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The Ways of Opus Dei (according to Time)
Time Magazine ^ | April 24, 2006 | DAVID VAN BIEMA

Posted on 04/27/2006 9:34:54 AM PDT by NYer

In early March, Elizabeth Heil, an arts-administration graduate student at Columbia University, was watching previews in a movie theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side when she cracked up inappropriately. The trailer was for the movie The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard and scheduled to open May 19, and it featured a grim-faced fellow uttering Christ's name repeatedly and then--wham!--whaling away at his already bloodied back with an Inquisition-issue cat-o'-nine-tails. It was not an intentionally funny scene. But Heil, who was familiar with the book on which the movie is based, recognized the figure onscreen as the albino assassin Silas, a fanatical, murderous member of a bizarre Catholic group called Opus Dei, and couldn't suppress a giggle. She is a member of the actual Opus Dei. "This is so outlandish," she recalls thinking. "I wish we were that interesting."

The Da Vinci Code's Opus Dei--a powerful, ultraconservative Roman Catholic faction riddled with sadomasochistic ritual, one of whose members commits serial murder in pursuit of a church-threatening secret--is obviously not reflective of the real-life organization (although author Dan Brown's website states the portrayal was "based on numerous books written about Opus Dei as well as on my own personal interviews"). Yet in casting the group as his heavy, Brown was as shrewd as someone setting up an innocent man for a crime. You don't choose the head of the Rotary. You single out the secretive guy at the end of the block with the off-putting tics, who perhaps has a couple of incidents in his past that will hinder an effective defense. That's not Heil, but it's not a bad sketch of the organization to which she belongs.

In its 78 years, Opus Dei has been a rumor magnet. Successful and secretive, it has been accused of using lavish riches and carefully cultivated clout to do everything from propping up Francisco Franco's Spanish dictatorship to pushing through its founder's premature sainthood to planting conservative minions in governments from Warsaw to Washington. Brown's treatment of the group had seemed to represent an untoppable high-sewage mark--that is, until the movie trailer appeared. Says Juan Manuel Mora, director of Opus Dei's communications department in Rome: "Reading a print version is one thing. Seeing the color images is another."

Yet Mora and his colleagues have inaugurated a countertrend, in part by breaking their organization's historical silence. They spoke at length on record to John Allen, a respected print and television Vatican commentator, and offered him unprecedented access to Opus Dei records and personnel. In November he responded with Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church (Doubleday), probably the most informed and sympathetic treatment of the group ever penned by an outsider. Opus has since talked freely to other journalists, including TIME's.

But Opus' public relations offensive hasn't quite managed to close the gap between what critics say it is about and its own version of the story. On one side there is "Octopus Dei," or, as the current issue of Harper's magazine puts it, "to a great extent ... an authoritarian and semi-clandestine enterprise that manages to infiltrate its indoctrinated technocrats, politicos and administrators into the highest levels of the state." On the other is the portrait painted by Opus' U.S. vicar Thomas Bohlin, who sat for several hours with TIME at his group's Manhattan headquarters. Opus, he explained, is just a teaching entity, a kind of advanced school for Catholic spiritual formation with minimal global coordination or input as to how members and sympathizers apply what they learn. "You know Dale Carnegie courses?" he asked. "Businesses send their people there to learn to speak better, to organize--they teach all these kinds of things. People go there because they get something out of it, and then when they graduate, they don't represent Dale Carnegie."

James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit publication America who has written critically about Opus, offers a middle ground between Dale Carnegie and the octopus: "Opus Dei provides members with an overarching spirituality for their life," he suggests. "It's an ongoing relationship that helps buttress and further shape the thought of people who are already conservative Catholics. That's a powerful symbiosis, and there's a personal connection between members, whether they're housewives or politicians. It's not an evil empire, but that doesn't mean there aren't serious issues that need to be addressed."

A first journalistic pass, by Allen or TIME, cannot fully resolve all those issues. But it can answer some of the questions that have long dogged the organization, and it may also show how The Da Vinci Code could end up helping Opus Dei.

HOW DID IT START?

On Oct. 2, 1928, a 26-year-old Spanish priest named Josemaría Escrivá was visited by a new vision of Catholic spirituality: a movement of pious laypeople who would, by prayerful contemplation and the dedication of their labor to Christ, extend the holiness of church on Sunday into their everyday work life. Escrivá's title for the movement was a literal description--Opus Dei means "the work of God"--and his ambition was correspondingly large. He saw Opus eventually acting as "an intravenous injection [of holiness] in the bloodstream of society."

