A Filial Supplication to the Unknown Pope
As the funeral of His Holiness John Paul II comes to a close, the Catholic world, after manifestations of mourning and sorrow, now enters a period of reflection, prayer and hope, looking forward to the conclave.
The large crowds that spontaneously flocked to the Eternal City to show the Chair of Peter their veneration and filial trust have made the divine immortality of the Holy Catholic Church shine once again in the eyes of the world. The presence of these millions of faithful, who recognize the Popes as key figures in defining the destiny of the world, constitutes a triumph of the Papacy.
These and many other millions of faithful around the world now find themselves in the legitimate expectation of wondering who will occupy the papal throne. Naturally, people make conjectures and express hopes, wishes, and – in our days of confusion – also disquiet and apprehension.
Even before the name of the new Pope is known, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and the undersigned sister organizations wish hereby to address him in supplication.
The scope of what we request goes beyond the personal circumstances of whoever is elected, his nationality and present ecclesiastical position. Our supplication is of a nature that, to be attended, all that it needs is simply for him to be Pope; and so we confidently address it to the unknown Pope.
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Most Holy Father,
Your name is still unknown, but we render to You in advance our homage of fidelity to the Chair of Peter and offer to You our prayers that Divine Providence assist You in the august task of leading the Barque of Peter to safe port.
Inspired by the life and thought of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira – an ardent and indefatigable Catholic fighter and an unfailing defender of the rights of the Papacy and of Holy Church – we lay Catholics who have dedicated most of our lives (some for more than five decades) to the restoration of Christian civilization and particularly to the defense of its basic values – Tradition, Family and Property – present to You some reflections that seem to us of a pressing nature, certain that Your Holiness will benevolently receive this modest expression of the sensus fidelium.
1. A Worldwide Psychological Transformation
Almost twenty-seven years have elapsed since the conclave that elected His Holiness John Paul II. Historic developments have occurred in this quarter century, including a worldwide psychological transformation.
a. Unworried Optimism and the Communist Danger
In the bygone days of 1978, the optimistic euphoria of endless progress that characterized the post-World War II period still hung in the air.
In Catholic circles, there were still vestiges of the joyful and somewhat carefree fascination with which some Council Fathers had viewed the Church’s opening to the modern world.
Yet, along with the prevailing insouciance, there was the infernal farandole of the Communist threat that presented the following alternative to world opinion: Accept or reject communism.
Some – and we were among them – confronted the climate of festive unconcern. They criticized a doctrinally unacceptable and politically suicidal policy of Ostpolitik toward Communism, and advocated an elevated militancy, based on the Faith, against the greatest enemy the Church and Christian civilization had ever known. Events proved this position right.
History will one day reveal the profound factors that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire. As the latter crumbled, the immediate danger of an atomic hecatomb seemed to ebb. The incurable optimists hastened to announce a new and unending era of prosperity and unconcern.
b. Chaos in Human Events
Nevertheless, other equally grave problems arose. Public opinion entered a scenario of incongruous and wild political, social and economic realities that resembled a vortex of disasters and catastrophes. Human events were engulfed by chaos (individual, social and political), of which suicidal terrorism is only one extreme manifestation.
Public contentment with modernity decreased in an ever-greater number of souls. Inevitable disappointment with a Godless world devoid of transcendentals and immersed in material pleasure became the bitter fruit of the “silent apostasy” referred to by the lamented Pope John Paul II.
c. Crisis in the Church
Throughout that period, the Catholic world was suffering the effects of an immense internal crisis. A crisis that Paul VI called a process of “self-destruction” of the Church and the penetration of the “smoke of Satan into the Temple of God,” and that John Paul II continued to recognize with words such as these:
One must be realistic and acknowledge with a deep and pained sentiment that a great part of today’s Christians feel lost, confused, perplexed, and even disillusioned: ideas contradicting the revealed and unchanging Truth have been spread far and wide; outright heresies in the dogmatic and moral fields have been disseminated, creating doubt, confusion, and rebellion; even the liturgy has been altered. Immersed in intellectual and moral “relativism” and therefore in permissiveness, Christians are tempted by atheism, agnosticism, a vaguely moralistic illuminism, a sociological Christianity, without defined dogmas and without objective morality (Allocution of Feb. 6, 1981, to religious and priests participating in the First Italian National Congress on Missions to the People for the 80s, L’Osservatore Romano, Feb. 7, 1981).
d.”Mugged” by Reality
At the same time, sectors of the public, shaken by the deterioration in all fields, including the rampant moral permissiveness, saw the rebirth of aspirations, longings and convictions that so-called modernity had smothered in their souls. Tradition, family, and religion attracted a growing number of people, particularly the young.
