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|Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira|
Double Game of French Socialism
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Many statesmen of our time, as well as highly-placed businessmen and prominent figures in science, culture and art, pride themselves in being prophets and apostles of the immense secularist and egalitarian Revolution which embraces all of today's world.
In the midst of this ubiquitous and apparently victorious laicist and egalitarian revolution appears the figure of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira who has developed and lived ideals diametrically opposed to the current dominant tendencies. His great accomplishment is the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), the direct result of an entire life of activity as a writer, university professor, journalist and orator.
Plinio Correa de Oliveira, born in Sâo Paulo, Brazil, on December 13, 1908, began his activities as a Catholic militant in 1928, at the age of 20. The TFP was founded only in 1960, after a long and careful process of preparation. Since then its ideals have been projected throughout practically all of South America, the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. Since 1977 the TFPs have had a representative office in Rome, the Ufficio Tradizione, Famiglia, Proprieta, and another in Washington since last year. A number of activities of the TFP have had surprising repercussions behind the Iron Curtain.
According to the myth - frequently accepted unquestioningly - the egalitarian Revolution finds, in new countries without tradition, a more fertile ground than in those where tradition still powerfully impregnates the laws, institutions and customs. In other words, the Americas would theoretically, be more fertile ground for the Revolution than Europe.
The spread of the TFPs has shaken this cliche. Formed initially in Sâo Paulo, the "New York of Brazil," the TFP was made up of middle-aged men, many of whom came from old established families and from the upper middle-class. Their Christian, anti-socialist and anti-communist proclamation was received enthusiastically by young students and white-collar workers, most of them descendants of working class immigrants from the most varied origins.
The ideals of the Brazilian TFP, the same as those of the other TFPs, are set forth in the book Revolution and Counter-revolution, published by Plinio Correa de Oliveira in 1959, shortly before the founding of the Society. This book shows how certain forces and ideological currents began to unite in the Fifteenth Century to exterminate Christian Civilization and destroy the Catholic Church, and thus do away with the fruits of the Redemption of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Basically, these forces manipulate man's unbridled passions, especially pride and sensuality, and use sophistry, political intrigue and economic pressure to achieve their destructive end.
The first great and, so to speak, collective social explosion of these passions occurred in the Sixteenth Century with the Renaissance, affecting the cultural and artistic field, and with the Protestant Reformation, which affected the religious field. The action of pride as a revolutionary force in the religious field provokes the rejection of the supreme authority of the Pope as monarch of the Church, and that of the bishops as its hierarchy. In the humanist movement of the Renaissance the fanatic admiration for Greek and Roman art became a pretext to introduce naturalism, nudism, and immorality in general into the social customs of Christian Europe.
The cumulative effect of all these factors, nourished by pride and sensuality, resulted in another explosion, the French Revolution of 1789. This second revolution consisted mainly in raising the standard of equality, liberty and fraternity in order to force transformations in the hierarchical structure of the State analogous to those provoked by Protestantism in the structure of the Church.
Egalitarianism, and its corollary, liberalism, did not tarry in reaching the only sphere of Christian order that had remained more or less intact, the socioeconomic field. The germs of utopian socialism, already present in the French Revolution, rapidly spread through Europe until the middle of the nineteenth century, when they produced scientific socialism, or communism: the third revolution. This materialistic, atheistic and completely egalitarian revolution is now reaching its zenith and is already developing into a fourth: the proclamation of the freedom of all instincts. The rebellion of the Sorbonne in 1968 was a howling and characteristic preview of this fourth revolution.
In his book, Plinio Correa de Oliveira emphasizes that the great global Revolution, whose final phase we are now witnessing, is not above all a political or sociological phenomenon, but even more profoundly a moral and religious transformation which radiates its effects into all the aspects of the human personality. Whence the revolutionary germ spreads into the Church and the State, into social customs, art and culture, and into the political, social and economic order of today's life.
In the face of the revolutionary dragon, the Counter-revolution, as Plinio Correa de Oliveira sees it, is much more than a book: It is an ideal that invites modern man to completely reject all the aspects of the laicist and egalitarian Revolution and to restore the Christian order, the concretization in the temporal and religious spheres of the redemptive work of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Plinio Correa de Oliveira is a descendant of long established families from the states of Pernambuco whence came his father, the lawyer Joao Paulo Correa de Oliveira, and Sao Paul - the most important
Brazilian state - whence came his mother, Lucilia Ribeiro dos Santos. He attended high school in the Colegio Sao Luis run by the Jesuit Fathers of S. Paulo, and received his law degree from the famous Law School of the University of Sao Paulo.
