What People Are Asking
Questions about the Past and Present Day
Relations between TIA and TFP
TIA has received many questions from its supporters and readers |
regarding its links to TFP. It was judged opportune to address
these questions here as an ensemble.
1. Question: Was there ever any relationship between TIA – Tradition in Action – and TFP – Tradition, Family and Property?
Answer: As for the two organizations, there were few links from the past because TIA is much more recent than TFP. TIA’s public life started after 1995, the year of the death of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.
Some of the members of TIA, however, did have past links with TFP. Mr. Atila S. Guimarães was an associate of the Brazilian TFP from 1964 until 1998 when he was excluded from the board of the organization. Dr. Marian T. Horvat also collaborated in many ways with American TFP from 1977 until approximately the same time.
The cordial relations of both Atila Guimarães and Marian Horvat with TFP ceased when they published the book In the Murky Waters of Vatican II. There is no relationship at present – official or otherwise – between the two organizations.
2. Question: Could you explain in more detail what led to this rupture?
Answer: The main reason was that, given the accelerated destruction inside Holy Mother Church, Tradition in Action judged it necessary to publish the work of Guimarães analyzing Vatican Council II with the hope of changing the present day religious situation. TFP objected strongly to this action. That antagonism was translated into two facts:
3. Question: Were these arguments correct?
- A.S. Guimarães decided to publish the first book of his collection on Vatican Council II, and the American edition was launched in November 1997 under the responsibility of TIA.
- The new president of the Brazilian TFP wrote a letter some days later demanding that Guimarães remove the book from circulation. He gave two basic reasons: first, according to him Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira did not want to publish the collection on the Council in our days, and second, the Brazilian TFP board of directors also did not want to publish it.
Answer: No and yes. No, the first argument is not correct, because Prof. Plinio did want to publish the collection on Vatican II to try to change the present day religious situation. Yes, the second reason is correct, because the directors of the Brazilian TFP positively did not want to publish it.
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, left, edits the Portuguese text of In the Murky Waters of Vatican II. Atila Sinke Guimarães, at right, takes note of the corrections. They are working in front of a small statue of Our Lady of Good Success.
4. Question: Is it possible to be more specific about the intentions of Prof. Plinio?
Answer: Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira invited A.S. Guimarães to write the collection on the Council and gave him the necessary intellectual and material assistance to do so from 1982 until 1995 when he died, that is, for all the years it took the author to write and edit the 11 volumes. During this time, Prof. Plinio also spoke to him about his plans for the future of the collection. The author gave some of those guidelines in the introduction of In the Murky Waters of Vatican II.
In November 1997, after Guimarães received the ultimatum demanding that he remove the book from circulation, he responded by writing a long answer (253 pages
in English; 245 pages
in Portuguese) addressing the objections presented by the Brazilian TFP president. In that defense he reproduced innumerable texts in which Prof. Plinio supported and stimulated not only the writing of the collection, but also its publication as soon as possible. Guimarães had tape-recorded and typed many of the meetings in which he received this orientation directly from Prof. Plinio.
After he finished writing his defense in March 1998, Guimarães asked two witnesses to deliver the work to the TFP president, which was done. He also printed 500 copies of this document and tried to spread it among TFP members. Since the letter condemning him had been widely circulated within the TFP, it seemed fair that the members should know the refutation to it. To this day there has been no response from the directors to the defense. Further, they forbade the members to read it, and have continued to spread the fabrication that Prof. Plinio did not want to publish Guimarães’ books on the Council.
5. Question: Why did the Brazilian president of TFP and its board of directors try to forbid Guimarães from publishing his book in 1997?
Answer: In several discussions with the author prior to the ultimatum, the directors avowed that as they were intellectually unprepared to face a public polemic with the religious authority, they did not want to stir up any waters. Even if one sets aside the truth of the first statement, the decision to avoid a public polemic, which in effect meant deserting the battlefront, raised a grave moral problem. Many times in History, Catholics with inferior means have been called to face enemies with superior resources. They did not run away from the fight. They had the courage to face the enemy and trusted in Divine Providence to give them assistance to win.
In the case of the TFP and the fight against Progressivism in the Church the same principle should be applied. Therefore, what was condemnable in the attitude of the directors was that they lacked courage to continue the struggle, and lacked faith in Divine Providence to fill the vacuum created by their own deficient preparation for the situation.
