In this exclusive
English translation of an article appearing in Le Sel de la
Terre (No. 11), Nicolas Dehan probes the organization referred
to as Opus Dei and its beatified founder, Josemaria Escriva de
This dossier concludes with a response from the Opus
Dei, Mr. Dehan’s counter-response, and a commentary regarding the
approbation of Opus Dei by the Catholic Church.
On May 17, 1992, a
grandiose ceremony in St. Peter’s Square in Rome revealed to,
and thrust upon the world a man’s name and that of his work,
both up until then relatively unknown to the general public.
In the presence of 46
cardinals, 300 bishops and 300,000 pilgrims, John Paul II
celebrated the Mass of beatification of Josemarie Escriva de
Balaguer, founder of the Opus Dei.
For over sixty years,
"God’s Work" has labored very discreetly, so much so that some
of its opponents - and it does have some - have defined it as
Josemaria Escriva, who
died in 1975, hurtled over the various stages of the
beatification process and was pushed up to the altar with
amazing speed: 17 years. Certainly, the media seized upon this
sensational aspect of the event, so rarely seen in Church
history. For instance, think of the time it took - 170 years - to define the heroic virtue of an authentic popular apostle
like Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort.
Thus, logic based on
Church history prompts attempting to discover a reason
justifying the urgency surrounding the introduction of Msgr.
Escriva’s beatification process, and its acceleration. His
cause was opened in 1981, six years after his death.
During the years of the
process, the Opus Dei, which has no media antennae of
its own, and conforming to its principle of discretion,
reached its affiliates in the intellectual and professional
classes through an annual Information Bulletin,
addressed to select cadres. This private publication exalted
the Spanish priest’s deep interior life and his apostolate; it
reviewed and commented on his written and social work; it
informed readers of the progress of his cause in the Roman
Curia; and gave a brief overview of the Opus Dei’s
expressions and its international activities. Although not
much, this was enough to get and keep the attention of the
Bulletin’s readers, who might be curious about, or
interested in, restoring the social order upon spiritual
foundations. Nothing written in this publication, a priori,
arouses any suspicion of an orientation deviating from the
traditional teaching of the Church. Thus, the reader faithful
to Church teaching remains trusting.
The same Bulletin
also serves as a remembrance for those who knew the apostolate
and work, some decades ago, of another Spanish priest, Rev.
Information on the
Opus Dei leads to comparing the two works, as well to
deducing two facts:
- an obvious similarity in style of
apostolate of Rev. Fr. Vallet’s work, founded in 1922, and
that of Fr. Escriva in 1928.
- a coincidence of the dates of the
suppression of Fr. Vallet’s work, his expulsion from Spain
at the hierarchy’s order, and the birth of Fr. Escriva’s
work only a few weeks later during the same year, and
supported by the same hierarchy.
The grand silence
maintained by the Church on the missionary and social work of
Jesuit Fr. Francois de Paule Vallet and, over these many
years, the great amount of discretion enveloping Fr. Josemaria
Escriva’s work, is enough to whet the curiosity, to incite
lifting the veil by investigating all documentation on these
works. Let us begin with what the Conciliar Church today
Side bar: Who was Fr. Vallet?
In the 1920’s,
the Jesuit priest, Fr. Francois de Paule Vallet
having discovered the power of conversion possible
through the 30-day Ignatian Exercises,
made them available to more people, especially laity,
by condensing them into a 5-day format.
In 1928, Fr.
Vallet founded the Parochial Co-operators of Christ
the King with the express purpose of presenting this
abbreviated form of the Exercises to laity, who for
reasons of time, money, and physical and mental
capacity found the 30-day regimen too difficult. The
5-day retreat was an "adaptation to modern man"
while still preserving the masterpieces of the
original 30-day format.
Cooperators’ apostolate went international, and in
France and Spain spawned "La Cite Catholique,"
a network of lay cells in France and Spain which
studied Catholic doctrine and worked practically to
restore Christ as King over society. (Some 5,000
former retreatants died fighting for a Catholic Spain
against the Communists in the Spanish Civil War,
1936-39). Edited from the
The history of the
Opus Dei has been investigated for several Spanish,
Italian, German and French studies. We shall begin our
investigation with the first French work aimed at the
public, written by an Opus Dei member, recommended
by its Information Bulletin, and titled The Opus
Dei. The author, Dominique Le Tourneau,
who has a Ph.D. in canon law and a degree in economics,
paints a 120-page, complimentary portrait of the Founder
and an idealized exposé of the spirituality of The Work.