It was controversial almost from birth. Opus threatened the era's Catholic clericalism, which privileged priests, monks and nuns over the laity, and Escrivá was called a heretic. In the 1950s, several prominent Opus Dei members joined Franco's dictatorial but church-supportive regime in Spain, inaugurating speculation about the group's political leanings. The church's Second Vatican Council (1962-65) seemed to catch up with Escrivá's idea of lay activism--but his rigid adherence to Catholic teaching put his system at odds with liberals who accorded the laity a wide freedom of conscience. He himself was a polarizing figure, humble and grandiose, avuncular and ferocious. Opus grew slowly but steadily, remaining below the radar of most Catholics.

That all changed in 1982. Pope John Paul II, also a creative traditionalist interested in labor and faith, granted Escrivá's wish that Opus be a "personal prelature," a global quasi-diocese, able in some cases to leapfrog local archbishops and deal directly with Rome. Almost simultaneously the Pope publicly constricted the competing, more liberal Jesuit order. A perception that Opus' ecclesiastical power knew no limits peaked with Escrivá's 1992 beatification, a brief (for those days) 17 years after his death. Faultfinders, notes Allen, claimed that the judging panel had been packed and Escrivá's critics blackballed; they viewed his fast move toward sainthood as the muscle-flexing "ecclesiastical equivalent of [the Roman emperor] Caligula making his horse a senator." Allen sees the beatification as legitimate, as did 300,000 people who thronged Rome for Escrivá's 2002 canonization.

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

Opus Dei is not a kind of spiritual pick-me-up for casual Catholics. It features a small, committed membership (85,500 worldwide and a mere 3,000 in the U.S.), many of whom come from pious families and are prepared to embrace unpopular church teachings such as its birth-control ban. Members take part in a rigorous course of spiritual "formation" stressing church doctrine and contemplation plus Escrivá's philosophy of work and personal holiness. Opus' core is its "numeraries," the 20% who, despite remaining lay, pledge celibacy, live together in one of about 1,700 sex-segregated "centers" and extend their training to a degree rivaling a priest's--all while holding day jobs, with most of their pay devolving to the group. That near cloistered life produces the group's most avid, satisfied members and its bitterest dropouts. Opus steers a small number of members toward the priesthood, and they exert considerable influence on the lay majority.

Some 70% of the membership, called supernumeraries, are much more of this world. They bend Opus' daily two hours of religious observance around a more typical--or perhaps retro, given the large size of many of their families--existence. Opus' sureties provide a spiritual grounding to life's everyday chaos and ambiguities. While she was raising seven children in the anything-goes 1970s, says Cathy Hickey of Larchmont, N.Y., Opus gave her "an underlying stream of peace and joy." Members bring a pious concentration to jobs that might otherwise be done less ethically or carefully. Heil, the Columbia student, says Opus "helps your whole life melt into this 24/7 conversation with God."

HOW SECRETIVE IS OPUS?

For all its uniqueness in mission and structure, Opus Dei is best known for being secretive. It has a special set of greetings: "Pax" and "In aeternum" ("Peace" and "In eternity"). Its 1950 constitution barred members from revealing their membership without permission from the director of their center. In 1982 a new document repudiated "secrecy or clandestine activity," and Bohlin, the U.S. vicar, claims that the continuing impression is a misunderstanding based again on decentralization. "People [get Opus training] and go back to where they were," he says. "So we never march in a parade as a group because we don't form a group. And when people don't see us marching, they say, 'They must be secret.'"

Yet Opus will still not identify its members, and many prefer not to identify themselves. In England, in late 2004, the Labour government's Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, went months before confirming she had received "spiritual support" from Opus. (Her exact status remains unclear.) Nor, as Allen shows in his book, will Opus formally own up to many of its institutions. Its U.S. schools tend to go by bland names like the Heights or Northridge Prep. For years, he reports, the 17-story U.S. headquarters in New York, finished in 2001, lacked an identifying street-level sign. Allen counts 15 universities, seven hospitals, 11 business schools and 36 primary and secondary schools around the world as what Opus calls "corporate works," as opposed to personal deeds. It is justly proud of 97 vocational-technical schools worldwide, which deflate the myth that Opus serves only the rich. But very few of the schools and hospitals are legally owned by Opus, which admits only to providing "doctrinal and spiritual formation." It is a tribute to the persistence of Allen and his financial expert, Joseph Harris, that they determined that at least in the U.S., Opus proper enjoys a minimum of "dual control" over them by placing members on their boards.

