“I’ve been looking forward to this conference,” said Jesse, a student who joined young men for the annual TFP Student Action Conference in Spring Grove, Penn.
The conference was a packed three-day event held by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) over the New Year break, from December 29 to January 2.
Enthusiasm for Noble Ideals
The young men attending this year’s conference were eager to learn how to combat the leftist ideas on their campuses and communities.
Several attendees were converts to Catholicism. Others had returned to the full practice of the Faith. They all wanted to know more about Christian civilization and oppose the Revolutionary models and trends of the times.
The Story of the Revolution
The conference’s theme was the work Revolution and Counterrevolution by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. The Catholic thinker demonstrates how the West is being destroyed by a Revolution that started in the 14th century. This Revolution manifested itself at five critical points in the history of the West, changing society radically.
The conference’s first talk covered the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolution. The speaker, Byron Whitcraft, explained how Catholic civilization reached an apex in the Middle Ages when the philosophy of the Gospel governed the nations.
However, decadence set in during the Renaissance with the rebirth of paganism in the form of Greek and Roman art and culture. Society became man-centered rather than God-centered. This attitude, in turn, brought about the First Revolution, the Protestant revolt with the idea of free interpretation and breaking away from the Catholic Church.
Other talks covered the process of the Revolution as it advanced in history. The next episode was the French Revolution, which overthrew the monarchy and the social order. These idea of complete equality eventually led to the Communist Revolution in Russia, which later spread worldwide.
The most intriguing talk was delivered by TFP member Michael Chad Shibler, who spoke about the unfolding Fourth and Fifth Revolutions. He explained how the Sexual Revolution of the sixties can be summarized by the 1968 slogan: “It is forbidden to forbid.”
The Fifth Revolution introduces public Satanism in society with the goal of eventual acceptance and worship of the devil. As an antidote, the speaker recommended greater devotion and confidence in Our Lady to defeat the devil. These timely topics awakened keen interest and prompted many discussions and questions.
Putting Principles in Action
A big attraction of the conference was the TFP Student Action street campaign on Sunday outside Harrisburg, Penn. The young men held signs and banners denouncing the evils of abortion and socialism. The signs encouraging passing cars to support the campaign resulted in a barrage of honks from enthusiastic locals.
During the campaign, participants prayed a Rosary and the TFP band played Christmas hymns on the bagpipes and drums.
One man was so happy to see youth standing up for the unborn that he got out of his car and took pictures. “This is amazing!” he said. “I can’t believe there are so many of you out here. I’m going to take pictures and spread this around to all my friends.”
Bringing in the New Year
Just before midnight, everyone gathered for prayer and song to bring in the New Year. Attendees sang the Confiteor, a traditional prayer of repentance, begging God for forgiveness for faults committed over the last year. This was followed by the Magnificat, a festive hymn of joy to usher in the Year of Our Lord 2024.
The conference concluded with a wonderful feast of roast venison that was followed by Christmas carols and conviviality that lasted late into the night. The young men attending the program left better equipped to defend Holy Mother Church and Christian civilization.
As a memento, each conference participant received a parchment beautifully inscribed with a quote by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira:
“If the Counter-Revolution is the struggle to extinguish the Revolution and to build the new Christendom, resplendent with faith, humble with hierarchical spirit, and spotless in purity, clearly this will be achieved, above all, by a profound action in the hearts of men. This action is proper to the Church, which teaches Catholic doctrine and leads men to love and practice it. Therefore, the Church is the very soul of the Counter-Revolution.”