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Wu Wey vs. Active Participation;
Bishop Mayer vs. Prof. Plinio

Condolences for Richard Sipe


Randall Terry here.

I am sorry to learn about Mr. Sipe's passing. May God grant him great joy in heaven...after wiping away his tears.

To any family and staff who read this, I offer my condolences at Mr. Sipe’s passing from this life.

And I honor him for his letter to Pope Benedict regarding McCarrick.

     Sincerely in Christ,


     Randall Terry
     Founder, Operation Rescue


Wu Wey vs. Active Participation

Dear TIA,

Thank you for publishing Dr. Carol Byrne's articles contra "active participation".

The ancient Chinese philosophers have a concept called wu wei, which translates roughly as "non-doing" or "inaction." The distinguished Chinese convert to Catholicism John C. H. Wu translates it as "non-ado." It's a subtle concept which is difficult to grasp, but (as opposed to merely doing nothing) it means acting without any fuss or precipitation, in accordance with nature.

I mention it because I think it very well explains the error of those who imagine the true nature of the liturgy lies in "active participation." The Chinese are very ritualistic as a people, so they certainly have some grasp of ritual principle; but the greatest Chinese thinkers did not speak of "active participation," but rather of "inaction".

This is how I feel as an altar server: though technically I am "acting," it is a sort of inaction, because it is not really me acting but the liturgy which is acting through me. This gives me an extraordinary sense of freedom, even though technically I am bound by the rubrics. It's like the mystery of predestination and free will: it is certain that I shall do this, yet somehow I do it freely; similarly, it is certain that I will perform this liturgical action, but somehow it still feels natural, free, and spontaneous. That is in the old rite.

In the new rite, however, this mysterious grace of ritual is almost totally lost. It is ironic, but in attempting to abolish "rigidity" and "rubricism" and to install freedom and so-called active participation, the new rite feels far more constraining and claustrophobic, spiritually, because it requires more improvised movements (the rubrics are too loose). It destroys wu wei. In the name of "active participation," it creates fuss and wasted, artificial movements.

The reformers tended to think that the rubrics create artificial movement; but there is nothing more artificial than when, in the new rite, the celebrant improvises his own words or actions in order to stamp his own personality and intelligence onto the rite. The well-shaped ritual of the old rite, on the other hand, feels truly organic, and it is far less stressful: I can always relax my spirit in the old rite (even while altar serving), but in the new I am anxious and constrained.

Not only is "active participation" a false principle for the people, but it doesn't even apply to the priest or servers; the only thing that should be "active" is the liturgical ritual itself, and we are only its "inactive" instruments (in the sense that we go where it tells us and contribute nothing of our own). This is the whole point of ritual: not to cause us to act in an artificial way, but to help us to return to our true nature and act according to it, such that without thinking about it we do what is proper. So those who introduced "active participation" have shown themselves ignorant of the most basic principles of ritual in general, not only of Catholic ritual and piety.

     In Christ,



Bishop Mayer vs. Prof. Plinio


I learned recently of a rupture between Tradition, Family and Property and Bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer. This occurred during the early 1990s while Prof. Plinio was still alive and, presumably, still presiding over the TFP. According to my information, Bishop Mayer called the TFP a "heretical sect" and a "cult of personality" of Prof. Plinio.

Since, if I am correct, TIA has no issue with the TFP and how it operated prior to Prof. Plinio's death, can you comment on why Bishop Mayer took this position, and whether you agree or disagree. I believe you will have more information on this matter than I do.

Also, can you comment on the allegation that the TFP members do not attend Mass regularly? As this Web site states:

The "spiritual formation" that TFP gives to children unwittingly placed in its care fosters anti-clericalism and contempt for their fellow Catholics. They are urged to receive daily communion, but have scant regard for the Mass. TFP families and militants frequently wait outside reciting their trademark, rapid-fire Rosaries and come into Mass just in time to receive communion. They call Catholics who faithfully assist at Mass "white heretics."

For my part, I believe TFP compromised after the death of Prof. Plinio. However, I find it difficult to believe this compromise includes a disdain for the priesthood and Mass.

It is interesting that the same Web site (clearly quite deranged) writes some astonishing calumny against Dr. Marian Horvat, accusing her then-association with TFP as being cooperation with "vocation killers".

I hope you can offer some clarity on this situation, but be assured my purpose is not ill-will, but only to have a better understanding.



"For the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators but traditionalists." - Pius X


TIA responds:

Thank you for your inquiry.

In summary, you asked the following:
  1. What happened to make Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer break with the TFP and Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira and call them heretics?
  2. Are the accusations of anti-clericalism against TFP previous to Prof. Plinio’s death true?
  3. Is it true that TFP did not attend Mass or disdained the Mass?
We respond:

1. Bishop Mayer had been a close friend of Prof. Plinio's from the time they were young adults in the late 1930s. Fr. Mayer was named assistant of Catholic Action in São Paulo and Prof. Plinio, still very young, was its President; both were collaborators to the weekly Catholic organ O Legionário. They worked together in the fight against Progressivism that had infiltrated the Church to the point that the two took the same symbol – the rampant lion – as the expression of that ideal. This union against the same enemy was proved by decades of public actions and collaborations.

