Opus Dei controversy?


#1

Why is there such a swirl of controversy around Opus Dei as an organization?

I have much exposure to the church and still I know virtually nothing about this group.

My hunch is that it is a profoundly misunderstood group and it threatens the world (and all that it is selling).

Does anyone reading this belong to it?

Thank you and God bless you


#2

Opus Dei is mainly a lay Catholic group within the Church that tries to teach its members to center their everyday lives on Christ. In addition, OD members and cooperators receive regular formation in the faith and you would note that they are typically extremely faithful Catholics.

The group is bashed because it it completely faithful to Christ, the Pope, the Magisterium and to all of the teachings of the faith…and in this world that is unheard of.


#3

I’m not a member, but here is the Opus Dei website:

opusdei.org/index.php?w=32.

There’s alot of talk about Opus Dei because of The DaVinci Code. From what I understand, the book makes Opus Dei out to be some sort of secret Papal army or something. Its nothing of the sort.


#4

But exactly why is it so maligned?


#5

A friend of mine at my parish is a member. He asked me if I’d be interested in OD, however, the requirements for association are restrictive and very time consuming. I respect anyone who can devote that much time to the organization, whether it making mass every day or through carrying out good works for others, as so many OD members reportedly do. With a wife and young family, as well as the other demands that life presents, it is quite a challenging endeavor.

I actually saw a television show on A&E (I believe), or the Discovery Time Channel called “Myth of the DaVinci Code” or something like that, in which they totally pick apart the outrageous plot of the movie. They even interview one of the individuals whose ideas Dan Brown based his novel on. For example, the Priory of Scion does not exist, and were just words made up by a guy in the 1970’s.

In terms of the attack on Opus Dei, I think it was an easy target since so few people belong to the organization and know so little about it. For all we know, they could have targeted the Knights of Columbus!!!


#6

gmmartin,

Ever think about being a cooperator?


#7

To be honest, I never even considered that option.


#8

gmmartin,

I am a cooperator and I have a family…it is something to give serious thought to.


#9

In terms of location, I am near Chicago, and I understand (or have been of the understanding) that OD, and presumably Coopoerators of OD, have a significant presence compared to other major metropolitan areas.


#10

There are many reasons, some of these may not be true, alot are from a book I read:

One reason is due to the attiutde to their founder, some say that they treat him as a more important figure than the pope himself; apparently once an Opus Dei organisation/ group asked the vatican if they could celebrate easter later, due to the fact that the founder (Saint Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer) had an anniversery - could have been his birth.

Another reason is due to the old practices some of the members still do, such as sprinkling holy water on the bed before sleeping in it and also the discipline (the minority do this).

One reason was due to the beatifcation and cannonization of Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer. Two popes before JP2 had denied this honour, however JP2 did not deny it.

Some also say that it is because of the title the organisation holds - Personal Prelature. This group is answerable to nobody (except maybe the pope) it is the only organisation to ever have been given the rank. As well as this some say that they should not hold the rank as it was designed for missionaries in far out places that could not be contacted, not a world organisation. Opus dei members are answerable to very few, if they are in a diocese by a non opus dei bishop, then that bishop has no jursidiction over them.

Also the way that members are treated. There are many super numeraries of the group that donate entire salaries to the organisation, this is one way that Opus Dei were able to get the vatican bank out of the blue years back. Also women and men have to use diffenerent entrances to Opus Dei buildings.

What is more the secrecy of the organistaion is what causes some suspision, it is quite hard to become a member, and often you have to be approached by an existing member and asked to join.

There is also the nature of Jose Maria’s guide book, ‘Il Camino’ it has some strange philosophy in it like:

“Stay quite and you shall never regret it, speak and you often will”

Whats more the book containing all the information about Opus Dei, was forced by the pope to be produced (opus dei didn’t want to make it) it had to be given to every bishop that had opus dei parishoners in their diocese, it was often personally handed over, opus dei were very careful to make sure nobody else got it.

I am sure that these points will not apply in every Opus Dei place, and that the group is genuinely an organisation of love and God’s word. I think that there are some Opus Dei members on the forum?


#11

A friend of mine is convinced that members of Opus Dei regularly ‘beat themselves’ (hitting themselves with canes, rods, etc. across their backs) and offer their suffering up. I know nothing about Opus Dei but told her this sounded ridiculous. Anyone heard this one? She said she read it in a ‘reputable book’ but couldn’t remember it’s name (she is just now getting into the Da Vinci Code book…)


#12

A friend of mine is convinced that members of Opus Dei regularly ‘beat themselves’ (hitting themselves with canes, rods, etc. across their backs) and offer their suffering up. I know nothing about Opus Dei but told her this sounded ridiculous. Anyone heard this one? She said she read it in a ‘reputable book’ but couldn’t remember it’s name (she is just now getting into the Da Vinci Code book…)

Yeah thats what the discipline was, it was said that the founder often beat himself so hard that the walls of his bathroom were covered with blood. Also there are some tales about the cilice, the barbed wire worn around the leg.

P.S. my sources are legitimate and fair.


#13

[quote=Elzee]A friend of mine is convinced that members of Opus Dei regularly ‘beat themselves’ (hitting themselves with canes, rods, etc. across their backs) and offer their suffering up. I know nothing about Opus Dei but told her this sounded ridiculous. Anyone heard this one? She said she read it in a ‘reputable book’ but couldn’t remember it’s name (she is just now getting into the Da Vinci Code book…)
[/quote]

I know that we strike our breast, during the “Mea Culpa” for reasons that are are similar … many saints have used this self humility to bring themselves closer towards God.

