there would be something similar in the act of consecration, which in its rite had something analogous (but not identical) to the investiture of a knight or the admission of someone to religious life.
10. Confession among lay people in the TFP? That is what Mr. L. F. Ablas claims. Today’s reader is only familiar with the confession-Sacrament. Does this mean that Prof. PlinioCorrêa de Oliveira gave, for example, absolution to those who confessed?—This is all so ridiculous and so bereft of proofs, that all it deserves is a peremptory "no."
As yet another reminiscence of medieval chivalry, every now and then, "slaves" would "confess" to each other spontaneously their faults. Such "confession" recalled that done by knights among themselves, on certain occasions, for example, on the eve of a battle. As with that done by the knights, this "confession" did not have among the "slaves" a sacramental character, but that of a simple declaration of faults done to a brother-in-arms, as a noble and moving exercise of Christian humility. For this very reason, the word "confession" was never used among them to designate what they very appropriately called an "accusation of faults."
In this practice among the "slaves," it was absolutely forbidden, in keeping with the rules of prudence, to mention any faults outside of the scope of the "Marian slavery." Notably, anything connected to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments were excluded from these "confessions."
Lastly, and still following the tradition of Chivalry, whoever declared his faults in this manner could request a penance, admittedly one that is reasonable and moderate, in the line of the three ritual buffets or other acts in conformity with Christian ascesis and practiced by saints and religious orders.
In passing, someone might ask if all these references to Christian chivalry do not justify the claim that the TFP today has a paramilitary aspect. The question could only come from a mind that is so ignorant, so churlish, or so insolent that it would be normal to reject it.
* * *
These are clarifications that presently the TFP believes it opportune to give to the public to prevent the distortions, pettifoggery and false visualizations so common in the long history of media uproars unleashed upon the organization.
What is stated here will be largely complemented by the publicly announced book by Mr. Átila Sinke Guimarães.
The TFP is always willing to give any clarifications to whoever requests them in the context of a courteous personal dialogue or a respectful and sincere discussion. It is not willing to do so however to feed unendingly attacks that are obviously moved by hatred, and applauded by the immense cohort of useful innocents, "fellow-travelers," or militants of international communism.
São Paulo, March 25, 1985
Paulo Corrêa de Brito Filho
TFP Press Director