Alleanza Cattolica and "Tradition, Family and Property" 

by Miguel Martinez

To understand why Introvigne and Alleanza Cattolica made a 180° turn around the end of 1985 on cult-related issues, and why the former suddenly discovered his vocation as a "sociologist" and an "expert on New Religious Movements", requires a long explanation. 

What is Alleanza-CESNUR's "good struggle"? What are the ideas the young men in ties and suits should wave their flags for? 

The self-description of AC, on its own homepage, is an elegant combination of soft (and complicated) speech and tough contents. 

It calls for a "positive and apologetic, hence also polemical, propagation and the implementation of the social doctrine of the Church, the application of the perennial natural and Christian moral system to changing historical circumstances. Its action lies in the field of Christian implementation of the temporal order; it is moved by political charity".  

Now, Introvigne is either a bad member of AC (but their official magazine certainly does not seem to say so), or else CESNUR is here to do "political charity"; building, as the web page goes on to say, "a civilization which can truly be called Christian, as it respects divine rights and lives consciously within the borders laid down by the doctrine and morals of the Church.  

The hope for a historical implementation of such a civilization is supported by the Virgin's promise at Fatima: "In the end, my Immaculate Heart shall triumph". 

The jargon is heavy, but so are the contents: we are not talking of individuals living within the framework laid down by Christian "doctrine and morals". We are talking of a whole society governed by Canon Law. And this appears as a dream for the immediate future, thanks to the help of the Virgin in setting up a new "civilization". 

In the meantime, while waiting to put society into the "frontiers" of the new civilization, AC pays special attention to fighting "those forces which aim at reversing the Ten Commandments and at implementing doctrinal and moral lies, with a special reference to the historical process which goes from the crisis of the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation to Socialcommunism and beyond, that is the Revolution which seeks to be enthroned in the place of God and His law". 

In other words, the enemies of AC (and CESNUR) range from Michelangelo to Luther, Marx and "beyond". 

Whatever one may think of Alleanza Cattolica's ideology, it is by no means a cult. It has no charismatic leadership, and its 200-300 members are free to pursue their own studies and personal careers. Personal opinions within the group vary, within a limited range of course. No exacting demands in terms of money or time are made on members, and those who leave the organization are in no way victimised. Although the comparison would hardly please the leadership, it is not unlike Freemasonry - somewhat secretive, but basically an association of free, consenting adults. 

AC was founded in the wake of the Sanfratello-Braibanti deprogramming case. However, the reason why it grew was far more important: the dramatic suffering of many Catholics whose whole world view was shattered by Vatican II.  

At least since the counter-Reformation, the Catholic explanation of reality was quite clear: all of Adam's descendants were stricken by original sin, whether this inevitably led to damnation or not; only the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross opened up a possibility of redemption through sacraments properly administered by a regularly ordained priesthood. Liberal critics will probably appreciate only the reactionary political ideas of the organization, but the theological and sacramental aspect was probably even more important: ecumenism and the reform of the liturgy, often ruthlessly imposed by the very authorities who traditionalists expected were there to preserve the heritage of the Church, shook the very foundations of the meaning of life for many people, who found themselves in a situation not unlike that of Native Americans when the buffaloes disappeared from the prairies. 

When the world breaks down, an explanation and a ray of hope are needed in order to avoid total psychological collapse. "Counter-Revolutionary" theories, like the Ghost Dance of Native Americans or the expectation of the Messiah among Jews after the loss of their political independence, provided both.  

"Counter-Revolutionary" theories, which date back to the times of the French Revolution, provide an explanation of the world in terms of progressive decadence and dissolution, leading to an ever more dramatic crisis. The divine order of the world progressively turns into global confusion and breakdown and then into nothingness: a remote golden age in the past, where men, nature and God (or the gods - Counter-Revolutionary thought is often "neo-pagan") lived in harmony, like a great symphonic orchestra, finds its opposite in the solitary desperation of Internet fans clicking their way through everything and nothing. 

This means that every "revolutionary" movement is considered an enemy, which of course is more attractive a notion for the middle class than for factory workers, but it would be wrong to see it simply as a mirror of class interests: genuine political interests need optimism and flexibility, and few powerful businessmen in Europe will waste their time on financing pessimistic and extremist Counter-Revolutionaries; reactionary interests and reactionary idealism are by no means synonyms. Indeed, we can find similar attitudes contrasting "order" and "chaos" in quite different environments, from optimistic Freemasonry and even the more romantic aspects of Communism, to the Jehovah's Witnesses.  

The situation is different however in Latin America, where the old land-owning "aristocracy" has for centuries claimed religious authority for its right to exploit the labour of people whom God, they hold, made subordinate to them. In this remote corner of the world, reactionary interests and reactionary idealism go hand in hand. 

And AC's ideology - or Introvigne's ideology - comes directly from Latin America.