HOW RICH IS IT?

The normal assumption about such indirectness would be that the group is hiding something, and filthy lucre is a staple of the Opus myth. Two rumors about its popularity with John Paul were that it funded the Solidarity trade union and helped bail out the Vatican bank after its 1982 scandal. Poverty is demonstrably not one of Opus' vows. It has a reputation for cultivating the rich or those soon to be, at both élite colleges and its own institutions. (In Latin America many in the church feel that Opus priests served once ascendant oligarchs over the masses.) Even in the inner city, Opus is unabashedly less interested in identifying with the poor than turning them into the middle class. Bohlin jokingly distinguishes his members from "some Franciscans with holes in their shoes, driving a crummy car because of their sense of the spirit of poverty."

On the basis of their study of IRS filings, Allen and Harris found $344.4 million in Opus assets in the U.S. and roughly estimate a global total of $2.8 billion. If correct, that sum approximates Duke University's endowment, yet is hardly Vatican bailout money. But those figures are only part of the picture. Opus members and its sympathizers, known as "cooperators," can be very generous, and their funds hard to track. Allen's research suggests that a most likely unexpected $60 million gift (a hefty portion of its total U.S. assets) financed much of the Manhattan building. Longlea, the group's Washington-area mansion, was donated by a couple who had just bought it for $7.4 million. Father Michael Barrett, an Opus Dei priest who pastors a chapel in Houston, recently raised $4.3 million for a new building and says, "I can assure you that cooperators and supernumeraries have given at the $100,000 level." That largesse, credited officially to the Galveston-Houston archdiocese, would not show up even on Allen's scrupulous balance sheet. Nor would similar Opus-generated funds.

HOW MUCH POWER DOES IT HAVE?

Some have said that Opus' true secret is its clout in international politics. Poland's new conservative regime includes an Opus minister and several Opus officials, according to one of the group's Warsaw directors; membership there is rumored to be a political stepping-stone. In Peru, Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani, the church's first openly Opus Dei Cardinal, was seen as having sanctioned antiterrorist excesses by the regime of former President Alberto Fujimori; he scoffed at the accusations, writing that most human-rights groups were "fronts for Marxist and Maoist political movements."

For years, Catholics in Washington have kept informal count of possible high-profile Opus people, including Justice Antonin Scalia and almost-Justice Robert Bork, Senators Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback, columnist Robert Novak and former FBI head Louis Freeh. The tally was not totally arbitrary: Freeh's child went to an Opus Dei school, and his brother was a numerary for a while; Scalia's wife has attended Opus events, and the Justice is close to an Opus priest; and Brownback, Bork and Novak converted to Catholicism under one's wing. Several have denied the rumors ("I can't stress enough that he is not a member," says Santorum's communications chief). But a bonus of Opus' new candor campaign is that it now states freely that not one of the powerful Washingtonians belongs.

The more complicated question is what influence Opus Dei exerts on nonmembers. Says Bohlin: "We generally avoid talking about anything political, so as not to come down on one side or the other." Then he pauses. "But when you're talking about abortion, that's not a political issue. That's a Catholic issue," he says. "There are certain issues that we take a clear stand with the church on, and many of them are hot-button issues." Of course, you don't have to be Opus to oppose abortion, euthanasia or gay marriage. But the prelature, with an office on the capital's lobbyist-laden K Street, can act as a kind of validator to a broader spectrum of traditionalists. Scott Appleby, a Catholic history expert at Notre Dame, estimates that through programs for nonmembers and the articulate piety of its members, Opus Dei informs "about a million conservative Catholics." That's just 1.5% of the 67 million Catholics nationally, but it's a trove of motivated voters a politician can love, and may explain why Santorum has spoken at Opus events, in one case quoting Escrivá: "'Have you ever bothered to think how absurd it is to leave one's Catholicism aside on entering a professional association [or] Congress, as if you were checking your hat at the door?'"

DO MEMBERS REALLY WHIP THEMSELVES?

