#AceGuestNews says this is another post and views from a member of our #History2Research Group and hope you enjoy and share.
#AceGuestViews – OPUS DEI
Founded in Madrid Spain by the Roman Catholic priest Josemaria Escriva in 1928, Opus Dei is a Catholic organization whose mission is to spread the word that everyone is called to become a saint and apostle of Jesus Christ and that life is a path to sanctity. The order’s formal name is “Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei” but it’s commonly referred to as Opus Dei (a work of God). Years subsequent to its founding, Opus Dei was established as a personal prelature by Pope John Paul II. Many Catholic leaders support what they see as the order’s innovative teachings, along with its complete fidelity to the church, through which it is hopefully able to solve the many challenges in the world. But this society has often been accused of secrecy, ultraconservative beliefs, a right-wing political agenda, and even cult-like methods as far as how it treats its members. Opus Dei came into the public’s consciousness because of the success of the novel, “The Da Vinci Code” wherein author Dan Brown calls it a “Catholic sect” on the book’s first page relating to “facts.” The author then spins the story in which the fanatical devotion of one of this order’s members and the self-interest of its leader are used by a mysterious retainer for sinister motives. Brown claims that his portrayal of Opus Dei was based on interviews with current and former members, along with various books about the organization…
Vatican analyst John L. Allen, Jr. did some studies on Opus Dei because of the criticism it has received, and he concluded that some of the order’s views are misunderstood due to their newness, yet he also said that Opus Dei was the most controversial force in the Catholic Church. In 1994, Dr. Massimo Introvigne, a conservative Catholic scholar, said that the organization was only a target because as a secular society they were “returning to religion.” Obviously there is considerable confusion about the organization, and to some extent the quotes from learned men may be partly responsible for leaving some people in a quandary, so to speak… For example, Pope John Paul II once declared: “Opus Dei is an institution which has in fact striven not only to enlighten with new lights the mission of the laity in the church and in society, but also to put it into practice. It has also striven to put into practice the teaching of the universal call to holiness, and to foster at all levels of society the sanctification of ordinary work, and these it does by means of honouring ordinary work.” What may add to the confusion is that while Opus Dei seems to want members of high academic ability, it also appears to believe in “family values” and the subjugation of women. Unquestioned obedience and a great degree of relegating power for the Church are also part of their creed.
Benedict XVI blessing a statue of the founder of Opus Dei at an outside wall of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
John Allen Jr., states that Opus Dei’s assets in the United States are estimated at around $344 million, this is nothing in comparison to the annual revenue of the Catholic Church, which is about $100 billion. Although critics have charged that Opus Dei is very rich and uses its money to gain influence and political power, there aren’t enough facts to support this assertion. According to Alan Axelrod in “The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders,” “Opus Dei is unique within the Catholic Church as a personal prelature. This gives it a high degree of independence from local control by parishes or bishops and according to some writers this degree of control has made Opus Dei in effect a secret society.” Other critics allege that the agenda of Opus Dei is the introduction of an almost “medieval” form of Christianity and the support of reactionary governments and regimes, so long as they’re nominally Catholic. Perhaps one of the most probing analyses of the organization comes from Michael Walsh in his book Opus Dei: An investigation into the powerful Secret Society within the Catholic Church, in which he links it to extreme right-wing political movements and the Vatican banking scandals of the 1980s. Walsh indicates that Opus Dei may have tried to buy respectability by pumping huge sums of money into the Vatican, and he also implicates them in a number of scandals. According to statistics submitted in 1979 by the then-head of the order, Opus Dei had members in 479 universities, 664 newspapers, 52 radio and TV stations, 38 news and advertising companies and 12 movie-production companies.