At an early age he became interested in the philosophical, religious, and practical analyses of the contemporary crisis, its genesis and its consequences. He is a militant Catholic of profound conviction whose tongue and pen have always been at the service of causes where the interests of the Church and of Christian Civilization have been at stake. On leaving the university he began his professional and public career, at the same time becoming prominent as the most outstanding leader of the Catholic youth movement of Sao Paulo, which he entered in 1928.
Shortly thereafter, he accepted the chair of the History of Civilization in the University of Sao Paulo, and later also accepted the chair of Modern and Contemporary History in the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo.
In 1951, the then Bishop of Campos, Dom Antonio de Castro Mayer, founded the cultural monthly Catolicismo, Brazil's principal anti-progressivist and anti-leftist publication, on whose editorial staff Plinio Correa de Oliveira held an outstanding place from the beginning.
He also writes for the Folha de S. Paulo, one of the great Brazilian newspapers. There he takes up political, sociological and religious issues that have notable repercussion all over the country. These articles are also published in various other organs of the Brazilian press and of other countries in the Americas.
In Defense of Catholic Action (1943) - This work, with a preface by Cardinal Massella, then Apostolic Nuncio in Brazil, is an acute analysis of the first beginnings of progressivist and leftist infiltration in Catholic Action. The book received a warm letter of praise, written in the name of Pius XII, by the then Substitute of the Secretariat of the Holy See, Msgr. Montini, the future Paul VI.
Agrarian Reform: A Question of Conscience (1960) - Written in collaboration with Dom Geraldo de Proenca Sigaud, Archbishop of Diamaritina, Dom Antonio de Castro Mayer, Bishop of Campos, and the economist Luis Mendonca de Freitas, this book criticized socialist and confiscatory agrarian reform and affirmed that it violated the Commandments "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods." This study provoked debates in Brazil, and became a best seller going through four printings in twenty months. Political commentators affirmed that the book was responsible for the failure of the agroreformist aims of the Joao Goulart government. Translations were published in Argentina, Spain and Colombia.
The Declaration of Morro Alto (1964) - Written in collaboration with the same authors mentioned above, and following the principles laid out in Agrarian Reform: A Question of Conscience, this study presents a program of affirmative agrarian policy aiming to stimulate rural production, thus benefiting rural proprietors, laborers, and the nation in general.
The Church and the Communist State: the Impossible Coexistence (1963) - This work defends the thesis that it is impossible for the Church to coexist with a government which, while granting Her freedom of worship, prohibits Her from teaching that it is not licit to abolish private property, founded as it is on two precepts of the Decalogue. This work received a letter of praise signed by Cardinals Pizzardo and Staffa, from the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities, in which that high organ of the Holy See declares the doctrine expounded by the author a "most faithful echo" of the Pontifical Magisterium.
This essay has been translated into English, German, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian and Polish. It has gone through 36 editions and was published in its entirety in 38 newspapers or magazines of 13 different countries.
Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue (1965) - This work describes the subtle process whereby many Catholics, through an irenic dialogue, are inadvertently transformed into communists. Five
The Church in the Face of the Rise of the Communist Threat - an Appeal to the Silent Bishops (1976) - A history of the forty years of the progressivist and "Catholic leftist" crisis in Brazil. It cites scandalously pro-communist poetry by Dom Pedro Casaldaliga, Bishop of Sao Felix do Araguaia. The book also contains a resume of the work of the Chilean TFP, The Church of Silence in Chile - The TFP Proclaims the Whole Truth *, which denounces the action of Cardinal Silva Henriquez and many bishops and priests of that country who systematically favored communism. Four editions.
Indian Tribalism, the Communist Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-first Century (1977)* - Denounces a new facet of the progressivist onslaught in Brazil: Communist-Structuralist neomissiology. Seven editions besides its publication in Catolicismo.
I am Catholic - Can I Oppose Land Reform? (1981) - Analyzes the document The Church and Problems of the Land approved by the 18th General Assembly of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), showing how that organ of the bishops is fighting for a land reform that favors the implantation of communism in Brazil. The book also contains a critique of the bishops' document from the economic standpoint by the economist Carlos Patricio del Campo. Three editions.
As an intellectual, Plinio Correa de Oliveira holds an undeniably outstanding place on the Brazilian scene. As a man of action, he is the most dynamic anticommunist leader in the country. His personality now projects all over Brazil and abroad as that of one of the most notable men of thought and action in our epoch of achievements and crises, of apprehensions, of catastrophes, but also of splendid affirmations of the Christian conscience.
* Available in English. Request from Foundation for a Christian Civilization, P.O. Box 1868, York, PA 17405.
* Available in English. Request from Foundation for a Christian Civilization, P.O. Box 1868, York, PA 17405.
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