The friendship was so close that Prof. Plinio was the one who penned a pastoral letter for Bishop Mayer. The latter objected that he could not sign a work written by another. So, they agreed that Prof. Plinio would dictate that document to Bishop Mayer in French so that he could say that he wrote it without lying. So it was done. This became Bishop Mayer’s most famous work named Pastoral Letter on Problems of the Modern Apostolate.

The friendship followed this course until the moment that a seminarian called Fernando Rifan insinuated himself to the favor of Bishop Mayer. He later became a priest and Fr. Rifan caught the ear of the Bishop. For some reason, this man hated Prof. Plinio and TFP and did whatever he could to separate Bishop Mayer from Prof. Plinio.

Sometime in the 1980s a disgruntled member of the TFP – Orlando Fedeli – left the organization with a small group of followers. He sought out the newspapers that were the most hostile to the TFP, and sold them a maliciously biased version of what he had seen in the TFP. He called it a “cult to Plinio and his mother.” His clear intention was try to destroy the TFP. One of the “proofs” of this accusation of cult was that Fedeli exposed a litany made to Prof. Plinio’s mother. This litany, in fact, had been composed by two teenagers without the knowledge of Prof. Plinio and, as soon as he knew of its existence, he forbade it to be said or circulated.

Fedeli blatantly lied when he said that it was a prayer circulated throughout the TFP with full approval of Prof. Plinio.

Fr. Rifan was instrumental in helping Fedeli to bring that litany to Bishop Mayer, assuring him it was freely circulating in the TFP, and then asked for his theological opinion. The Bishop issued a document affirming that the litany was blasphemous and contained heresy.

This is the behind-of-the-scenes story of that condemnation.

TFP wrote refutations to both the accusations of Fedeli and the document by Bishop Mayer. These refutations – published in a book at that time – were sent to renowned conservative theologians of the Dominican University of Salamanca, Spain. They approved the refutations, and one of them – Fr. Victorino Rodriguez – wrote a very precise analysis of Bishop Mayer’s document, showing that his condemnation was "exaggerated," "poorly nuanced and badly understood." First, because the litany had been forbidden; second, because there were no heresies or blasphemies in it, but only imprudent statements common to teenagers.

Bishop Mayer was invited to refute the declaration issued by Fr. Victorino Rodriguez, but he considered it more prudent to remain silent. Orlando Fedeli, seeing his lies unveiled in the book TFP published and its theological approval, went to Spain and tried to bribe Fr. Rodriguez to renounce his approval. He was duly shown the door by that illustrious theologian.

Notwithstanding, Fr. Rifan as well as Fedeli continued to spread the same lies. Rifan was instrumental in passing that defamatory material to the SSPX, without telling that the accusations had been duly refuted. The SSPX leaders know they are lies, but continue to this date the same work of defamation. We wonder how these priests can say Mass and receive Communion in this state.

2. Regarding the supposed anti-clericalism of the TFP previous to Prof. Plinio’s death, something similar happened. The background follows.

There are many ecclesiastics, included those of the SSPX and today Bishop Rifan, who imagine that in the Church there are basically only three vocations: marriage, priesthood and religious life. There is no place for laymen or laywoman who are celibate and dedicate themselves to serving the Church.

So, according to this mindset, when an organization – like the TFP – appears on the horizon inviting young men to adopt a celibate life and enter the fight against the Revolution, such an organization is basically stealing vocations from the seminaries and monasteries. The only explanation for persons with this mentality is that Prof. Plinio had to be anti-clerical. Although every proof was given to show that laymen can be celibate and that the TFP and Prof. Plinio were not anti-clerical, these people never stop spreading the same falsehoods.

3. Regarding the accusation that the TFP did not attend Mass and disregarded the Mass, such statements are stupidities.

All the TFP members attended the full Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

During the week, most of the TFP men had hard working days either in their professional jobs or within the TFP. Since many of them did not have the time to attend daily Mass, they at least made an effort to be able to appear for Communion, since they had a great Eucharistic devotion. It so happened that, before Vatican II, in Catholic countries it was common to go to church only to receive Communion, since it was understood that the person did not have the time to attend the full Mass. Many confessors used to advise this practice.

It was only after the progressivist mentality infiltrated the liturgy and the Novus Ordo Mass was in gestation that the word spread that no one could receive Communion unless he were present at the whole Mass. This was a false idea that came from active participation, see the posting above, that had already established itself.

So, the enemies of the Counter-Revolution, who pick up any stone they can find to throw against the good, used this progressivist myth to accuse the TFP of being against the Mass.

Regarding the "rapid-fire-rosaries," it is another malevolent accusation. Many of TFP members, who had the practice of praying a daily 15-decade Rosary, had also the practice of using their Rosaries to say ejaculations – for instance, "Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation." So, if a man had the habit of saying this ejaculation 55 times, he would move his fingers on his Rosary beads to keep count going at a much faster pace than if he were praying the customary Our Fathers and the Holy Marys. This explains why a malicious person could say that they were saying "rapid-fire Rosaries." Another defamation.

We hope these explanations will put your doubts to rest.

If we at TIA had a little more spare time, we would post the book refuting those lies as well as Bishop’s Mayer statement online. It was written in Portuguese, but was translated to English by Dr. Marian Horvat.


     TIA correspondence desk


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted September 4 2018

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