Is this not the most profound meaning of the immense multitude of faithful who recently flocked to Rome, many of them searching for eternal and unshakable values? Countless among them had rosaries in their hands, showing that the Blessed Mother plays a central role in this spiritual renaissance.
Is there not in this phenomenon a sign that the moment has come to do away with accommodating speeches by churchmen who advocate dialogue with modernity, a fiction that few fully believe, many accept with growing reservations, and still many others reject?
e. The Desire for a Coherent and Invigorating Message
What the exhausted victims of the utopias of the last two centuries expect from the Church is a coherent and invigorating message, a wise, fearless and perennial affirmation of the Faith, a maternal and enthusiastic invitation to follow absolute truths.
Holy Father, confidently we implore You to receive from the flock that Divine Mercy has entrusted to You these legitimate yearnings of the soul.
2. New Threats on the Horizon
While Your pontificate begins with radiant hopes, problems and threats that are hard to ignore also arise for the Church.
This letter is not meant to deal with specifically theological and disciplinary matters aired in some circles, such as the weakening of papal power, the ending of priestly celibacy, the acceptance of a female priesthood, and the relativizing of dogmas and morals in view of scientific “advances.”
We do see the action of forces that spread confusion in the sacred fold by unfurling the flag of radical change in order to undermine perennial teaching and tradition.
Although such problems and threats cause grave concern among the faithful, our filial reflections focus on temporal matters, a sphere in which we are called to act as Catholic laymen.
Thus, we would like to bring to Your high consideration some matters that seem to be of primordial interest to Holy Church at this historic juncture: the escalation of militant secularism, the threat of Islamic expansion, and the revolutionary agitation of the “Catholic left” in Latin America.
3. The Rise of Secularist Atheism
Even before the totalitarian Commumist bloc collapsed, European socialist parties had initiated a change later to be followed by the most varied leftist groups around the world.
Given the failed revolutionary attempts to transform socioeconomic structures, neo-socialists embarked on a Cultural Revolution to transform the human mentality and psychology. For that end, they set out to create a social environment where philosophical certainties would be overthrown, the principle of contradiction extinguished, and moral principles relativized.
a. Cultural Revolution
In the name of tolerance, non-discrimination and civil rights, society was to welcome all “marginalized” minorities (homosexuals, prostitutes, drug addicts) and respect their “alternative” behaviors. Accordingly, any moral stand was viewed with scorn and hostility. Other groups such as ecologists, feminists, and ethnic and racial minorities, suitably indoctrinated, were to join in to form a new proletariat.
This neo-socialist project would eventually harmonize with centrist currents and parties of a liberal orientation, which advocated that legislation reflect the induced loosening of customs.
First in Europe, then in the United States and Canada, and finally in Latin America, a whole series of legislative and judicial initiatives was unleashed to legalize behavior previously censured by morality: concubinage and divorce, abortion, euthanasia, manipulation and destruction of human embryos, drug abuse, homosexual unions and “marriages,” liberalization of pornography, and the diminishing of patria potestas.
b. Public Religious Expression Labeled “Dangerous”
This Cultural Revolution caused reactions in wholesome segments of public opinion with a religious inspiration, which perceived how the very foundations of the social order were being undermined.
However, the promoters of the Cultural Revolution were quick to respond. On the pretext that the State must be neutral in religious affairs, they moved to exclude the Catholic Church and other Christian faiths from the public arena. Public education was “liberated” from religious beliefs; public displays of religion were deemed dangerous to social harmony; the invoking of a higher law – divine or moral – became “fundamentalism”; the legitimate exercise of conscientious objection began to be legally curtailed.
Today, in some so-called democratic societies, the law restricts clergy and faithful from proclaiming the centuries-old teachings of the Church on the unnatural and sinful character of homosexual relations, under pain of punishment for the broadly defined crime of “homophobia.”
The anti-clericalism of old, heir to the secular ideals of the French Revolution, is using State power to threaten new persecutions and is offering Catholics and Christians in general a status of second-class citizenship in exchange for dwindling freedoms.
In its rapid rise, secularism has gone so far as to deny the Christian roots of the old continent in the new European Constitution, thus preventing those roots from being cited in the interpretation of new European positive law.
c. Which Will It Be: Omission or Witness?
Every day the choice for Catholics becomes ever clearer: Either avoid proclaiming the complete truth of the Gospel thus limiting Catholic action to pastoral work inside churches, or fearlessly witness to the teachings of the Divine Savior, Who said: “Fear not. I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).
Your glorious Predecessor Saint Pius X faced a similar choice as he was elevated to the Papal Throne.
