Drudge and The Daily Beast Post TFP Cult Intrigue: Why?

Every now and then an article is of interest not so much for its content, but for the reason of its publication. To my mind, this is one such article. While the TFP cult story is interesting, so is its appearance on the Drudge Report.

The headline and subhead in the article at The Daily Beast
This Secret Catholic Exorcist Cult in Brazil Is Making a Deal with the Devil –
The Vatican is looking into a group of exorcists who apparently made a pact with Satan on climate change and the death of Pope Francis

reveal that the author doesn’t know much about exorcisms or “pacts” with Satan, but wants to catch your attention. There is, to be sure, some scary stuff going on in the TFP remnant in Brazil. Links to articles by the Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli provide a more Catholic analysis of the issues, and these are presented below.

The bigger story, though, is why is the secular media interested in an obscure South American cult? I can’t figure why Drudge and the Beast picked it up besides the climate-change angle, but there’s reason to imagine that the Italian press is joining in a cult-vs-cult showdown of sorts, based on Tornielli’s calling on Massimo Introvigne to provide “analysis.”

First, the spooky lowdown on the TFP remnant.

Heralds of the Gospel, the founder leaves while the Vatican investigates

Andrea Tornielli, June 13, 2017

João Scognamiglio Clá Dias represents one of the two branches of the association founded in Brazil in the 1950s by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, a traditional, right-wing and revolutionary Catholic thinker, founder of the TFP (Tradition, Family and Property). After his death, the group split in 2: on the one hand the “Fundadores”, who have obtained the use of the TFP name in the United States and in Europe (the Italian association is very close to the positions of Professor Roberto De Mattei and has been recently supporting the activity of the four cardinal authors of the “dubiaˮ on the Amoris laetitia”). On the other, João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, who obtained the assets and the name of the association in Brazil and who, after the death of Plinio Corrêa in 1995, founded a religious order and a private laity association with male and female branches, the “Heralds of the Gospel”.

From the dialogues and testimonies, a certain millenarianism emerges: the Heralds are convinced that thanks to the Virgin of Fatima there is going to be a sort of end of the world which will see Monsignor João Scognamiglio Clá Dias triumph. In the dialogue, the priests tell of exorcisms in which the devil announces that the founder will become Pope (“The Pontifical keys are in the hands of the devil but are going to pass into the hands” of Monsignor Scognamiglio) and that Satanic forces fear him more than any other in the world. A devil through an exorcised person would have said, “go ahead and throw holy water at me, but not water that has been touched by of Mgr. João.” The footage documented that the names of Donna Lucilia, Plinio Corrêa and Monsignor João are invoked during exorcisms as extremely powerful. To the point of being almost divinized. As we understand, there is enough matter for a due clarification, although there are those who have immediately sought to present the news of the Vatican inquiry as an act of empire of the Holy See to choke those realities closer to traditionalism.

Massimo Introvigne, a sociologist from Turin, Italy, who has studied for years the movements springing from Corrêa de Oliveira and collected a vast amount of documentation (as it appears in the article “Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and the Heralds of The Gospel: The Religious Economy of Brazilian Conservative Catholicism, Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, autumn 2016) from the Cesnur Library (Study Center of New religions) in Turin, which he directs, states that “many indications suggest that within the Harald of the Gospel movement, a sort of secret and extravagant cult is practised to a sort of trinity composed of Pliny Corrêa de Oliveira, his mother Donna Lucilia, and Monsignor Clá Días himself. ”

“This is – he adds – a continuation of certain practices that had begun at least thirty years ago by Clá Días and others within the Corrêa de Oliveira movement, even before the death of the latter in 1995. I think it is important to distinguish between the works of Corrêa de Oliveira – controversial in the last years of his life when he approached those who refused the Second Vatican Council, but of great importance for the history of Latin American Catholicism in the 20th century – and the actions of his true or alleged heirs. I interviewed Corrêa de Oliveira three times, interrogating him on the rumors of a secret cult to himself and his mother, and he always told me that it was his younger followers being excessive, but that in no way he had proposed nor approved them. He may have been guilty of lack of vigilance. But this, in my opinion, does not harm the value of his writings. ”

The secret doctrine of the Heralds: “Correa encourages the death of the Pope”
[excerpts from Tornielli]

An occult doctrine supported by the devil

What makes things even more complicated are some recently recorded videos, from which emerges that Scognamiglio Clá Dias, the Herald’s founder, and his priests use self-made exorcist rituals, believing ineffective those of the Catholic Church approved by the Holy See. And not only: the video also confirms the extravagant nature of Dr. Plinio and his mother Lucilia’s cult, as well as the fact that the now former superior of the Heralds gives credit to delusional theories, convincing his priests to do likewise. But who is the source of these pseudo-revelations? The devil himself, during one of the frequent exorcisms that the Heralds of the Gospel’s priests perform using formulas that do not have ecclesiastical approval. To prove it is a video that you can view here.

To “Dr. Plinio” all the power over the world

The priest practices the exorcism on the possessed person, who is never named, with the formula: “May the curse of Monsignor João fall on your head!” The devil reveals that “Our Lady is working for the members of the group (the Heralds, e.d) to commit themselves to serve Monsignor João, renouncing their will to do that of the Monsignor.” Plinio Correa “sits on the right of the Virgin, on a throne and has all the power. Donna Lucilia stands on his left, just a little further down and collaborates with everything that her son Plinio does.” Plinio Correa holds “control over the world because he is the order of the universe.” All the present priests cry excited: “Awesome! Impressive, “while the Founding Monsignor nods, confirming. The devil also reveals that Donna Lucilia usually talks from afterlife with Monsignor João, who also nods in agreement.