The man doing penance advised his associate to cover his head with a blanket; but the observer could not stop his ears. "Soon," said the witness, "I began to hear the forceful blows of his discipline ... there were more than a thousand terrible blows, precisely timed. The floor was covered in blood." That is not an early Da Vinci Code draft. It is a description of Opus Dei founder Escrivá's routine by his eventual successor, quoted in a biography of Escrivá. Escrivá emphasized that others should not emulate his ferocity. But numeraries are expected, although not compelled, to wear a cilice, a small chain with inward-pointing spikes, around the upper thigh for two hours each day, and to flail themselves briefly weekly, with a small rope whip called a discipline.

With rare exceptions, even angry defectors don't cite self-mortification, as it's known, as their deal killer. Lucy, a former numerary assistant (see box, following page), told TIME it was "nothing. It's not like The Da Vinci Code." Catholic laity and luminaries, including Mother Teresa, have used it to identify with Christ's--and the world's--agony. San Antonio Archbishop José Gomez, an Opus member, notes self-mortification's tie to Opus' roots: "In the Hispanic culture," he says, "you look at the crucifixes, and they have a lot of blood. We are more used to sacrifice in the sense of physical suffering."

WHAT ABOUT RUMORS OF MIND CONTROL?

Self-mortification resonates with critics because, as Allen points out, it provides a metaphor for what they see as an "inhumane approach within Opus Dei, which demands a kind of dominance over its members, body and soul." Unnerving stories have been passed by ex-numeraries to journalists or posted to the anti-Opus website odan.org Many involve charges of deceptive recruiting, with prospective members unaware that the events they are invited to are Opus', of numeraries' realizing only belatedly that Opus expects them to sign away their paycheck and curtail relations with their families. The music they play and the publications they read are allegedly controlled, and they must report their own and others' deviations as part of a system of "fraternal correction." Center directors are portrayed as little dictators. Complaining to local bishops is futile because of Opus' semi-independent status. The critics claim that when the numeraries try to leave, they are threatened with damnation. Experts who have helped extract the disaffected have likened center life to a cult. And Martin, the America editor, contends that he gets "dozens" of calls yearly from parents saying the group has estranged or brainwashed their numerary children.

Opus responds that those who leave are a small minority, and Allen describes the mood around the many centers he visited as cheerful. Bohlin dismisses charges that prospective members are unaware of what to expect, pointing out that all go through an 18-month preparatory process. He says that in a group as loosely knit as he claims Opus to be, "you can't keep all the people happy all the time; you can't keep people from making mistakes." And he says the organization has mellowed. "I was running a center as a 25-year-old," Bohlin, now 51, notes. "At this point, we hopefully have more mature people. A green organization is different from one with more experience." To those who have been hurt, he says, "the only thing we can do is try to apologize and hope people understand, and you move on with your life." WHAT IS ITS FUTURE?

Prior to last year's Papal election, rumor held that Opus might end up brokering the conclave, but it turned out Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger did not need a broker. And the new Pope may be less concerned with aiding Opus than with strengthening the church's hierarchy. Nonetheless, Opus' second in command, Fernando Ocáriz, worked closely with Ratzinger on one of his last great conservative gestures as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Dominus Jesus, a reassertion of the primacy of Catholicism over other religions. Other members are "consultors" to that key office, and Opus' canon lawyers saturate Rome. Asserts John Navone, a Jesuit theologian at Gregorian University: "They're in the forefront of the Vatican."

Opus' future in the U.S. is more complicated. Recently, on the 16th floor of the New York headquarters, 40 men did a guided contemplation. Two-thirds were visitors, some "meeting the Work" for the first time. While they sat, eyes closed, an Opus member intoned questions for them to ponder. "Do I realize that Christian life means finding and following Christ closely, no matter what the cost?" he asked: "Am I waging a generous inner struggle?" "Do I find in my work many opportunities for small sacrifices?" "Do I restrain my curiosity?"

That last one is a particularly telling query. Restraint of curiosity is not a virtue much trumpeted in the West today. That may help explain both why Opus' membership levels appear to have remained static in the U.S. over the past few decades and, perhaps, why it has attracted so much negative energy. "I don't believe Opus Dei is either a [cult] or a mafia or a cabal," a senior prelate of another religious community in Rome told TIME. It is just that "their approach is preconciliar. They originated prior to the Second Vatican Council, and they don't want to dialogue with society as they find it." That would not describe the majority of self-identifying American Catholics, who are distinctly postconciliar, with more than 75% opposing the birth-control ban. Their sympathy for Opus Dei might be limited. Some might even feel hostile toward it: church liberals, once riding high, have understood for decades that Rome does not incline their way. They feel abandoned, says Allen, "and whenever you feel that way, there's a natural desire to find someone to blame."