Leo XIII had adopted a policy of ralliement toward the French Republic, which entailed Catholics resignedly accepting the secular nature of the modern State.
Contrary to the hopes of the learned Pontiff, not only did that policy fail to obtain the sympathy of agnostics but it resulted in an open persecution of the Church.
Saint Pius X did not hesitate to react: he summoned Catholics to combat under the motto Omnia instaurare in Christo and condemned the Le Sillon movement, an advocate of accommodating Catholicism to the principles of the French Revolution.
The result was a great victory for Saint Pius X that continued until his sudden death and the havoc of World War I.
Though powerless, the turbulent waves of secularism then crashed against the Rock of Peter. Today, Holy Father, the Catholic world hopes that You will have the glorious stature of a Saint Pius X.
4. The Islamic Threat
The times in which we live are unspeakably difficult and troubling. The path of the Church has also become difficult and tense, a characteristic trial of these times – both for the Faithful and the shepherds. In some countries… the Church is undergoing a period of persecution that is not inferior to that of the first centuries, rather it exceeds them in its cruelty and hatred.
What words could describe today’s reality with greater precision than these written by Your Predecessor, the unforgettable John Paul II, in his last will and testament?
As the dark cloud of atheist secularism gradually covers the West, open persecution is taking place in areas dominated by Islam. This hostility against Western Christian civilization by various social and religious sectors of the Moslem world – who have created a synthesis of the Koran with socialist and anarchic doctrines – was indisputably confirmed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and the March 11, 2004 bombings in Madrid.
At the same time, thanks to lax immigration policies, Moslem populations continue to grow in the West. Many of their customs are of religious inspiration, and therefore clash with national laws and cultures, creating unease in the public and favoring revolutionary agitation by radical Islamist currents.
The planned entry of Turkey into the European Union, besides being an historic aberration, will worsen the cultural clash in the West and give the Moslem world a sense of growing might.
a. Islam’s Program of Expansion and Conquest
To the vacillating minds of many of our contemporaries it is shameful to admit that clashes rooted in religion are still occurring in the twenty-first century.
However, our duty as true Catholics is to see this reality, analyze it without subterfuge and take a position. Reality shows us that radical Islam, because of its philosophical and religious convictions, is eager to dominate and determined to destroy the Christian world. And while Westerners welcome the influx of Moslems, grant them mosques, and respect their customs, the opposite increasingly takes place in the Moslem world.
An expert familiar with this ominous reality, presented a scenario entirely different from the rosy picture dreamt up by the adepts of “peaceful coexistence.” At the Second European Synod, Bishop Giuseppe Germano Bernardini, O.F.M. Cap., of Izmir, Turkey, warned:
During an official meeting on Christian-Islamic dialogue, an important Moslem personage, turning to the Christian participants, said with calm and self-assurance: “Thanks to your democratic laws we will invade you; thanks to our religious law, we will dominate you.” This “domination” has already begun, since the petrodollars have been used not to create jobs in poor countries of North Africa or the Middle East, but to build mosques and cultural centers in Christian countries with Moslem immigration, including Rome, the center of Christendom. How can one not see in all this a clear program of expansion and conquest?… I close with an exhortation based on experience: let us no longer allow Moslems the use of Catholic churches for their worship, because in their eyes this is the most certain proof of our apostasy.
b. “Go, Therefore, and Make Disciples of all Nations”
Countless Catholics are wondering what is to be done in face of Islam’s program of expansion and conquest. Should they adopt an open-ended policy of concessions based on the illusory hope of mollifying Moslem prejudice against Christianity and the West? Or, on the contrary, should the Church reinvigorate in souls the absolute certainties of the Faith, arm herself once again with the apostolic spirit and take up with enthusiasm the mandate of Our Lord Jesus Christ: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28, 19:20)?
Your Holiness, the blood of today’s Christian martyrs sacrificed on the altar of Islamic expansionism clamors for a firm and clear attitude on the part of the Church, and awaits the providential hour of this vast evangelization.
5. The “Catholic Left” and its New Socialist Experiment in Latin America
Latin America is the largest Catholic bastion in the world. Because of their cultural homogeneity and, above all, their deep religiousness, Latin Americans are resisting the atheist secularism sweeping Europe.
On the other hand, their peaceful nature and attachment to legitimate social inequalities have made the populations of Latin America obstinately resistant to left-wing agitation.
Only the “Catholic left,” made up of myriad groups with international ties, could possibly impel these conservative populations toward socialism, in the name of Catholic doctrine.
