Suspended priest & America Needs Fatima org

Question from Fran on 10/2/2007:

I am curious as to the standing of the organization, "America Needs Fatima". I like what this group represents but a recent question published in the National Catholic Register (NCR) on 9/16/07 asked about whether this group was a cult & about the priest, Fr. Gruner. Although the response clearly answered Fr. Gruner as a suspended priest & that the consecration of Russia did take place correctly, it never addressed the organization, "America Needs Fatima". I then received a mailing from Fr. Trigilio endorsing this group. Can I get EWTN's confirmation re:"America Needs Fatima" & any other pertinent info re:this topic? Thanks & God bless! (I have scanned images of the NCR article & Fr. Trigilio's endorsement, but I didn't see how I could attach these.)

Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 10/2/2007:

Fran, The group, Tradition, Family, and Property, is not specifically under formal Catholic guidance and direction and administration, but is thoroughly Catholic in inspiration and loyalty. It began in Brazil, but its Founder contested some of the Cardinal's position. The group has enemies but, to my knowledge, it is most sound, most Catholic, more loyal to the Vatican. Fr. Gruner has nothing to do with this group, TFP. He is doing his own thing quite independently of the Church. America Needs Famtima was inspired and organized and led by TFP. I thoroughly endorce my dear friend's recommendation of TFP, i.e. Fr. John Trigilio. Fr. Bob Levis


  1. Rose Mary CascioOctober 17, 2007

    I came across an article about America Needs Fatima and TFP and this is a piece out of it. This organization sounds like a cult to me. The following is some of the contents of the article:

    The America Needs Fatima campaign is wholly operated by an organization called The Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), founded in Brazil by Professor Plinio Corrêa De Oliveira in 1960.

    Dr. Plinio claimed to have a "private, prophetic charism" enabling him to look at a young man's face or photo and discern that the young man had "tao" (sometimes "tau"). The "tao" is considered to be a mark on the boy's soul put there by the Virgin Mary to select him as one of her "warrior monks" or "militants." Boys and young men possessing "tao" are told that to refuse this "vocation" is tantamount to condemning their own soul to hell. They are required to make vows of celibacy and obedience to TFP, a "vocation" higher than the vocation to married life or to the priesthood. To make them afraid to leave the group, stories are circulated throughout TFP of the horribly-violent, sudden deaths of ex-TFPers. Those who leave are called "apostates", even if they remain faithful Catholics. This entire recruitment procedure is in violation of Canon Law 219 prohibiting any coercion in choosing or remaining in any state of life.

    Nevertheless, TFP seemed so dedicated to spreading the Catholic faith (in particular devotion to Our Lady of Fatima) and also to fighting communism that many of the finest and most devout Catholic families in Brazil fell for the outward appearance of orthodoxy and enrolled their sons in schools and training centers run by TFP in Brazil. The result was so disastrous that on April,18 1985 the NCBB (National Council of Brazilian Bishops) condemned the group and ordered Catholics to have nothing to do with it. The response of the group has been to claim that its anti-Communist stance prompted the bishops' opposition, and that the condemnation was just an "unsigned note." On the contrary: the condem-nation was written on the letterhead of the NCBB and published in several of Brazil's largest newspapers. It is the mis-leading teachings of the group and the damage it has done to Catholic families that prompted the bishops' warning, which characterized the group as a "cult of personality " (meaning that they are giving excessive or worshipful devotion to their leader) and also accused the group of "abusing the name of Holy Mary." The official nature of the notice was subse-quently confirmed by the Under-Secretary General of the Brazilian Conference, Fr. Valentini Netto on Dec. 8, 1995.

    Meanwhile this group has spread to 25 countries and the same damage to souls and vocations is now becoming apparent in the US. Many good Catholics in this country have been misled into supporting TFP through one of its front campaigns, such as America Needs Fatima, which is currently the chief fund-raiser for the group. All moneys collected from the "free-will" offerings at the "Pilgrim Virgin" meetings go to TFP.

    Please tell me what proof there is that this organization is backed by the Vatican.

    Rose Mary Cascio

  2. As far as Rose Mary Cascio's comment at the end of her post, "Please tell me what proof there is that this organization is backed by the Vatican," she should have perhaps consulted the website of the organization in question. For example:
    "For years I have attentively followed the work of the TFPs and the luminous mark left upon them by their inspirer, Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, whose thought and exemplary life have inspired me."
    Silvio Cardinal Oddi (RIP)
    Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

    Also, did she ask tfp for their response to the article about America Needs Fatima to which she refers. Christian charity demands that both sides be heard.