If that is the case--if much of the negative feeling regarding Opus at this point is displaced anger over the direction of the church--then The Da Vinci Code may be the best fate that could befall it. The movie will not deter Opus' usual constituency--conservative Catholics do not look to Ron Howard for guidance. But by forcing Opus into greater transparency, the film could aid it: if the organization is as harmless and "mature" as Bohlin contends, then such exposure could bring in a bumper crop of devotees--with perhaps even more to come if, as seems likely, American Catholicism becomes both more Hispanic and more conservative.

That is the kind of outcome Julian Cardinal Herranz, Opus' ranking Vatican official, expects. Long ago, he says, when he was editing a university newspaper, someone submitted a story claiming that Opus Dei was part of a worldwide conspiracy. Fascinated, Herranz began talking to Opus members, eventually becoming one himself. "That article I read was fiction," he says. "And now I'm here. I became a priest, I came to Rome, I became a bishop, and now a Cardinal. All because I read a fictional story about Opus Dei."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; danbrown; davincicode; opusdei; vatican

1 posted on 04/27/2006 9:34:58 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
And from Carl Olson

The most recent edition of TIME — which is apparently some sort of news magazine — features a dramatic cover with a big headline, "The Opus Dei Code", and an article claiming to tell "the real story" about "the secret Catholic society." Since I'm not a member of Opus Dei (nor am an albino monk, but that's another matter), I'll leave it to others to get into the details of the article. I simply wanted to note a couple of things that caught my attention in reading it. First, I got a good laugh out of this paragraph:

James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit publication America who has written critically about Opus, offers a middle ground between Dale Carnegie and the octopus: "Opus Dei provides members with an overarching spirituality for their life," he suggests. "It's an ongoing relationship that helps buttress and further shape the thought of people who are already conservative Catholics. That's a powerful symbiosis, and there's a personal connection between members, whether they're housewives or politicians. It's not an evil empire, but that doesn't mean there aren't serious issues that need to be addressed."

Hey, come to think of it, that last phrase could be applied to America magazine as well: "It's not an evil empire, but that doesn't mean there aren't serious issues that need to be addressed."

Second, the authors of the piece seem to be fixated on certain words. The word "secret/secretive" appears ten times. The word "conservative" appears eight times (the word "liberal" is used four times). And then there are statements like this:

Opus Dei is not a kind of spiritual pick-me-up for casual Catholics. It features a small, committed membership (85,500 worldwide and a mere 3,000 in the U.S.), many of whom come from pious families and are prepared to embrace unpopular church teachings such as its birth-control ban.

Unpopular among whom (other than TIME reporters, I mean)? The answer is given a bit later:

"I don't believe Opus Dei is either a [cult] or a mafia or a cabal," a senior prelate of another religious community in Rome told TIME. It is just that "their approach is preconciliar. They originated prior to the Second Vatican Council, and they don't want to dialogue with society as they find it." That would not describe the majority of self-identifying American Catholics, who are distinctly postconciliar, with more than 75% opposing the birth-control ban. Their sympathy for Opus Dei might be limited. Some might even feel hostile toward it: church liberals, once riding high, have understood for decades that Rome does not incline their way. They feel abandoned, says Allen, "and whenever you feel that way, there's a natural desire to find someone to blame."

Oh, those good ol' "self-identifying American Catholics," who must identify themselves because in many cases you wouldn't know they were Catholic by how they talked and lived. As for "dialogue" with society, there is copious evidence that the "preconciliar" (what? the Church has had only one Council in its entire history? amazing!) Church had plenty of dialogue with society — but did so with the intent of proclaiming the Gospel and the Truth, not capitulating on matters of faith and morals, as some "American Catholics" have been doing for the past few decades. Come to think of it, a couple of recent popes have also pointed out that true dialogue does not equal indifferentism. Wonder if they knew/know anything about the Second Vatican Council? Well, if there's any question about that matter, I'm sure TIME magazine can set the record straight in a future issue.

Catholic Ping - Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


2 posted on 04/27/2006 9:37:13 AM PDT by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: Victoria Delsoul

Interesting ping.


