[UPDATED OCTOBER 30: More signs of an Anti-Francis alliance between Küster and TFP with English-speaking papal detractors emerge:

On October 29, two days after the synod came to a close, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register was seen having dinner with Küster on in a restaurant in Rome. This highlights the professional and social ties between the Brazilian social media influencer and portions of the Catholic media world, pointing to the involvement of nationalist populist movements in the opposition to Francis.

Today, Pentin published an essay by José Antonio Ureta, whose bio states that he belongs to the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute, which is named for TFP’s founder and professes to carry on his legacy by promoting his principles and teachings.

WPI will be keeping a close eye on the connection between TFP and the Anglophone instigators of the rebellion against the Holy Father.]


[The original article starts here:]

A social-media influencer who has been endorsed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has emerged as the leading supplier of conservative media lines of attack on the Amazon synod.

Bernardo Küster, a Brazilian writer who owns a bookshop in São Paulo, is a traditionalist Catholic and outspoken critic of Pope Francis. The synod has given him a platform to expand his influence.

Not that he needs any more exposure. Küster, who is in his thirties, is a vocal supporter of the nationalist President Bolsonaro and runs a YouTube channel with nearly 800,000 subscribers.

He uses his online pulpit to criticize what he considers the “communist presence” and corrupt finances of the Church’s summit on the Amazon, lines that Francis’s critics in U.S. Catholic media have taken up with gusto. Küster has been in Rome for the synod, where he has been seen at press briefings, and sat down for a 40-minute interview with LifeSiteNews, one of the most fervently anti-Pope Francis agencies in the English-speaking Catholic world. 

At the start of the Synod, Küster published a video detailing supposed financial contributions made by the Ford Foundation to the Vatican to back the summit on the Amazon. He painted the contributions as a “pro-abortion” influence on the Synod’s activities.

Küster and those close to him claim to have evidence that the Ford Foundation gave money to Red Eclesial Panamazónica (REPAM), a Latin American group that helped organise the synod. REPAM, however, is separate from the Vatican, which is the sole source of funding for the synod.

The Ford Foundation is not a Catholic organization, but they support many good works and have made significant donations to Catholic Relief Services, the US bishops’ humanitarian agency. 

Nevertheless, the National Catholic Register, owned by the US-based EWTN television network and known for its repeated criticism of the Francis papacy, has made the Ford Foundation funding an obsession. The outlet’s Rome reporter Edward Pentin has repeatedly asked Vatican officials questions about alleged Ford Foundation support for the Synod, continuing to press the issue even as the officials deny the allegations.

On 23 October, Küster published a video claiming that the synod was a mere theatrical show and that it “did not in actual fact exist.” To back up this assertion, Küster claims that the membership of the team commissioned to compile the final document of the synod is clouded in uncertainty. The Vatican has, however, released the names of those working on the final text.

“Who is writing this document?” Küster says in the video, quipping that it might as well be “the mummies of the catacombs” — alluding to the Pact of the Catacombs of 20 October, which reaffirmed the Church’s preferential closeness to the marginalised.

Küster has also accused the synod of being under the influence of “communist delegates”—a rhetorical ploy often used by Bolsonaro against his opponents.

LifeSiteNews on 25 October asked a synod briefing panel if it would comment on a “meeting with the deputies of the socialist and communist parties of Brazil.” Bishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler replied that the meeting was with parliamentarians involved in the protection of human rights in the Amazon.

Küster, who calls himself an “ex-communist” and onetime atheist, says he came to his Catholic faith through Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP). The group is known for its support for the Brazilian dictatorship, criticism of the Second Vatican Council and, more recently, opposition to Pope Francis.

Dr Rodgrio Coppe Caldeira, professor of Church History at the Pontifical University of Minas Gerais, says “most consider [the] TFP a sect” and that it no longer plays an influential role in Brazil. Its influence was at a peak from the 1960s to 1980s. The group does not have the support of the Brazilian Church, says Dr. Coppe Caldeira, although it is close to Bolsonaro’s government.

Küster’s connection to TFP is more than just intellectual. On 11 and 12 October, Küster attended the Conservative Political Action Conference event in Brazil. At the conference, TFP was represented and was given one of the largest stands. Video evidence can be found of Küster giving an interview at the CPAC event, which was co-organised by Eduoardo Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president’s son.

One group closely associated to Corrêa de Oliveira and the TFP are the Heralds of the Gospel, who have recently rejected the legitimacy of a papal-approved investigation. 

Catholic commentator Dawn Eden Goldstein has asked why the Register’s Rome Correspondent, Edward Pentin, recently published an article by a TFP member known for his anti-Semitic views and favourable take on the Catholic Inquisition on his personal blog. The article of the TFP member, which described an Amazonian statuette some have called “Our Lady of the Amazon” as an object of pagan worship, was also reprinted by LifeSiteNews.

Goldstein, known for her investigative work into conservative Catholic networks, has also asked about a potential financial relationship between EWTN and the ultra-traditionalist Brazilian group.

