“Opus Dei”

#AceGuestNews says this is another post and views from a member of our #History2Research Group and hope you enjoy and share.

 

English: Cross of Opus Dei - based primarily o...

#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…

English: Expansion of the Roman Catholic organ...

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 ...

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.

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” The Priory Of Sion”

A Seal of the Knights Templar, who founded the...

#AceGuestNews says this is a post courtesy of a member of our “History and Research Group ” and well worth a read.

#AceGuestViews: This is his post in its entirety and his views.

The success of the novel “The Da Vinci Code” is perhaps the single most among factors which brought to public attention the Priory of Sion… History however, points out that there was a Catholic monastic order in Jerusalem by that name during the same time as the Knights Templar. This was proven to be fact by way of a papal bull stating that this order had monasteries and abbeys at Mt. Carmel in Palestine, as well as properties in southern Italy and France. In addition, an organization called the Priory of Sion registered with the bureau of records in Annemasse, France, in 1956.

The official emblem of the Priory of Sion is p...

The official emblem of the Priory of Sion is partly based on the fleur-de-lis, which was a symbol particularly associated with the French monarchy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A level of infamy was generated about the Priory of Sion because of a man named Pierre Plantard, who apparently lied his way across Europe, as he claimed to be secretary-general and then grand master of the Priory of Sion. While Plantard was allegedly serving the Priory in the 1960s, he appears to have forged documents that alluded to the survival of a sacred bloodline of the Merovingian’s, a line of Frankish kings. These documents were used as part of the research for the book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail. When authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln published their work in 1982, it immediately became a bestseller and stirred up a world-wide controversy over its premise that there’s a lineage still existing that stems directly from Jesus Christ… “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” caused such a sensation that it was subsequently banned by the Catholic Church. Dan Brown’s book The Da Vince Code, and other books inspired by this questionable research followed, all of which put forth this controversial theory that descendants of Jesus Christ have survived and that the Priory of Sion kept the secret. Plantard ultimately admitted that he forged the documents because he wanted to create the illusion that he too, was part of the Merovingian line. Scholars then turned on Holy Blood, Holy Grail because it utilized resources that have been more or less proven to be false. The Da Vinci Code was also widely attacked, and several books have been written that attempt to debunk its whole premise. Plantard is reported to have resigned as grand master of the Priory of Sion in 1984 after suffering public humiliation, and died in February of 2000. The controversy did not diminish or subside following Plantard’s confession and death, but rather, it in fact continued to roar by way of The Da Vinci Code.

holy grail

holy grail (Photo credit: Paul Stevenson)

On the other hand, what do we know about the Priory of Sion… A conclave of Calabrian monks left the Belgian Abbey of Oval in 1090 to journey to the Holy Land as pilgrims. Five years later, the first Crusade was launched, which ended with the capture of Jerusalem from the Muslims in 1099. One of the key players in the success of this venture was Godfrey of Bouillon, the devout knight from France. After the capture of Jerusalem the group of Calabrian monks and others elected Godfrey as de facto king of Jerusalem, but he refused the title and instead accepted that of “Protector of the Holy Sepulcher.” Godrey then founded a group of 12 knights called “the Order of the Holy Sepulcher,” which eventually evolved into the Knights Templar. As the result of the Calabrian monks support of Godfrey, which was based on the belief that he was a descendant of the Merovingian’s, and therefore as a descendant of King David through Jesus and Merovech, he was able to make a place for the monks in an abbey on Mount Zion. Sometime between 1099 and 1118, it’s believed that this group of monks (now called the Order of Sion) and the men who would later be known as the Knights Templar became one organization and unified with the same leadership. There is no record of this happening, but the Order of Sion did occupy and abbey on Mount Zion until about 1291, when Jerusalem was recaptured by Muslims…Mount Zion was also where the Knight Templar made their headquarters. The Knights Templar was formally recognized by the pope in 1139; and according to Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the Templars and the Order of Sion remained allied until an event called “the cutting of the elm” at Gisors in 1188. The history of the Templars also refers to the symbolic cutting of the elm, and the first grand master of the Priory of Sion is listed as Jean de Gisors, who was master of the castle and lands where the incident took place.

Emblem of the Military Order of Templars.

Emblem of the Military Order of Templars. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was no acrimony between the Order of the Sion and the Knights Templar when they parted ways, as they stayed in contact for centuries subsequent. Furthermore, these two organizations shared much in the way of information and knowledge and maintained constant communication after their formal separation. Subsequent to vacating their abbey in Jerusalem, the Order of Sion seems to have existed for several hundred years until it was finally absorbed by the Jesuits in the 17th century… It is interesting to note that the Jesuits were suppressed by the Catholic Church, and this continued until their restoration in 1814. There is speculation that this may have been due to the influence of the absorbed Order of Sion? And there is evidence that the Order of Sion became the Priory of Sion after the cutting of the elm.

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