3 posted on 04/27/2006 9:53:44 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: NYer

Wait until they find out about Cestus Dei.


4 posted on 04/27/2006 9:54:48 AM PDT by Waverunner
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To: Waverunner

My Latin is rusty: Cestus Dei?


5 posted on 04/27/2006 10:02:43 AM PDT by Terabitten (The only time you can have too much ammunition is when you're swimming.)
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To: NYer

Interesting.


6 posted on 04/27/2006 10:05:05 AM PDT by TAdams8591
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To: NYer
it has been accused of using lavish riches and carefully cultivated clout to do everything from propping up Francisco Franco's Spanish dictatorship

Accused? Should say "credited".

7 posted on 04/27/2006 10:13:11 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: NYer
Here is what I want to know:

Why is it that the media thinks that an organization that was founded less than 80 years ago is somehow involved in a cover-up that a NOVEL says happened 2000 years ago?

They didn't do any "exposes" last year about whether or not Benjamin Franklin had put a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence when "National Treasure" came out.

The media is so eager to bash Christianity and especially Catholicism that they will use a work of FICTION to help them. If they want to do an expose of religious fanatics, why don't they go do a hit piece like this on Islam.

8 posted on 04/27/2006 10:16:07 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: NYer
Some might even feel hostile toward it: church liberals, once riding high, have understood for decades that Rome does not incline their way. They feel abandoned, says Allen, "and whenever you feel that way, there's a natural desire to find someone to blame."

Bingo.

That is the kind of outcome Julian Cardinal Herranz, Opus' ranking Vatican official, expects. Long ago, he says, when he was editing a university newspaper, someone submitted a story claiming that Opus Dei was part of a worldwide conspiracy. Fascinated, Herranz began talking to Opus members, eventually becoming one himself. "That article I read was fiction," he says. "And now I'm here. I became a priest, I came to Rome, I became a bishop, and now a Cardinal. All because I read a fictional story about Opus Dei."

Nice finish to the story.

9 posted on 04/27/2006 10:18:17 AM PDT by Nihil Obstat
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To: Terabitten

Cestus Dei
militant arm of the Church
in a book of the same name by John Maddox Roberts
Think combat jesuits


10 posted on 04/27/2006 10:21:10 AM PDT by Waverunner
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To: NYer
Good article bump.

I used to have a co-worker who is a member. He was an average Joe and was never in your face about it like a Chrisna would be.

He simply believes, like lots of people do, that the Catholic church had evolved to become to liberal.

Ironic that the Church of England was founded because the Catholic church was to strict.
11 posted on 04/27/2006 10:21:34 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: HEY4QDEMS

The penduluum swings, even in matters of faith :-)


12 posted on 04/27/2006 10:24:45 AM PDT by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: HEY4QDEMS
"Ironic that the Church of England was founded because the Catholic church was too strict."

Mainly in the matter of bigamy.

13 posted on 04/27/2006 10:27:30 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (I need more Humanae in my Viitae.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Mainly in the matter of bigamy.

How true, imagine if the CC handed out annulments back then like they do today. There probably wouldn't be a C of E.
14 posted on 04/27/2006 10:35:30 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: NYer

Executive summary: People who don't accept Catholic Faith and morals disapprove of a group that does. Women and minorities hardest hit!


15 posted on 04/27/2006 11:28:43 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Dump the 1967 Outer Space Treaty! I'll weigh 50% less on Mars!)
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To: NYer

I have uncovered "THE WOOFIE CODE"

DOG spelled backwards is GOD


Dont tell anyone


16 posted on 04/27/2006 11:32:21 AM PDT by woofie (Go after "Small Oil")
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To: HEY4QDEMS

It would have been immensely convenient and "politic" for Pope Clement VII to accede to the English King's vehement desire to put away his wife Catherine. Henry could have made it very profitable to him. England might still be Catholic! Protestantism may have spluttered out on the Continent! Thomas More and John Fisher would have died of old age!

All it would have taken is the dishonoring and humiliation of one ageing, infertile, loyal but unloved wife.

And Clement was a Pope who did not always ---ahem--- act on principle.

But this time he did. And the result? Catastophic. It sparked a conflagration that cost the lives of uncountable people; wrecked Europe; and cost the Catholic Church far more dearly than any other institution.