Küster considers the President Bolsonaro’s intellectual “guru,” Olavo de Carvalho, as a mentor.  

Living in the US, de Carvalho is known for his far-right views and defense of the Brazilian dictatorship of the 1970s. After Bolsonaro’s election, de Carvalho gained a profile as an informal aide to the president. He is a close friend of Steve Bannon, founder of Breitbart News and former chief strategist to President Donald Trump.

Küster is a frequent guest to de Carvalho’s ranch in the US and has called the Bolsanaro aide his personal “professor.” The two regularly speak about Church and politics. 

Küster’s presence at the synod is even more intriguing given Bolsonaro’s nervousness about the bishops’ summit, which concludes on Sunday. Before it started, the Brazilian president, who has been heavily criticised for his policies on the Amazon rainforest, sent a delegation to the Vatican to lobby synod organizers. It was also reported by the newspaper O Estado de São Paolo that Brazilian secret services had been monitoring bishops chosen to attend the gathering.  

After the Synod came to a close today, its final document was released, which detailed the Church’s obligation and responsibility to the region. The document specified possibilities of opening up priesthood in the region to married deacons and official ministries for women.

A proposal for a fund and a collaboration between the region’s different episcopal conferences has also been proposed.

At the final briefing, members of the conservative press continued to bring up the same issues they have been raising throughout the summit. In response, Vatican officials reiterated the Church’s call to conversion and pastoral need to provide for — and listen to — the people of the Amazon.


Image credit: Kenneth Murphy, via Creative Commons. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0). Link to original photo (cropped).

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Daniele Palmer is a freelance journalist. He studied history in London and is preparing a PhD on French Political Thought. He currently works from Rome as the Vatican correspondent for Where Peter Is.

The Bolsonaro influencer seeking to sway the synod

22 Responses

  1. jong says:

    Thank you for linking the Rad Trads channel in America and Canada to their Brazilian counterpart. It only shows that the Council of Media really had a growing network to undermine Pope Francis papacy.

    Pope Benedict XVI was right all along, the Council of Media was established at the start of Vatican II to undermine the mission of the Church and to paint a bad image in order to sow confusions & divisions. We are now seeing how vast the network of Council of Media and their collaborators. But, the good thing about this is, their evil works can easily be expose too in this digital era.

    So, we can expect the future of the Church will be attack even more from all fronts, worldwide. Who will win this Media War? WPI and few media site are defending Pope Francis papacy but the Rad Trads channels are already living a career out of daily accusing and attacking the Church. In the words of Pope Francis, he did not directly quote John8:44 to call this people offspring of the old serpent, but rather in a softer tone he just called this Rad Trads channels who are making a career imitating the works of the devils of accusing, judging, spinning & twisting words, and creating fake news thru gossiping , etc., Pope Francis simply called them friends, relatives and cousins of the devils. (Revelation12:10)

    • Pete Vickery says:

      I appreciate all the input you contribute here Jong. I know all of this is disconcerting but I think part of what drives these radtrads in the media is that most people don’t pay attention to them in normal life. Prayer and fasting with confidence in our Lord is the best remedy for the life of the Church. I can accomplish more with prayer for the Pope than I can with some insightful comment here. It’s humbling but Christ has already won the battle. We are called to do our part but in the end our Lord will have His way. I think the behavior of the radtrads has actually backfired on them in this synod since now Pope Francis has brought the indigenous statues to everyone’s attention in a way that will bring about more public approval of their presence. The indigenous have always impressed me since I had the pleasure to make their acquaintance almost thirty years ago in the jungles of the Yucatan. Many only spoke Mayan but their simple happiness despite having almost nothing made a life changing influence on me. They taught me truly that one’s life does not consist in the abundance of one’s possessions and that happiness is found in a simple trust in God. Their simple humility spoke volumes. The Holy Spirit is guiding our Pope as Christ promised and has led him to seek the well being of millions of indigenous who can teach all of us a lesson in faith and humility.

      • jong says:

        Pete Vickery
        Thanks, me too are puzzled why a simple reading of an article creates in me a deep pondering connecting all the dots from Genesis to Revelation. I admire the Wisdom of God and had try to ponder the Wisdom of God in Proverbs8:22, and when one arrived that Spirit of Wisdom is the “anointing” received by Jesus Christ in Baptism, we will appreciate why Jesus became the Wisdom of God and the First Advocate. And later on this same “anointing” was passed on by Jesus first intercessory act, because He promised the Apostles not to left them orphan and that’s why He gave us a Mother, to become the “another Advocate” who will also fulfill the role of the “Spirit of Truth”. Jesus became the Wisdom of God and this Spirit of Wisdom rested in the Sorrowful & Immaculate Heart of Mary fulfilling the Isaiah prophecy. Mary became the Seat of Wisdom in the Upper Room to become the “another Advocate” (St.Liguori; Peter goes to Mary the “another Advocate”) and the “Spirit of Truth” (St.Kolbe; “quasi-incarnate”).