It is an account without warts of the Opus Dei’s
work and its ensuing fruits. The book was given the
Nihil obstat and Imprimatur of the Archdiocese
The first chapter is
devoted to the background and life of Josemaria Escriva,
the founder: born in 1902 in Barbastro (Aragon, Spain), he
is revealed as having been a precociously pious, as well
as a sweet and generous person who, at sixteen, abandoned
the idea of becoming an architect to enter the seminary.
In 1922, the Archbishop of Zaragoza, Spain, named him
superior of the seminary; he was 20 years old. At 23, he
was ordained a priest. In 1927, in Madrid, he prepared for
a doctorate in civil law, all the while plunging himself
into intense, charitable work among the sick, the poor,
and abandoned children. While on retreat in 1928,
"saw" - that is the term he later used - what God
expected of him. He saw that Our Lord was asking
him to devote all of his energy to accomplishing what
was to become Opus Dei, to urge men in all works
of life —beginning with university people so as
afterwards they could reach all men - to respond to a
specific vocation to seek holiness and carry out apostolates in the world’s midst, through the exercise
of their profession or skills, without any change in
Side bar: He
"saw" Opus Dei
But what did
God want? On October 2, 1928, he (Msgr. Escriva - Ed.)
was pondering that question as he’d often done,
while making a retreat in Madrid. Suddenly, while
bells pealed in the nearby church of Our Lady of
the Angels, it became clear: God made him see
(emphasis in original - Ed.) Opus Dei.
institution which, as he put it, was to
"tell men and women of every
country and of every condition, race, language,
milieu, and state of life...that they can love and
serve God without giving up their ordinary work,
their family life, and their normal social
Ordinary Christians in the World. What is Opus
Fr. Escriva was only 26
years old when The Work was created. He was long on desire for
action, short on experience, but: "Fully aware of the Opus’
spirit, aims, means and ends, the Bishop of Madrid had encouraged
the Founder from the beginning, and had blessed his work." This is the same bishop who, later, in June 1944,
would ordain The Work’s first three priests, all of whom had been
lay members of the Opus Dei. Fr. Escriva’s disciples say he
was "inspired by God"; others thought he was "mandated
by the hierarchy." Father preached retreats, recruited
members, and organized his Work. He chose his priests for The Work
from the ranks of his disciples. He spoke of having clearly seen,
while celebrating Mass on February 14, 1943, the canonical
solution: the ordination of lay members of the Opus. At
that moment, "The sacerdotal society of the Holy Cross was
born, representing in the Church a new pastoral and juridical
phenomenon, the ordination of men with university degrees and
engaged in a profession..."
In 1946, Fr. Escriva moved
to Rome, was appointed a domestic Prelate by His Holiness in 1947,
and received various appointments: member of the Pontifical
Academy of Theology; consultor to the Congregation of Seminaries,
etc. He toured the world, preached his doctrine,
"sanctity through work," and died suddenly, in Rome, on June
Through reading issues of the
Information Bulletin, the reader develops an
unsuspicious belief in the Opus, since each issue reports
on the impressive record of the worldwide dissemination of
"Msgr. Escriva’s doctrine," particularly through Camino
(The Way), his only work published during his lifetime.
First published in Valencia, Spain, in 1934, Camino is the
Opus Dei’s veritable rule. Under the title,
Consideraciones, the first edition of The Way appeared
in 1934. Since then, 250 editions have been published in 39
languages, with sales of nearly four million copies.
History of Opus Dei
de Balaguer was born in Barbastro, Spain, on January
9,1902, son of a cloth merchant and a pious housewife.
He was ordained to the priesthood in Zaragoza on March
On October 2,
1928, in Madrid, Father Escriva founded the first
Opus Dei institute, inaugurating a women’s branch
on February 14, 1930, also in Madrid.