No good deed ever goes unpunished, as they say.

But the story isn't over. And we will all see how it works out in the end.


17 posted on 04/27/2006 12:08:39 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (I need more Humanae in my Viitae.)
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To: NYer
But Opus' public relations offensive hasn't quite managed to close the gap between what critics say it is about and its own version of the story

Of course it won't because Opus Dei's CRITICS will always find something to criticize!

18 posted on 04/27/2006 1:35:00 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Wasn't Catherine a member of the Spanish royal house? They were quite powerful and not to be annoyed.


19 posted on 04/27/2006 2:01:56 PM PDT by conejo99
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To: conejo99

Catherine was the youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Span, and the aunt of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. She was a gracious, cheerful, charitable, and deeply religious woman, like her husband fond of music and dancing, literate in three languages (English, Spanish, and Latin), popular with the English people, and utterly devoted to her husband, Henry VIII.

None of this helped her when Henry decided he wanted Anne Boleyn. Henry humiliated Catherine in public, forcibly separated her from their little daughter Princess Mary (whom he officially declared to be a bastard), and locked her up in an isolated, cold, damp place called Kimbolton where he hoped she'd get sick and die: which she did, two years after the divorce.

All of Henry's wives were most unfortunate (he killed two of the six), but I feel sorriest for Catherine because she was good-hearted, and because she really loved him.


20 posted on 04/27/2006 2:51:39 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (The past isn't dead; it isn't even past. --- William Faulkner)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

But this time he did. And the result? Catastophic. It sparked a conflagration that cost the lives of uncountable people; wrecked Europe; and cost the Catholic Church far more dearly than any other institution.

Wrecked or liberated Europe ? You dio realize most of the Founding fathers were Anglican ?


21 posted on 04/27/2006 4:23:08 PM PDT by newfarm4000n (God Bless America and God Bless Freedom)
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To: newfarm4000n
Wrecked or liberated Europe ?

The two are not necessarily contradictory. Sometimes a conflagration is what is needed to clear out the dead, choking growth and leave room for new growth. The Thirty Years War devastated central and northern Europe, but it also broke the back of chattel serfdom and allowed the rise of mercantileism that a similar depopulation by the Black Death started.

22 posted on 04/27/2006 5:06:38 PM PDT by LexBaird (Tyrannosaurus Lex, unapologetic carnivore)
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To: LexBaird

Good point .


23 posted on 04/27/2006 5:12:02 PM PDT by newfarm4000n (God Bless America and God Bless Freedom)
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To: Waverunner
Wait until they find out about Cestus Dei...Think combat jesuits

that will be the mother of all hissy fit witch hunts.

24 posted on 04/27/2006 5:26:36 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (delenda est Mecca)
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To: newfarm4000n
"Wrecked or liberated Europe? You dio realize most of the Founding fathers were Anglican?"

So? The Anglicans insisted that the King or Queen was the head of the Church in England. A total conflation of spiritual and temporal power. A potent recipe for totalitarianism. The Founding Fathers broke with all that. That's the one big thing for which I give them credit.

25 posted on 04/27/2006 7:09:37 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (The past isn't dead; it isn't even past. --- William Faulkner)
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To: NYer

Our Archbishop here in San Antonio, Jose Gomez, is a member of Opus Dei. He's conservative, he's traditional and he's exactly what the Archdiocese needed after two and a half decades of the wonderful (but liberal) Archbishop Patrick Flores.

Archbishop Gomez is reigning in out of control "pastoral assistants" and wayward music ministers. He's speaking to a large population of Catholics neglected by years of liberal leadership.

Is he a threat to Catholics? Only if you're a liberal nutcase. He's merely living and leading the traditional (and still current) precepts of our Church.

Here's one of his wonderful homilies:

To grow in love to Mary, our Blessed Mother

May is a special month for all Catholics. It is a good time to think of our relationship with Mary, a time to grow in our love for her as the Mother of Jesus and our Mother.

“The most important aspect of the figure of Mary is her intimate union with Jesus as mother. Jesus’ humanity is entirely from Mary. She gave her son her mother’s heart, surrounding him with love, care and respect. Mary brought Jesus up by her work, her motherly devotion and her commitment to protect him. She educated him with her life, which was poor and serene, industrious and simple, chaste and full of maternal love. She brought him up by her trust in the Father and her willingness to help the needy.” (cf. Jesus Christ, Word of God, p. 147)

They lived a normal life, including joys and sorrows, as a simple family in Nazareth. Mary not only educated her divine son, but was also educated by him in a mysterious way. As we can see, Mary lived her life totally for Jesus. It was her faith in and commitment to Jesus that gave her life meaning. It is in that complete dedication that Mary, our Mother, is a model to us. She takes care of our needs and she takes us to Jesus, her divine son.

