The 2005 TFP National Conference was more than just a simple gathering. The Columbus Day weekend event doubled as an occasion to launch the American TFP’s new book, Rejecting The Da Vinci Code: How a Blasphemous Novel Brutally Attacks Our Lord and the Catholic Church. In addition, participants were invited to pay a special tribute to Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira on the tenth anniversary of his death.
With these goals in mind, nearly 280 supporters, members and friends filled to capacity the facilities at the TFP’s national headquarters in Spring Grove, Penn. This year’s theme was “When Our Catholic Faith Clashes with Our Secular Culture: The Counter-Revolutionary Response.” The conference speakers focused on the multiple attacks on the Catholic faith in a hostile cultural climate.
Torrential rain could not dampen the enthusiasm of those that filled the tent-auditorium to listen to TFP speakers. The atmosphere was not only that of an annual counter-revolutionary event but a convocation to a great moral crusade. With the book launching, Catholics from across the nation were invited to participate legally and peacefully in this important battle in the ongoing Cultural War.
Facing the Cultural War
Indeed, facing America’s Culture War was the main focus of the conference talks and workshops. As in past conferences, TFP members and directors based their speeches on the principles of the book, Revolution and Counter-Revolution by TFP founder, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.
TFP Vice President John Horvat spoke on “The Coming Great Clash.” He contrasted the modern pursuit of happiness with a contrary Catholic viewpoint. He then showed how modern society lives in denial of the Catholic view and how to prepare for what he termed “a coming great clash” between the two positions.
As a follow-up, American TFP member Michael Whitcraft delivered a masterful presentation on “The Suffering of Life, True Joy and Convivium.” Mr. Whitcraft explored the common understanding of what he called the “Hollywood myth of perfect happiness,” showing how it shallowly promises only material happiness. In the end, this secular vision of life really only delivers lies, frustration and tears as opposed to the Catholic concept of happiness in giving, sacrificing and overcoming challenges.
Speaking about how to deal with a culture that once supported but now suppresses morality was the topic presented by American TFP member Michael Drake. His talk, “Why Some Issues and Not Others: Hitting Them Where it Hurts,” developed the point of choosing battles in the Cultural War. He specifically mentioned moral issues that touch sensitive chords in the American soul.
Other talks included Mr. Joao Carlos Leal da Costa who offered considerations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina where tragedy took New Orleans by surprise. Mr. Norman Fulkerson presented “The Papacy of Pius IX: A Model for Dealing with Secular Pressure.” His account of the political and cultural conditions during the reign of Pius IX showed helpful parallels to the present day. Blessed Pius IX’s tactics and strong response to the liberals of the time showed how Catholics today must act.
Talks and Action
It is not enough to simply talk about the Cultural War. One must also face it. Thus, the 2005 National Conference served as a platform for the official launching of the TFP’s latest book, Rejecting The Da Vinci Code: How a Blasphemous Novel Brutally Attacks Our Lord and the Catholic Church. Written by the TFP Committee on American Issues, the book is a broadside on Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code which is soon to become a movie. TFP Speaker José A. Schelini presented “The Da Vinci Code and Cultural Terrorism,” a succinct summary of the TFP book and unmasking of its Gnostic message.
EWTN host Fr. John Trigilio warmly recommended the book at his luncheon address where he decried the use of fiction to spread error. He has called the TFP book “a solid refutation of the ludicrous claims, preposterous theories and historical inaccuracies” contained in the popular novel.
America Needs Fatima director Robert E. Ritchie outlined the campaign plans in response the May 19 release of the film. The TFP has already initiated several successful protests to SONY Corporation, parent company of Columbia Pictures which is filming the movie version. Mr. Ritchie summarized a long list of action items which will include protests outside hundreds of theaters nationwide. He invited all participants to become actively involved in their areas.
A Special Tribute
Remembered throughout the whole National Conference was the inspiration of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of the first TFP in Brazil. Lamenting his death in 1995, the American TFP joined the other TFPs around the world in honoring and paying tribute to this outstanding Catholic leader, so fittingly called the twentieth century crusader.
Mr. Marcos Garcia of the Association of the Founders of the TFP – Tradition, Family and Property presented a moving tribute to Prof. Corrêa de Oliveira during the conference. As someone who knew him over a long period of time, Mr. Garcia told stories illustrating his special affection for those involved in the Counter-revolutionary struggle, his love for Holy Mother Church and his certainty of victory.
Dr. Plinio’s memory, insight and influence were never far from the minds of those present.
An Unforgettable Experience
For some events in life, there is no substitution for actually being there.
For some, the joy of being together with others of like mind was the greatest joy. Others savored the chance to converse and renew old friendships and forge new ones.
Young people gave life and enthusiasm to the gathering. Students from the TFP-run St. Louis de Montfort Academy and members of TFP Student Action were everywhere helping to make things run smoothly.
Even the suffering due to weather had its unforgettable aspects. Rain cancelled the rosary procession around the TFP property but all prayed a memorable rosary in the tent while sheltered from the tempest. The TFP’s Holy Choirs of Angels Band likewise defied the rain and performed a selection of pieces for drums, fifes, brass and bagpipes inside the tent much to the delight of those present.
The weekend’s activities came to close with a High Mass celebrated Sunday afternoon with permission from Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, Bishop of Harrisburg, at St. Patrick’s Church in York, Penn. The Latin Mass was sung by the TFP Choir and attended by well over 300 people. The church was a perfect setting for the splendorous ceremony which ended with the Papal Hymn with organ, trumpet and choir.
After Mass, the closing dinner was held at the grand ballroom of the nearby historic Yorktowne Hotel. The gathering-launching-tribute conference officially ended with closing remarks by Louisiana TFP representative Thomas Drake. However, the farewells lingered far into the night. All were better prepared to face the Culture War and return home to engage in the local battles that lay ahead.