There was, in addition, another important reason why those directors did not want to enter into any polemic with the religious authority, a reason that Guimarães learned of two years after its occurrence. This was the existence of a clear-cut compromise made between the TFP directors and the ecclesiastic structure, by which they committed to refrain from any public discussion on Vatican II and the reforms that came from it. The directors sent a letter containing this promise to the Cardinal Primate of Brazil, then Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, giving him the guarantee that the TFP would no longer combat Vatican II and its consequences.
6. Question: Is it possible to know the content of this letter?
Answer: Yes, it is. Guimarães reproduced the main parts of it in his defense. These parts will be posted below.
The letter was dated September 18, 1995. It was written and sent without the consent of Prof. Plinio, who was in the hospital and died two weeks later on October 3, 1995. The pretext for the letter was to clarify some points for Cardinal Moreira Neves, who days before had attacked TFP as opposed to Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Missae. The letter was signed by Canon José Luiz Villac, an ecclesiastic who was chosen to represent the directors in the agreement. In the document, he speaks, in fact, as a representative of the directors and the whole organization. The letter was delivered, but the agreement was kept quiet. Only a handful of persons knew about its existence. The great majority of TFP members did not know about this official compromise of the directorate then, and perhaps they are still unaware of it today.
Here are the more important excerpts:
“The words of Your Eminence that ‘the TFP does not hide its opposition to Vatican Council II ... and takes a critical attitude in relation to the Mass of Paul VI in favor of that of St. Pius V,’ also contains erroneous information.
From the time the letter was written until today, all the practical evidence indicates that the TFP is keeping its side of that bargain, maintaining a position of non-militancy in face of the infiltration of Progressivism in the Catholic Hierarchy.
“The attitude of those who belong to the TFP toward Vatican Council II and the Mass of Paul VI is quite nuanced. With regard to the latter, the TFP always has maintained a discrete position, and does not want to make public certain theological difficulties raised by the Novus Ordo Missae. It is waiting for a full elucidation of the subject from the supreme authority of the Church.
“In face of the very grave problems that afflict the Church in our days - so often mentioned by H.H. John Paul II - this is the position, Your Eminence, of the great majority of the members, supporters and correspondents of the TFP:
“In view of this, they are trying to accompany the debates over these questions that surge here and there in the ecclesiastical sphere, waiting for the matter to be duly clarified.
- “They admit that they are perplexed over certain reforms and certain events that have taken place in the Church since the pontificate of John XXIII;
- “This perplexity is defined as a non-comprehension and an uneasiness;
- “This perplexity is not an affirmation that there is error in these events and these reforms, and it is also not an affirmation that there is not error. Those who make up the TFP, even if they are instructed Catholics, declare themselves incapable of resolving all the very complex theological, moral, canonical and liturgical questions that are at the root of this uneasiness.
“While they wait for this clarification, they adhere entirely to the terms set out by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei, and that are contained in the protocol that various traditionalist groups have signed with the Vatican [which affirms]: ‘With regard to some doctrines taught by Vatican Council II, or with regard to later reforms, liturgical or of Canon Law, that can seem difficult to reconcile with declarations of the previous Magisterium, I assume the obligation of maintaining a positive attitude of study and communication with the Apostolic See, avoiding any polemic.’
“I pledge my word as a priest to guarantee Your Eminence that this balanced and conciliatory attitude has always been adopted by those who belong to the TFP, and that they have no intention of abandoning it.”
In contrast, TIA is assuming a position of active fight and public resistance.
7. Question: Is it true that under Prof. Plinio’s presidency, the TFP always took a “discrete position” and a “balanced and conciliatory attitude” toward Vatican II and its reforms as affirmed in the letter
Answer: No, it is not true. He was one of the first leaders of the Resistance against the novelties that came from Vatican II. During the whole first session of the Council (1962) he was in Rome following the debates. When he perceived that the progressivist wing was trying to protect Communism, he wrote the essay The Freedom of the Church in a Communist State, which was first written to be spread among the conciliar Fathers and helped to stimulate the petition that hundreds of Bishops signed asking the Pope for a solemn condemnation of Communism in the Council. Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo and Archbishop Dino Staffa, respectively Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation of Seminars and Universities, who were expressive figures of the conservative wing of Prelates at Vatican II, wrote a letter praising this work of Prof. Plinio and recognizing its importance.