Plinio Correa causes climate change

During the exorcism, the alleged devil, titillated by the priest’s curiosity answers to questions asked on behalf of Monsignor João, delivering various “revelations”. The devil says that “Plinio is breaking people’s computers so that they can’t go on the Internet.” Moreover, Correa de Oliveira, sitting on the throne to the right of the Virgin Mary, is also “changing the climate.” He would therefore be the author of the “climate change, and the increase of heat. It is Plinio who does everything” assures the exorcised demon and then warns: “A meteorite will fall into the sea in front of the United States, in the Atlantic ocean, and North America will disappear.” Monsignor João listens delighted.

“The Pope? One of my servant. Rodé his successor”

But the utmost enthusiasm of Monsignor João and his fascinated priestly audience comes when the alleged devil speaks of the current Pope. “The Vatican? It’s mine, mine! (The Pope, e.d) does whatever I want, he’s stupid!” Everyone cheerfully laughs and nods in agreement. “He obeys me in everything,” the devil continues, “He is my glory, he is willing to do everything for me. He serves me. ” To confirm the authority of the source and thus the pseudo-revelations, Monsignor João comments: “This is the most capable devil ever seen among us.” The enjoyment of the Herald of the Gospel’s priests continues as the exorcised devil explains that “the Pope will die falling,” but at the Vatican, not during a journey as hoped by the participants, for at that time Francis was on one of his pilgrimages. The devil explains that “Dr. Plinio is encouraging the death of the Pope,” that is to try to shorten his life. There is also talk of “the next pope being good” and that the devil is working to “kill the man whom God calls, Cardinal Rodé, the next pope.” The Slovene cardinal Franc Rodé, formerly Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, is considered a friend of the Heralds of the Gospel. Finally, it is also said that the devil has no power over the Heralds of the Gospel because they are consecrated to Plinio Correa de Oliveira: “Plans depend on God and Dr. Plinio.”

Now, about Massimo Introvigne. He’s a popular “sociologist,” “professor,” and head of several organizations. Tornielli calls on Introvigne for his supposed expertise on cults as head of the organization called the “Centre for the Study of New Religions” (cesnur.org). There is a lot more to Introvigne than meets the eye, and those who are interested can delve into the following website:

Introvigne may be an expert on TFP because he heads an organization called Alleanza Cattolica which is a TFP offshoot:

The material we made available not only shows that Massimo Introvigne is a leader of the radical right-wing “counter-revolutionary” movement called Alleanza Cattolica – the Italian “sister” of the Brazilian cult called Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). However, what is most important is that the material we published showed how CESNUR’s “research” is carried out in such a way as to delierately promote the policies and ideological goals of this movement.

Hence, my suspicion of cult-vs-cult is that Introvigne is not a disinterested sociologist, but is involved in the affair. Further, Tornielli calls out Professor Roberto De Mattei as being associated with one offshoot of TFP. Why?

The Kelebek page contains even more interesting information about Introvigne. For example, he is a vampire, i.e., he heads “The Transylvanian Society of Dracula,” where they meet and dress up in capes. He got along with the Maciel cult (this is pre-2000). His title of professor comes from his teaching at schools owned by the Legionaries of Christ. It would seem that Introvigne is as much a cult apologist as he is a sociologist.

The bottom line: What is Tornielli up to, and why is it of interest on The Drudge Report?

Get AQ Email Updates

2 comments on “Drudge and The Daily Beast Post TFP Cult Intrigue: Why?

  1. My guess on why it appeared on Drudge is A: it’s clickbait and B: it makes some within what most people would presume to be an “accepted party” in the Catholic Church look ridiculous.
    Oh, wait. The loony-tune TFP fantasists actually did that all by themselves.
    As to Tornielli’s motive I cannot even guess. I’ve given up trying to translate Italian modes of expression (even when rendered well and literally in English) or Italian partisanship.
    Although, he might get to the bottom of this farcical and heretical cult by consulting these guys (see below). They look like they know what they’re doing and appear quite sane.

  2. Who remembers not too long ago an article claiming that Vladimir Putin was behind Catholic “conservative” and traditionalist opposition to Pope Francis? The technique is from Saul Alinsky. They go looking for cranks that can be tagged as “conservative” or “traditionalist” and focus on that target, hyping its significance and scope, as if this is a major trend in the Church. There are problems with certain groups that can take on the atmosphere and structure of a cult. There is also the danger of exorcists (or those wandering into the realm of exorcism) becoming possessed.

    Just at the point Bergoglio is deconstructing Catholic teaching on marriage and purging pro-life scholars appointed by John Paul II and Pope Benedict from the Pontifical Academy for Life, this story out of Brazil emerges.


    As with Medjugorje and the Legionaries of Christ there are valid reasons to be concerned about certain groups becoming like cults, but is this more significant than pro-abortion hacks getting appointed to Pontifical Academy for Life while pro-life scholars are purged? Come on.
    Keep in mind, stories about the Devil and exorcism sell. Non-Catholic readers have a curiosity about such topics. There is an opportunity to explain the true Catholic teaching as well. Italians parsing Brazilians through the mainstream media leaves a lot of room for confusion when such stories are disseminated for non-Catholics who enjoy reading about Catholic scandals. Who needs a Catholic scandal now?

Leave a Reply