What is the meaning of the symbols on the TFP?

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Many are familiar with the distinctive red standards and robes of Cultuur Onder Vuur, the campaign that is part of the Catholic lay movement Tradition, Family & Private Property (TFP). While leftists hate and fear these symbols, those who fight for moral values ​​love them. Why do TFP symbols arouse so much admiration and hatred? What do they stand for?

TFP lion

The most recognizable TFP symbol is the golden roaring lion. In the animal kingdom, the lion represents majesty and courage. In Scripture, the lion of the tribe of Judah refers to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His eternal kingdom over heaven and earth. The TFP lion approaches the enemy and takes a big step forward. The stretched muscles in his legs show this attacking move. His eyes are not directed at the opponent in his immediate vicinity, but at infinity. His gaze is fixed on the noble Cause he fights for. God is the ultimate goal of his struggle.


Red Cross

The TFP lion has a red cross on his chest representing the Catholic faith. While the claws are ready to attack physically, the lion’s open mouth and pronounced tongue symbolize the crucial importance of leading and winning the battle of ideas. The lion looks to the left (liberalism and communism) with his chest out and his head high. The flamboyant tail adds a touch of elegance to the match. Moreover, the upright and decorated tail defies the vulgar and egalitarian features of the revolution.


Prof. dr. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of the first TFP and designer of the symbols, stated: “The lion does not give the impression of being particularly heavy, carnivorous or ferocious. On the contrary, it shows elegance, aristocracy and strength. It is a lion who knows how “You are a crusader. All these elements together give the lion its charm.”1 The color gold symbolizes the generosity of the TFP’s struggle for the restoration of Christian civilization, the reign of Christ the King and the coming triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, promised in Fatima.

They dreaded red glow

A liberal college student once described his encounter with a TFP campaign. †When I went to class on Thursday afternoon, I suddenly heard bagpipes and saw the dreaded red lights. Yes, our good friends, the fanatical members of Civitas Christiana, were on campus again … I’ve been thinking about TFP all day.2 The symbolic value of the red capes is undeniable. These “dreaded red sashes” are highly visible and act as a power multiplier. The TFP cloak, shiny and supple in its movements, is designed to draw the public’s attention to an ideological issue. Neither a coat nor a habit, the shape is not related to any known garment. He covers the chest and makes the one who wears it a standard of living.



Prof. dr. Corrêa de Oliveira explains: “The cape worn by TFP members and volunteers aims, so to speak, to separate their figure from ordinary clothes and turn them into busts, which, so to speak, give them an ideal and historical perspective. In the eyes of the people, the member appears “TFP’s volunteers who present themselves with the cloak, brilliant with their ideals and thus the purpose of the cloak, which is to draw the public’s attention to settle him.”3

TFP standard

TFP’s red banner with its golden lion on a blue pole, topped by a golden fleur-de-lis, is used mainly for public street campaigns. It stands out on university campuses, pro-family conventions and the annual March for Life. The “medieval banner,” as many call it, proclaims the ideals of tradition, family, and property. When the wind blows hard, the banner shows all its symbolism. But the standard also proclaims the eternal principles it stands for, even when the wind blows. Faithfulness to the principles is unconditional.


When the standard catches a stormy wind, it represents the enthusiasm of every soldier of Christ to serve the Church. At rest periods, the standard symbolizes the reflection and contemplation that sustains the person who is later to continue the struggle. The stick of the standard symbolizes the virtue of temperament, which regulates and keeps the standard in check and anchors its enthusiasm.

To put away

The blood of the martyrs

Vivid red symbolizes the virtue of heroism, the blood of martyrs, and the value of self-sacrifice for a higher cause. Red also represents the sacred heart of Jesus. The founder of TFP explains: “Our red standard with its golden color represents something that speaks of great ideals … [het] lifts the soul to a higher plane, it speaks of strife, makes sense of the nobility and beauty of justice, and gives at least a little of the sense of strife to those who see it. “4


The trifold fleur-de-lis To crown the TFP standard symbolizes three virtues: wisdom, purity, and chivalry. The middle and highest lily pillow is wisdom, the superior virtue that rules over all others. The two petals of purity and chivalry bow in submission to wisdom. Above all, the lily points to the sky and symbolizes the purity of Our Lady.


Members of the TFP carry a unique ceremonial habit, especially for solemn occasions. This habit is full of symbolism and reflects three aspects of a TFP member’s moral profile: Our Lady’s slave, warrior, and monk. St. James’ large sword cross on the shoulder blade stands out. The cross is half red and half white with a gold thread separating the two colors. Red symbolizes the willingness to shed its blood, if necessary, in defense of the Church and Christian civilization. White symbolizes the purity of orthodoxy and chastity. Gold represents the generosity of the TFP mission. The Knight’s Cross is amazing because a TFP member is not afraid to show his love for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in a world that despises it.


sword cross

The blade of the sword cross moves with each step and summons the good fight. However, the tunic and shoulder blades do not reach the floor as it is not a habit characteristic of those worn by religious orders. The cap of habit, however, is similar to the Benedictine cap, but with a sharper and stiffer tip. Once folded, the cap frames the head and emphasizes the vital need for immersion.


The tunic and shoulder blades are inspired by the Carmelites. Many founding members of TFP, including Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, were Carmelites of the third order. Later, a white tunic was adapted for the younger members of the TFP, based on the Trappist habit. In warrior-monk fashion, the tunic falls just below the knees, revealing crusader-like cavalry boots.



Instead of a rope-shaped belt, the TFP habit uses a large tensioned chain. This is an outward expression of the spiritual bondage of love to the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the method of Saint Louis de Montfort’s book, True Devotion to Mary. To the left, where the chain crosses, hang three or seven links down. Three links symbolize Our Lady’s role as daughter, mother and God’s wife. The seven parts represent Our Lady’s seven sorrows or seven joys. Hanging from the chain, the sacred rosary is the spiritual weapon of all time. Finally, fold the TFP sheath and attach to the left shoulder of the shoulder blade.

The meaning of the symbols

Ideas and principles are too complex to be expressed in words alone. That is why symbols are needed. Mention the word “heroism” and a heroic person or symbol comes to mind, not a dictionary definition. Therefore, symbols help people understand principles and ideas. Symbols speak of the unspeakable, metaphysical and spiritual realm. They are the visible representation of the invisible world4


  1. https://www.tfp.org/the-tfps-rampant-lion/
  2. https://www.gwhatchet.com/2003/11/24/letters-to-the-editor-128/
  3. https://www.pliniocorreadeoliveira.info/UK_820601_all_about_TFPs.htm
  4. Ibid

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