The last century saw many changes in the Catholic Church. One such change was the granting of Personal Prelature status on Opus Dei, which is a sect within the Catholic Institutional structure, created by Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer in 1928.
“In 1982, Opus Dei was established as a ‘Personal Prelature’ by Pope John Paul II. The term ‘Personal’ means that membership of Opus Dei is not linked to territory (as is the case in a diocese, for instance.) ‘Prelature’ means that the head of Opus Dei is a ‘Prelate’ appointed by the Pope.
The Vatican Yearbook indicates that Opus Dei includes about 1,800 priests. The remainder of the 85,000 members are laypersons. Approximately a quarter of Opus Dei’s members are “numeraries,” who have committed themselves to celibacy in order to be more available for the organization’s activities.
The majority of the lay members are “supernumeraries,” who are involved in Opus Dei’s activities but do not make a commitment of celibacy. Opus Dei additionally has many “cooperators,” who assist its activities through prayer, donations, or other means”. http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Opus_Dei
The election of Pope John Paul II resulted in the installation of many Opus affiliates within the hierarchical structure of the Vatican. The canonization of Escriva solidified the sect’s legitimacy. There is confusion about Opus Dei since traditionally, the Catholic Church always condemned Secret Societies.
A website question asked what the Church’s official position is on Opus Dei as late as 2007. The answer given by a Fr. Michael reflects the opinion of many Catholics:
” Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, anticipated and developed 30 years before Vatican II a revolutionary, new, secular theology of the laity, and accepted the principle of pluralism and indifferentism: a NovusOrdo Seclorum. In 1982 John Paul II created this group as a “personal prelature.”
Suspiciously, this act occurred in the same year that the wealthy sect allegedly transferred almost $1,000,000,000 into the Vatican Bank, bailing it out of an embarrassing bankruptcy. In a second maneuver that raised eyebrows, the pope placed the founder of Opus Dei on the “fast track” for New Order sainthood, accelerating an often centuries-long waiting-period for canonization to a mere twenty years.
Opus Deistas are part of the New Order Church. Opus Dei is a chameleon organization, being liberal or conservative, whichever benefits its agenda.
Juan Estruch in his book, Saints and Schemers described this as “dual ethics.”
Michael Walsh, in his book, “Opus Dei: An Investigation into the Secret Society Struggling For Power Within the Roman Catholic Church,” has also written in detail about the inner workings of Opus Dei.”
Opus Dei vehemently denies bailing out the Vatican Bank due to the scandal however, murder and intrigue continue to surround Opus Dei and its members. In 2006 we read…
“The men — financial consultant Filippo Botteri, computer expert EmilioToscani and workman Marco Baldi — were charged with kidnapping banker Gianmario Roveraro, 70, as he was going home from an Opus Dei meeting July 5, and later killing and dismembering him.”.
An Opus Dei member, “former FBI Agent Robert Hanssen, was the worst of any American spy.
What is so curious is Hanssen’s marked religious piety and devotion to his wife and family and conversely, his obsession with pornography and traitorous acts on behalf of Soviet Russia.. Hanssen’s one-word explanation for his treason, according to an FBI affidavit, was “loyalty.” It may well be that his loyalty — to Opus Dei and, by extension, the Foreign Service of the Vatican State — hold the key to the mystery.
Hanssen “was a regular parishioner of St. Catherine of Sienna Church, in a Virginia suburb of the capital, where an elite congregation, which includes Supreme Court justice Anton Scalia, attend traditional Latin masses.”
Besides Robert Hannsen, another prominent Opus Dei member was the late Paul Weyrich, a Reagan Insider who accompanied Reagan for the 1987 Moscow Economic summit prior to the alleged “fall’ of Communism and the USSR. He was a friend of the communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
“In the early days, he (Paul Weyrich) was a pioneer of the new right,” recalled Brent Bozell. longtime friend of Weyrich.Weyrich is credited with coining the term “Moral Majority” and for encouraging conservative pastors, many of whom had avoided partisan politics, to become more active in the public arena.”
Weyrich founded the Washington D.C. -based think tank, Heritage Foundation, and the Committee for the Survival of Free Congress” on behalf of the Rockefellers.
Lech Walesa, the Solidarity union leader who had cooperated with John Paul II to weaken the Communist regime in Poland attended the canonization of Escrivá in 2002.
Walesa said, “At last we have a saint for the workers.”
This homage reflected Walesa’s debt to Opus Dei. From 1980 onward, the Vatican, Opus Dei, and the CIA passed funds, intelligence, and supplies across the Iron Curtain to Solidarity, the anti-communist union that Walesa headed.
In 2005, Walesa told the Polish parliament that Solidarity had paved the way for globalization: “Irrespective of today’s judgment and the price we had to pay in this generation, we were able to close an epoch of divisions, different blocs and borders, opening the way for an era of globalization.”
In reply, “Poland’s President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former communist, said Walesa and other Solidarity leaders deserved the gratitude of all Poles for ushering in the democracy that led to Poland becoming a NATO and European Union member.”
In payment for their role in the demise of the USSR, Opus Dei has been allowed to establish a presence in Russia. This is something the Eastern Catholic Rites have found nearly impossible due to objections from the Russian Orthodox Church. But not so for Opus Dei.
Along with the political revelations of the events that allegedly “brought down” the USSR, recent reports suggest Pope John Paul II himself was an Opus Dei member.
The sect has been widely criticized for being a cult. According to the BBC,
“Opus Dei has come under fire for the dubious nature of their recruiting techniques – indeed, most denominations welcome new members, but it has been claimed that you have to be invited to Opus Dei, and that it is difficult for members to leave”
Former members have been coming forward as well as those adversely impacted by Opus Dei.”
“…former member, Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, believes that Opus Dei has a covert agenda to its activities. He was a member for 22 years, joining in 1969, and was one of those closest to its founder. The group’s overall aim is to recruit, he said. “Covertly it’s to have something to which you attract leading scientists and persuade them to join. But it’s hard to know who belongs and who doesn’t because they’re encouraged not to tell you. You don’t know what they’re up to.”
“When you meet people who, as a result of Opus Dei, give up religion and don’t want funeral prayers to be said, then that matters.”
He said he was saddened, rather than bitter, about the group. “When Christianity and fascism embrace you get Opus Dei. It was born in a time of fascism. They don’t teach respect and love for others.”
In a book about Véronique Duborgel, a 44-year old kindergarten teacher and former Opus Dei supernumerary, Susan Bell of the Telegraph (Britain), “describes techniques of psychological isolation similar to those sometimes used by sects, and claims that Opus Dei intrudes into the most intimate areas of members’ private lives, encourages them to inform on each other and drains their financial resources…she was instructed not to tell family or friends that she was a member of Opus Dei.”
A web site has been started in Brazil by former members who wish to expose the true character of Opus Dei.