In 1939 the
first edition of Camino (The Way) was
published, setting forth Escriva’s 999 maxims to serve
as a guide for Opus Dei members. On May 24,
1941, the Archbishop of Madrid, Leopoldo Eijo y Garay,
publicly defended Opus Dei against accusations
of secrecy from some sectors in the Spanish Church.
Society of the Holy Cross, the association for lay
affiliates of Opus Dei who aspired to the
Opus Dei priesthood, was founded on February 14,
1943. On June 25, 1944, the first ordinations of
Opus Dei priests took place.
Escriva came to
Rome on June 23, 1946, returning to Madrid in August
with Holy See encouragement for his initiatives. Pope
Pius Xll’s promulgation Provida Mater Ecclesia
(February 2, 1947) gave juridical status to secular
institutes such as Opus Dei. Finally on June
16, 1950, Opus Dei received its definitive
approval from the Holy See. The organization became
the first secular institute approved directly by the
pope and took on the title "Priestly Society of the
Holy Cross and Opus Dei." In 1962, Fr. Escriva
pleaded in vain with Pope John XXIII to grant Opus
Dei a different status from other secular
institutes, which were answerable to the Congregation
for Religious and Secular Institutes. A few years
later, Pope Paul Vl also set aside the request, saying
the time to grant it had not yet come.
away on June 26, 1975, and on May 12, 1981, the
process for his beatification was initiated.
In spite of the
opposition of a large part of the Catholic clergy and
a majority of the Spanish bishops (55 of 56), the
Vatican announced on August 23,1982 that Pope John
Paul had decided to grant the status of Personal
Prelature to Opus Dei.
Taken from 30
Days, June-July 1995.
sanctification through work
On October 2, 1928,
Fr. Escriva de Balaguer knew the will of God in all
its implications... The light received was not a general
inspiration, but a precise illumination; he knew from
the outset that The Work was not a human one, but a great
supernatural undertaking; ...the founder was able to
describe it, presenting its total newness: all men are
called to holiness and to apostolate, "without leaving
the world, on the condition that they supernaturalize, above
all, the temporal realities in which they are immersed:
professional work, family and social responsibilities."
If this proposition is
not false, it is essential to know how to interpret this
provided that he supernaturalize the temporal realities
"What took shape was a
veritable pastoral phenomenon,"
writes Dominique Le Tourneau. In the 1920’s, the wind was
favorable to novelties, echoes of which were found at all
ecclesiastical levels. In the beginning of the century,
modernism was condemned but not neutralized. Taking refuge in
clandestinity, it flourished, fostering a climate of return to
novelties, or of a favorable reception to them: liturgical
change, pastoral novelties, the marriage of the Church and the
The Opus Dei refutes 10 centuries of Tradition
One of the next
chapter’s subheadings, "The religious concept," is
In the lives of the
early Christians, work was not seen as something "good in
itself" and, above all, was considered an ascetic means for
combating pride... Among the Fathers of the Church, St. John
Chrysostom, who paid great attention to work, was the last
prominent Churchman to speak of the sanctification of the
ordinary life in the same terms as Vatican II. After him,
one gets the impression that the ordinary Christian is not
called to fully live the Gospel. This prevailed up to the
fifth century; regarding apostolate, it does not seem to
have been part of the Christian’s obligations. In the
Rule of St. Benedict, it is more the monastery than the
monk who carries out apostolate.(!)
After this quotation,
which inspires amazement and uneasiness, the author outlines
the horizon where he wishes to lead the reader:
The appearance of the
mendicant orders brought with it an emphasis on preaching,
with preacher-monks traveling from city to city. This did
not imply any affirmation of the value of professional work.
On the contrary, above all, it seems to have increased the
distance from it... The theologians of the mendicant orders
did not reflect much upon the fundamental dimension of work;
they affirmed the non-obligatory character of manual work.
St. Thomas presents the secular occupations as an obstacle
to contemplation. St. Bonaventure and others express a
institutions more directly present in the world (military
orders and medieval guilds) furnished scant ascetic and
doctrinal preparation favorable to an awareness of the need
to sanctify work.
Over the course of
subsequent centuries, attention was deflected from work. The
author of The Imitation of Jesus Christ judged work
even more negatively than had the Desert Fathers. But the
polarity that they erected between work and pride underwent
a basic distortion in that work was seen as a constraint
upon the effort implied in the ascetic struggle. This is the
conception of Cisneros8 in his Exercitatorio
and of St. Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises.
