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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why I Despise "America Needs Fatima" and "Tradition Family Property"

Hello again, dear readers.

Some months back, my husband, daughter, and I attended a Rosary Rally held at our Latin Mass church. The rally was sponsored by a group called "America Needs Fatima". As I alluded in that post, I am not very fond of America Needs Fatima (or ANF, as it will be abbreviated). Today, I will explain why.

My first encounter with ANF and its parent organization, Tradition Family Property (abbreviated as TFP), came during my senior year of college. I was quite involved with the University of Arizona Students for Life chapter, and my friend (who I shall refer to as Altar Boy for reasons of anonymity) received a mailer from ANF. While I had been going to the Latin Mass church for a few months at this point (and it was there that I met Altar Boy) and while I had some familiarity with the different Marian apparitions, the various apostolates that claim Her as their patroness were totally new to me. Altar Boy encouraged me to sign up, since they sent out free publications (prayer books, political books, etc) from time to time and were politically conservative. It appealed to me instantly, since at the time I was still a Tea Party conservative. I filled out the subscription card and mailed it in the next day, though I should have known something was up when I began receiving materials from them with my name misspelled on the label, even though it had been clearly written out on the card. Not all their materials were worthless, though. In their welcome packet, I received a picture of St. Michael the Archangel, which I pinned to the wall in my bedroom where my "shrine" was. I still have that picture somewhere.

My bedroom Shrine, April 2012. That picture of Our Lady of Fatima by the top-right corner of the TV screen was also from ANF

Some more additions to my shrine. Unfortunately, these two images are the only pictures I have of my shrine.

As my conversion to the Catholic faith grew, I learned more about Our Lady of Fatima and the predictions She made during Her appearances to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco. I found the prophecies interesting, but did not pay them much attention. My knowledge of history told me that communism as a political force was dead. But even more so, I was turned off by the blatant Russophobia associated with many Fatimaistas (devotees of Our Lady of Fatima). I am of Russian heritage and carry some natural pride in that.

During that fateful year of 2012, I stopped focusing on religion and politics and focused instead on my survival. I stopped reading the articles ANF would post on their website, as well as the calls to action from TFP in my email. This break was crucial to my subsequent disillusionment with ANF. What really soured me on ANF and TFP was when Altar Boy sent me a link to a website he came across detailing how TFP was essentially a fascist Brazilian cult. They may have started out with good intentions as an apostolate dedicated to preserving traditional Catholic values in the face of the Vatican II conclave which instituted many changes in the Church, but they devolved into a cult of personality surrounding their Brazilian founder, the late Dr. Plineo Correira de Oliveria, and his mother. In their anti-communist zeal, TFP and their affiliates, by proxy, militantly allied themselves with the bourgeois values of private property and capitalism. Such a move might have been politically expedient, but it automatically put them at odds with people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder like myself, who see the dark side of capitalism daily and face limited opportunities to ascend.

Ultimately, the fact that they are bourgeois is why I resent them. Jesus had many a thing to say about wealth and the corrupting influence money has on individuals, none of it good. And the sad thing is, while ANF and TFP may promote issues that have an authentically Catholic ring (sanctity of life, etc), the fact remains that they throw their money and weight around at right-wing causes that in the long run actually hurt the Church (see: Kim Davis debacle). Starting with Pope Leo XIII, numerous popes have condemned Americanism with its ruthless individualism, capitalism, and protestant work ethic as being incompatible with Catholicism. Organizations like TFP and ANF fly in the face of those condemnations by cloaking these causes in the veil of the Church, as if to imply that the Church approves of income inequality and fascism! One might easily think that TFP is a front for infiltrating the Church so as to turn it into something unrecognizable.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I despise America Needs Fatima and it's parent affiliate, Tradition Family Property.

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