At the airport, Prof. Plinio, left, leaves Rome after the first session of Vatican II
Another work of Prof. Plinio was on the topic of dialogue and ecumenism – Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue. It was published in 1965 during the fourth and last session of Vatican II. The more profound purpose of this book was to break the spell of the dialogue launched simultaneously by John XXIII and Communist leaders to encourage an atmosphere of mutual collaboration between Catholics and Communists. The dangerous emotional climate created by ecumenism with false religions was also pointed out in the book to de-mythify the fad for dialogue that was rapidly gaining ground in the Catholic religious milieu.
In 1970 and 1971 he wrote forceful articles against the indirect support Paul VI gave to the installment of Communism in Chile. In 1971 he clearly and publicly declared that the conciliar Popes should not be followed should they teach against private property or try to destroy the “Constantine Church.” He also clearly criticized Vatican II for not having condemned Communism. In 1974 he wrote his famous Declaration of Resistance against the Vatican policy of Ostpolitik. In that same year, from April to December, he wrote a series of articles showing different aspects of his Resistance to some of the Vatican positions. TIA plans to post some of these invaluable pieces on its website.
With regard to the new Mass, it was Prof. Plinio who invited a Brazilian scholar – Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira – to make a careful study about the Protestant tendency of the Novus Ordo and the eventuality of a Pope falling into heresy and schism, as well as a study to know when ecclesiastical laws are infallible. This scholar wrote a book on these topics, and Prof. Plinio took the initiative to publish this work in 1970. Afterward he sent it to all of the more than 300 Brazilian Bishops, with the approval of and a letter of recommendation by Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer. Prof. Plinio also encouraged the author to publish the book in French (1975), which was done. During his lifetime TFP members were not allowed to attend the new Mass.
In 1982 he invited Atila Guimarães to write his collection on Vatican II, and planned to publish it around the end of 1995. He died before that.
Many other similar actions could be listed here. What the facts clearly show is that the position of Prof. Plinio regarding Vatican II and the new Mass in no way can be considered “discrete” or “conciliatory.”
8. Question: Would you describe the general lines of TFP, and explain how they differ from those of TIA?
Answer: Until Prof. Plinio’s death, TFP was well known for being in the front line of the anti-Progressivist and anti-Communist fights. After his death, one might say that the organization rolled up its standards and abandoned these battles.
With regard to Progressivism, today TFP restrains its combat to skirmishes with several radical progressivists, leaving free ground to the non-radical enemies who have infiltrated the Church to continue their plan of destruction. It was these same subtle enemies who in times past TFP used to denounce. Before Prof. Plinio’s death TFP used to be a scourge of the progressivist and concessive Bishops; today it has become a sycophant of them. Its fight against Progressivism has been replaced by some few other actions – against abortion and blasphemous films. Laudable actions, without a doubt. But lacking any special risk, they no longer constitute the audacious fight that characterized the entity in times past.
Regarding the anti-Communist fight, the organization made no significant action to prevent the election of Lula, a Communist, as president of Brazil. It made no serious denunciation of the strong support the Catholic Hierarchy gave him, which brought him to power. Again, the organization that under Prof Plinio’s presidency had prevented Lula from being elected several times, did practically nothing to stop his election in October 2002. The other actions of TFP against Communism consist of small scuffles turned to particular points trying to keep the day-to-day bourgeois establishment working. Certainly they are not bad actions, but they are drastically insufficient. The present day TFP members seem like sailors obstinately trying to maintain the day-to-day order on a Titanic that is sinking.
Regarding the general mentality reigning in the organization, it is sad to consider the change: the abandonment of grandeur and the embracing of mediocrity.
These certainly are not the lines of TIA. We try to remain faithful to the militant and counter-revolutionary orientation of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira both in the religious sphere, that is, the fight against Progressivism that has infiltrated the Church, and in the temporal sphere, that is, the fight against Communism and its more recent consequences, such as self-managing Socialism, Ecology, and the Cultural Revolution.
Posted February 5, 2003
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