Unfortunately, decades of a pastoral approach founded on a distorted and exclusive interpretation of the “preferential option for the poor” have driven millions of faithful from the Church in an unprecedented apostasy. “The irony is,” James Brooke aptly commented in The New York Times, “that the Catholics opted for the poor and the poor opted for the evangelicals.”
a. The “Catholic Left” and the New Rebels International
Disoriented and disheartened after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Latin American left, including the “Catholic left,” underwent a metamorphosis.
In view of the fiasco of “State socialism,” these currents organized themselves into a new Rebels International, which gathers in World Social Forums.
Taking advantage of an understandable discontent with the process of “globalization,” they proceeded to attack capitalism and particularly its legitimate foundations: private property and free enterprise. They also fomented a worldwide “class-struggle” of “poor” (developing) countries against rich (industrialized) ones.
With the denunciation of neo-liberalism as their motto, they now call for abolishing large economic, political and social structures; advocate an egalitarian, pseudo-evangelical and miserabilist society where people live in self-managing communities with a primitive economy; and attack technological advances in the name of a “return to nature.”
This neo-Communist experiment would not have the slightest chance of success with the public if it lacked religious backing. This is why the “Catholic left,” influenced by Liberation Theology, has become one of the main organizers and instigators of the so-called social movements, and now has a strong presence in Latin American governments; and in Brazil’s case, a very noticeable one.
b. Social Destabilization Heading to Violence
The “Catholic left,” which distorts the data and analyses on the Latin American socioeconomic situation, is thus trying to force structural reforms that will undermine the present social order.
In Brazil’s huge territory, millions of landowners and employees work the land together in perfect Christian harmony, making the country one of the world’s leading agricultural producers. However, the “Catholic left” insists that there be a socialist and confiscatory land reform, and promotes it by encouraging disrespect for the law, invasions of private farms, and even violence.
In their pseudo-Christian deliriums, these progressivist currents do not hesitate to support guerrilla movements like the FARC, which wreaks terror and death upon Colombia’s innocent, and now threatens to spread to other regions of the continent.
c. Holy Father, Save Latin America from the “Catholic Left”
Holy Father, the obstinate preaching by the “Catholic left” of an unnatural and violent “solution” for social problems and a breakup of institutions violates the sentiment of most Latin American Catholics. They are perplexed on seeing the Gospel used to justify the aggressive expropriation of goods and the destruction of social order.
The vast majority of Latin Americans are peaceful and hardworking and will be forever grateful if, from the Chair of Peter, You shed light on the workings of the “Catholic left” and denounce its doctrinal errors in the name of the traditional Church teaching on private property, free enterprise and social harmony in a society with legitimate and proportional inequalities.
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Holy Father, seldom in the history of Christendom has the world turned to Rome with so much expectation as a Pope dies and another is elected.
Likewise, only rarely in the history of the Church have there been prospects with the magnitude of those now opening before us. These prospects are darkened by the threatening clouds of an era reaching its tragic twilight, but they are also illuminated by the first rays of a dawn as splendid as the one Our Lady announced at Fatima.
At Your feet we place this filial supplication, moved only by love for the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, Mother and Mistress of Truth. And we beseech for Your Holiness, through the powerful intercession of Mary Most Holy, a glorious pontificate strengthened by graces from Him Who proclaimed: “I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her” (Mt. 16:18).
Rendering Your Holiness the filial homage of our profound respect, we request the Apostolic Blessing and the precious prayers of Your Holiness.
Rome, April 13, 2005
St. Martin I, Pope and martyr
American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property – TFP
Associação dos Fundadores da TFP – Tradição Familia Propriedade (Brazil)
Société française pour la défense de la Tradition Famille Proprieté – TFP
Associazione Tradizione Famiglia Proprietà (Italy)
Stowarzyszenie Kultury Chrzescijanskiej im. Ksiedza Piotra Skargi (Poland)
Deutsche Vereinigung für eine Christliche Kultur e.V.
Fundación Argentina del Mañana
Sociedad Civil Fátima la Gran Esperanza (Argentina)
Tradition Family Property – Bureau for the United Kingdom
Australian Tradition Family Property Centre
Österreichische Gesellschaft zum Schutz von Tradition, Familie und Privateigentum
Acción Familia (Chile)
Sociedad Colombiana Tradición y Acción
Irish Society for Christian Civilisation
Krikšcioniškosios Kulturos Gynimo Asociacija (Lithuania)
Sociedad Paraguaya de Defensa de la Tradición, Familia y Propiedad – TFP
Tradición y Acción por un Perú Mayor
Asia Needs Fatima (Philippines)
Acção Família (Portugal)
Young South Africans for a Christian Civilization – TFP
Tradición y Acción por un Uruguay Auténtico, Cristiano y Fuerte
Tradición y Acción (Spain)
Cubanos Desterrados (Miami)