Mary’s only desire is to do God’s will, even if it includes suffering and pain. She’s there at the wedding feast of Cana, following Jesus through the roads and alleys of Galilee and Judea, somehow at the Last Supper and at the foot of the Cross. Always doing God’s will; and now she is sharing his glory! As Pope Benedict XVI said in his first encyclical (Deus Caritas Est, 41), “Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself. She is lowly: her only desire is to be the handmaid of the Lord. She knows that she will only contri-bute to the salvation of the world if, rather than carrying out her own projects, she places herself completely at the disposal of God’s initiatives.”

We are also disciples of Jesus Christ, and we have an important mission in the church and in society which is also a way to give glory to God. In my recent pastoral letter, I wrote: ‘To grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus is to grow in knowledge of his teaching and way of life.’ As we do it, we should also feel compelled sharing the knowledge and love of Jesus with the people we encounter each day.

There are many ways to grow in the love to our Blessed Mother, but perhaps the most special way is by praying the most holy rosary — a most powerful weapon against evil.

The rosary is a beautiful prayer that we should never abandon or underestimate. It is not a kind of superstition, but a prayer that Our Lady has encouraged and that popes have prayed and encouraged others to pray for many centuries. “The rosary, as an exercise of Christian devotion, follows right after the Mass and the Breviary in importance; and for lay people, it follows in importance after participation in the sacraments.” (Pope John XXIII’s Apostolic Letter, On the Rosary)

The rosary, with its meditations on the faith, while a great prayer, is also a powerful teaching tool. The rosary is a true dialogue with Mary, our heavenly mother. In the rosary we speak to Mary and ask her intercession on our behalf before her son Jesus. In this way, we speak to God through Mary. It isn’t a question of repeating formulas so much as of speaking directly to another who, if you do not see with your physical eyes, can be seen with the eyes of faith.

We should resolve ourselves to praying the rosary frequently, daily if possible. We must make time to say to Our Lady the words she longs to hear. How can we say we love her if we do not find time to to say to her the things she wants to hear, that we know are pleasing to her?

If we really try to put ourselves into the 20 mysteries and contemplate the scene, we are practicing a rich, theological prayer in a relatively easy way. We are praying about the chief events in the history of salvation, from the conception of the Messiah up until the Resurrection and beyond to the Glorification of the Mother of God. This ensures that we not forget the life of Christ, for in the life of faith, forgetfulness can be fatal.

The month of May is a graced time to call to mind the mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to enter into them through our devout reliance on the mediation of the Mother of God. We devoutly recite the rosary in order to enter into contact with Mary, and to repeat the passion which makes Jesus familiar to us daily.

Let us pray to Mary so that through her intercession all nations may enjoy peace and love. And let us not forget to honor in a special way this Mother’s Day our mothers, both alive and deceased.

26 posted on 04/27/2006 7:40:21 PM PDT by AlaninSA (It's one nation under God -- brought to you by the Knights of Columbus)
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To: woofie
DOG spelled backwards is GOD

Opus Dei already knows this. Just look at this quote from the article: "Do I restrain my curiosity?"

Definitely not cat fanciers! ;-)

27 posted on 04/27/2006 8:21:26 PM PDT by uglybiker (Don't blame me. I didn't make you stupid.)
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To: NYer
Even in the inner city, Opus is unabashedly less interested in identifying with the poor than turning them into the middle class.

I would certainly hope so.

28 posted on 04/28/2006 6:00:07 AM PDT by Zack Nguyen
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To: uglybiker
"Do I restrain my curiosity?" ... That last one is a particularly telling query. Restraint of curiosity is not a virtue much trumpeted in the West today.

Not surprisingly, the journalist has equivocated using the least flattering meaning of "curiosity." In classic examinations of conscience, curiosity is a vice opposed to genuine learning. See Tommy Aquinas.

29 posted on 04/28/2006 11:16:18 AM PDT by Dumb_Ox (http://kevinjjones.blogspot.com)
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