Libero, I have never known which planet you are coming from … you are following in your previous footsteps and not surprising me at all, I will pray for you!


#14

Libero, I have never known which planet you are coming from … you are following in your previous footsteps and not surprising me at all, I will pray for you!

What’s that meant to mean?

I am repeating documented stuff from books:

Opus Dei (Michael Walsh)
Beyond the Threshold (Maria del Carmen Tapia) - personal secretary of Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer.

what is following in previous footsteps meaning? I don’t remeber ever having come across you.


#15

The Da Vinci Code makes it appear that Opus Dei members practice bloody mortifications (e.g., pp. 12, 14, 29, 31, 73, 89, 127-28, 195, 276-79, 293). In fact, though history indicates that some Catholic saints have done so, Opus Dei members do not do this.

Throughout The Da Vinci Code, Opus Dei members are presented as monks (or, rather, caricatures of monks). Like all Catholics, Opus Dei members have great appreciation for monks, but in fact there are no monks in Opus Dei. Opus Dei is a Catholic institution for lay people and diocesan priests, not a monastic order.

The Da Vinci Code says that Opus Dei was made a personal prelature as a reward for “bailing out” the Vatican bank (pp. 40-41, 415-416).
Neither Opus Dei nor any of its members helped “bail out” the Vatican bank. The Church’s authorities made Opus Dei a personal prelature in 1982 because they recognized that this new canonical category was a good fit for Opus Dei’s mission and structure.
In any event, the personal prelature status is nothing special: it is simply one of several canonical categories the Church has for designating an institution that carries out special pastoral activities. In contrast to the implication given by the book, personal prelature status in no way implies some special favor of the Pope or that Opus Dei members are not under the authority of their local bishops.

The Da Vinci Code suggests that the Church bent its canonization rules to put Opus Dei’s founder on the “fast track” to being named a saint (pp. 40-41).
The canonization of St. Josemaría Escrivá in 2002 came 27 years after his death (not 20, as the book says). It was one of the first to be processed after the 1983 Code of Canon Law streamlined the procedures for canonization, and so it moved more quickly than was typical before. Mother Teresa is on pace to be canonized even more quickly, having been beatified just 6 years after her death (Escrivá was beatified in 17 years). Even under the old procedures, the canonization of St. Therése of Lisieux made it through the process in 27 years, roughly the same as Escrivá’s.

:slight_smile:


#16

The Da Vinci code did treat Opus Dei unfairly, they implied a load of unfair stuff, perhaps my main dislike of the book; I mean how was Opus Dei supposed to counter without appearing feeble and stupid?


#17

Josiecoe,

I’m a member and I’ve never quite figured out the contraversy, either. The basic message of Opus Dei is: Pray, sanctify your work, pray some more, keep keep sanctifying your work, take good care of your family, pray, try to lead your friends closer to God, keep sanctifying your work, and oh yeah-- did I mention PRAY AND SANCTIFY YOUR WORK??? :slight_smile:

The depiction of Opus Dei in the Da Vinci Code was just beyond bizarre. I actually laughed in parts, because Brown’s description was so strange and had no basis in reality. It was pretty clear to me, reading the book, that he’d never actually been inside a center of the work, or met an actual member. Or perhaps he did and just decided to make up stuff anyway, I don’t know.

My best guess as to the contraversy: among secular-minded folk, anyone who takes their faith THAT seriously, to the extent of giving up marriage (the numeraries and associates) or not embracing the contraceptive mentality and being open to a large family (supernumeraries) must, by definition, be some kind of a religious nut. So to non-Catholics, and Catholics of a more “cafeteria” mentality, we’re just nuts, or worse.

Among conservative-minded folk, it gets a bit trickier. Most “orthodox” Catholics are generally just fine with Opus Dei, even if it isn’t their cup of tea. But I’ve met some that have issues with it, and their objections have revolved around:
[list]
*]the universal call to holiness (versus the older-school mentality that anybody who really wants to be a saint needs to join a convent or monastery
*]an intense prayer and sacramental life (which some feel is just not compatible with marriage and family life, and is probably related to the point previously mentioned)
*]not engaging in criticism of priests or bishops (which is, sadly, a blood sport among some “orthodox” Cathollics, but not very many, thankfully)
*]usage of the Novus Ordo Mass (which is actually quite lovely when celebrated according to the rubrics, but still bothers those who have an affinity for the Tridentine )
[/list]Those are the biggies, anyway. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of anything right now, and I need to go pick up my kindergartener.

Best,
Margaret


#18

and i’ve read most of the writing of the founder on his site…

escrivaworks.org/

and i’ve not seen anything that seemed to differ from
the teaching i have been used to… in fact, one of the
most visible teachings he espouoses is obedience to
church law and the Holy Father…

second is probably respect for the clergy…

i really respect his writings, and enjoyed reading them…

:slight_smile:


#19

nd i’ve read most of the writing of the founder on his site…

escrivaworks.org/

and i’ve not seen anything that seemed to differ from
the teaching i have been used to… in fact, one of the
most visible teachings he espouoses is obedience to
church law and the Holy Father…

second is probably respect for the clergy…

i really respect his writings, and enjoyed reading them…

Phatmass have used that site alot, that is how I came across it :slight_smile:


#20

[quote=Libero]Phatmass have used that site alot, that is how I came across it :slight_smile:
[/quote]

i think one of my favorite passages is from The Way

Mortification: 204
Many who would willingly let themselves be nailed to a Cross before the astonished gaze of a thousand onlookers cannot bear with a christian spirit the pinpricks of each day! Think, then, which is the more heroic.

:slight_smile:


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