    Another thing is the fact that each of the tfps is autonomous, so to say that America Needs Fatima is operated by the tfp founded in Brazil is wrong.
    This link states, "The first TFP was founded in Brazil in 1960 by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Later, the American TFP became but one of many autonomous TFPs that now exist around the world dedicated to the same ideals and at the service of Christian Civilization."

  3. These attacks on the America Needs Fatima campaign and the American TFP are unjust. Actually, some are outright lies. Others are half-truths, and some are taken out of context and given a malicious interpretation.

    For example, this accusation is simply a lie:

    "They are required to make vows of celibacy and obedience to TFP, a "vocation" higher than the vocation to married life or to the priesthood. To make them afraid to leave the group, stories are circulated throughout TFP of the horribly-violent, sudden deaths of ex-TFPers. Those who leave are called "apostates", even if they remain faithful Catholics."

    And I can prove it.

    I am a member of TFP. My brother Joseph was also, but later left. During the years he was away, he continued visiting TFP regularly. Then, after years, he returned. Noe he works with us full time.

    For people of good faith, TFP has a serene and complete answer to all these outrageous accusations.

    If you desire a copy of TFP's refutation, please call me at 717-225-7147, ext. 236.

    Robert Ritchie

  4. Are they teaching in Seminaries
    about these schisms SSPX,TFP,etc?
    Young priests just coming out of the Seminaries are red meat for these crafty modern TFP schismatics
    Remember to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
    NB: To find out more about these
    schisms and just what they believe
    and their animosity for Vat.Council

  5. TFP members are not schismatics.

    I go to Mass every Sunday at Saint Lawrence, part of the Cathedral parish in Harrisburg, PA.

    If I were schismatic, I'd go to an indepedent chapel somewhere else.

    The courage of anonymous is noteworthy -- accuse and withdraw.

    Robert Ritchie

  6. They are schismatic. Roberts dad, Ed lives in our area. He enters our church just before communion, receives, and leaves. TFP does not believe the mass is valid. The men sit in different pews from their families. They think plinio will return at the end time Leading an Army in front of Mary.A man from keep the Faith once told us, beware of Ed Ritchie, he is a very dangerous man, a 5th or 6th degree blackbelt. Eds mother Maria Ritchie came on to some home school families like a teacher to the children about the Fatima Message. She took photos of her and the children, and in the next issue of their publication, there was the photos of Maria and the children with the inscription that INFERRED that Maria was their teacher instructing them in the Faith. The homeschool moms were taken aback when I showed the publication to them.
    On another occasion the Ritchies brought an elderly woman from our parish, to their weekly meetings at their home. I believe the TFP promotes befriending the elderly so they will give TFP the money from their estates. Look at the State of Pennsylvania webites and log onto disclosures, and you will find lawsuits against TFP and America Needs Fatima, where families have sued them over their loved ones estates.
    TFP promoted a rosary last August in downtown Cleveland. There were only about 30 people who showed for the rosary, yet the angle of the photos made it look like and implied that there were hundreds that turned out for the Rosary. The Ritchies spreads the TFP literature throughout the Cleveland and Youngstown Diocese. Inspite of them being in this area since the 1990's the TFP has failed to take hold in our area, Praise GOD.
    Do not send them any money for without the funds, they cannot operate.

  7. One more response to Mr. Anonymous:

    You accuse my father of thinking the Mass is invalid.

    I know you are wrong.

    But just to prove my point; please answer:

    Then why does he go to Church? Why does He receive Holy Communion? And go to Confession?

    Something doesn't fit into the "logic" of your accusation.

    Robert Ritchie

  8. I guess I see this conversation about the TFP as I did of the election of Barak Obama, people can see what they want to see in order to drive their agenda. I wish someone would answer the question put to Jesus, is it Bealsibub or by God that you teach and heal? His answer is as mine is, about this organization, "The TFP is trying to do God's will in promoting the Queen of Heaven and her clarion call to conversion, repentance, and love, nothing more, nothing less." Bring a Pilgrim Virgin Statue into your home and ask your Catholic family to join you in an hour of prayer, and see the wonders that God does through the intersesion of His Mother. Oh, and no I am not a member of this organization, but I do listen with great interest to Fr. Gruner, and those that support the work that he does.
    Jon Wood
    Sumter, SC

  9. Jerald Franklin ArcherNovember 05, 2010

    A Question of Motives (Part 1)

    "What one man can invent another can discover." (Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Dancing Men by A.C. Doyle)

    I have extensively studied this entire case, weighed the factors and every point I can to come to a logical and sound conclusion.