        With regards to the very controversial “Pachamama idol”, it’s a good thing that Pope Francis said it was a “Pachamama” , why?
        Blessed Ab.Fulton Sheen prophecy provided the answer, he prophesied “the counterfeit church or the mystical body of the Antichrist” will destroy “idols and religions”.
        Vatican II was inspired to embraced other religions and faith thru “fraternal charity” and teaches that they are also our brothers in Christ and part of the People of God. While the Rad Trads are condemning other religions, Pope Francis had signed “Fraternal Agreement with the Muslims” following the footsteps of St.JP2 and Pope Benedict XVI.
        While the Rad Trads had expressed their hatred to the “naked statue” calling it “pagan idol” that led to stealing., the Vatican II Church was guided by Pope Francis to wear the cloak of compassion and mercy thru listening.

        Now, the ending is clear, the Rad Trads associated themselves to the prophecy of Blessed Ab.Fulton Sheen that in the end times the “counterfeit church” will destroy “idols and religions” and they are showing it today. They even praised the thieves who broke God’s commandment in Exodus20:15.

        The mystical body of the Antichrist are imitating the works of the devils as Jesus reminded us in John10:10;
        ” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”(John10:10)

        I hope we all believe that the Second Pentecost is coming soon, not only to renew the Face of the Earth but to renew the Face of Church.
        The Face of the Church for 2000 years was taken from the Apostolic Dimension, in the end times towards the New Paradise the coming Eucharistic Era, the Face of the Church will taken from the Marian Dimensions, after all the chosen Woman is the one who gave birth and gave Face to the Logos the Head of the Church and the one who gave birth to the Mystical Body of Christ the Church.

        The Second Pentecost will supply the needed power for the Church, to ordain the woman as “helper” like Eve, and all the Priest must portray the role of the New Adam like Jesus. All of the people who embraced their royal priestly role, are the New Adam and the New Eve that can enter the New Paradise to celebrate the Eucharistic Era offering & consecrating themselves like Mary in the Mystery of Incarnation, “this is my body, this my blood”, and the Holy Spirit will come down on that soul to form Jesus Christ in their humbled & obedient heart. Mary Virgin Priest, pray for us. (St.Pius X; 1906)

        link; “The Cenacle A Preparation for the Second Pentecost” https://mmp-usa.net/the-purpose-of-the-cenacle/

      • Yaya says:


        Father Benedict Groeshel always would say the happiest people he ever met were little old black ladies who were poor but on fire for Jesus.

        I hope the Lord will gift me with such a gift.

        May he gift us all with a burning heart for Him and for our neighbor!

        Solid article btw. I learned more and understand better who to steer clear of.

  2. BJ says:

    As I have previously commented on other posts on this site, it’s time to leave or boycott EWTN, it’s taken a far-right political approach to everything. Start watching other Catholics TV channels such as Shalom World Catholic TV https://shalomworld.org/watchlive/, also stop reading national Catholic Register owned by the same group that owns EWTN.

  3. petey says:

    thank you mr. palmer for this research.

  4. Christopher Lake says:


    Thank you for this helpful, informative article. I know some very devoted Catholics– some of the finest people whom I know, period– who are currently being very influenced by the “Tradition, Family, Property” (TFP) group, and by the “America Needs Fatima” campaigns.

    Of course, as a Catholic myself, I deeply love Our Lady of Fatima, but TFP and “America Needs Fatima” are different matters altogether. I highly doubt that my well-meaning Catholic friends have *any idea* of the ultra-far-right, cult-like, dictatorial nature of these groups which are gaining greater influence among some American Catholics.

    I don’t want to be co-opted by the far-right, *or* the far-left, or by *any* group or movement which would use me for its purposes and disregard me as a human being. Been there, done that, too many times. I just want to love Christ, His Church, and all people made in His image. I just want to be Catholic. This can be a lonely road to walk in the U.S. where I live, at times, but it is my prayer.

  5. M. says:

    Thanks for the link Mike. I also have friends who are being influenced by TFP and America Need Fatima.

  6. Christopher Lake says:

    Jessica and M.,

    I hope that you found the links that Mike posted on TFP to be as helpful as I did (thanks so much, Mike!). In addition to those, I just found a lengthy, but very illuminating, article on TFP, its long history of resisting multiple Popes, its eerie, cultish practices, and its clashes with, and condemnation by, the Bishops of Brazil: https://newera.news/intelligence-report-fatima-tradition-family-property-error-on-the-right/

    Also, “America Needs Fatima” is a front group for TFP. ANF is often visible at pro-life demonstrations, rallies, etc. They have the *appearance* of goodness, and certainly, helping to save the lives of unborn humans is great work, but ANF mostly exists to raise funds for TFP. Catholics should know this and save their money for organizations which are *not* front groups for cults.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you! Conservative Catholics in general have a weak presence at my church, probably because we’re spitting distance from a church that exclusively offers TLM. So, I’m not too informed about this side of things.

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