    Less problems would arise if more people would practice this seemingly lost art today, but unfortunately we live in a world full of "information" that, albeit extensive, is often useless. In truth, it has been the case since man was first able to communicate intelligently and, with the advent of the printed word, escalated into absolute chaos. Knowledge is precious, but must be handled wisely. Being the information is greater in content and availability than at any time in our history, it should allow that truth would be easier to ascertain. Unfortunately this is not a reality, so one must work even harder to find the truth. This requires looking more at the little things, rather than the big picture itself. The greatest mistake many people make is in assuming the information is correct without the proper research necessary.

    Sound research skills seem not to be taught in the public schools like they were in the past, which is evident in what we often see online today. This creates confusion and fosters further ignorance--it is a vicious cycle that some use only to fit a personal agenda of their own, whatever that may be. Of course, no one is perfect, and we can all say and present things that may have better been left spoken or unwritten. People who don't take the time to do proper research will usually not take the time to correct their error either.

    One learns by asking the right questions. Finding those who are the right individuals to ask is another matter. Once one understands the psychological aspects of an individuals personal motives, the answers become more apparent. In this case, the political situations at the time in Brazil and the Bishops involved, played a big part in the whole affair. This was the most difficult aspect of the case for me, yet I understand why it happened, and it actually does still happen today, no matter where one resides.

    I have asked many others, particularly a number of priests (all who approve the TFP and ANF and praise their works as being very beneficial).

    (cont. in Part 2)

  10. Jerald Franklin ArcherNovember 05, 2010

    A Question of Motives (Part 2)

    Without going into the vast details of my research, I can say that this case is your classic case of slander married to ignorance and avarice towards the true motives of a group who strives to do the right thing. The history of the Church is full of many incidents of scandals, some real and some imagined. I will acknowledge that there are certain groups (Catholic or otherwise) who have their own personal motives in view, contrary to the teachings of the Church, that do exist.

    But why?

    The fact is that there are some individuals who will go at nothing to destroy the works of Christ and His Church, Our Lady and those who support organizations who promote the Fatima Message, the return to traditional Catholic moral values and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Some Catholics would rather see these things replaced with an "easy way" to do the same thing. This is the direct result of modernist thought that has bruised the Church, but not really harmed Her. It strengthens Her with every blow She receives. Legitimate groups within the Church very often undergo the same persecutions.

    Persecutions, and how they are received, is the ultimate blessing a follower of Christ can submit themselves to. It it the trial by fire that proves what the person (or the organization) is truly made of.

    Those whom are most hateful (and I do include some of our fellow Catholics in that list), it always seems, are often either staunch modernists, liberals, lovers of scandals and the ways of the world, haters of truth and just plain ignorant of facts as they are.

    The TFP-ANF has presented their case in a most logical and scholarly way in the document they presented in defense of themselves. They prove their case, not only in words, but in their actions as an organization.

    Here is their defense:

    I discovered that many who upheld the scandal often cited the Unity Publishing article, an unsigned document with no authority, manipulative content and citation inclusion, and a terrible technique of defense or proving their case. I would not want them as my lawyers in any legal courtroom.

    Here is their supposition:

    As a closing remark, I must state that any entity who presents themselves in an anonymous manner or lacks solid research citations should usually be disregarded as absurd--no exception allowed.

    Logic dictates this would (and should) be the case, but as we live in a world of imperfect minds, we can often allow personal prejudices (of any kind) to make an assessment of our own personal "truths" rather than accept that truth which is evident in facts and actions themselves. You shall know them by the fruits they produce. Mind well also those who may be spreading bad seeds.

    Jerald Franklin Archer

  11. When I questioned one of their statements in an email, America Needs Fatima replied with one of the most UN-Christian responses I have ever seen. I responded back and received another such response. I removed my name from their email list.

  12. AnonymousJuly 12, 2011

    I've never heard of America Needs Fatima but I just received an expensive-looking 8 x 11 mailing and as a devout Catholic, I saw the word Fatima and I opened it and it was packaged like one of those subscription offers with glossy paper inserts and booklets and with a letter from a Robert E. Ritchie asking for a gift of $ 20 or $ 30. It is so cleverly packaged and I felt skeptical so I googled it and saw this page. It is obviously mainly a money-making scheme using the Blessed Mother as bait.

    Jesus was subjected to much ridicule, pain and suffering but he did not get angry - he always showed love, mercy and kindness to those who were against him and who tortured and crucified him. But there is only one moment in the Bible when Jesus really got so mad. When he saw the merchants in the temple taking advantage of those who came to worship, he really went ballistic and tore down their stalls!

    May God be so merciful and show us all the light.