The Opus Dei: liberalism’s new
After having disposed of
the Church’s tradition, the Opus Dei prudently sets
forth its doctrine’s spirit: The Opus Dei’s
theologian’s following quotation sums it up:
A certain positive
evolution was begun during the Renaissance by some men like
Thomas More and Erasmus (...)
However, the Catholic theology of the Renaissance and of the
Baroque eras were in part contaminated by the
ideas of an aristocracy which, by way of a narrow and badly
founded moralism, held manual labor in contempt...
Comparing the religious
vocation in the traditional orders to the Opus’
vocation, the author quotes the founder:
The path of the religious
vocation seems to me blessed and necessary in the Church, but it
is not mine, nor that of the members of the Work. One can say of
all of those coming to the Work that each and every one of them
has done so on the express condition of not changing his state.
To be more precise, and
using progressivism’s now official vocabulary:
The basic difference
between the two can be expressed as movements in opposite
directions. One answers [the call to vocation] from outside the
world and moves toward it, bringing its presence toward it. This
is the evolution of the religious state. The other is a "being
in the world"; it starts from being of the world. Such is the
Opus Dei’s secular spirituality....This is what made Card.
Luciani, the future Pope John Paul I, say that while St. Francis
de Sales proposed a spirituality for lay people, Msgr. Escriva
proposes a new lay spirituality.
Dominique Le Tourneau
remains imprecise as to the Opus’ spirituality, declared
unambiguously lay by the transitory Pope. A thirty-page Spanish
study, written by one Juan Morales, very usefully
completes the documents already studied here. The author bases his
critique on seven works, all published by Rialp, the
Opus’ publishing house in Madrid. In his introduction, he
does not hesitate to write that the Opus Dei is "a real
Trojan horse at the heart of the Church." Through sections
taken from texts written by Opus Dei members, and the
quotations by Fr. Escriva cited by the authors themselves, Morales
demonstrates that the latter had the lay spirit to such an extent
that he based some of his proposals on a fundamentally
Morales quotes from Peter
Berglar’s book, Opus Dei:
Escriva was happy when his
first three priests were ordained, but he was also very sad that
they did not remain laymen.
He also quotes Salvador
Bernal in Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer:
For us, the priesthood is
a circumstance, an accident, because at the heart of The Work, the
vocation of priests and that of the laity is the same.
As well, he says,
[As to] the
way that apostolic works are organized by the Opus Dei..., these
are planned and governed from a lay mentality;... by so doing, they
are not confessional.
Juan Morales reports the
work of another Opus Dei author, Ana Sastre, in Tiempo
de caminar, who, speaking of the Opus Dei’s
The climate of secularism
and of personal initiative resulted in the Founder having been
accused of being a progressive, a heretic and crazy.
Vasquez de la Prada, in
El fundator del Opus Dei, says the same thing, recognizing
that the spirit of the Opus Dei formerly qualified as being
innovative and heretical, but is today ratified by Vatican II. He
collaborator and successor - Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo - [recently
deceased - English Ed.] - who is faithful to the Council,
and who contributed to its development, made this comment,
"On many occasions during the approval of conciliar documents,
legitimizing them while speaking with the founder of the Opus
Dei, I repeated to him: ‘Congratulations: Because what is in
your soul, and what you have unfailingly taught since 1929 has
been solemnly proclaimed by the magisterium of the Church'"...
This doctrine which thirty
years ago would have been considered to be folly and heresy has
been invested with official solemnity.
This is an unvarnished
admission of the upheaval of the Church’s traditional doctrine.
The Opus’ new doctrine was ratified yesterday by the
Council and glorified today by the beatification. Because we are
not fools, [we must say that] the beatification is the integration
of Opus’ principles into the conciliar Church’s doctrine.
members know, and have no compunction about this destruction of
Tradition. In the book, Estudios sobre camino [Studies
on The Way - Ed.], in a chapter titled, "A Silent
Revolution," José Miguel Ceja makes this comment:
The novelty of the
teachings of Msgr. Escriva consisted not only in being a new way
of making an apostolic task practical, this being more or less
similar to what, in previous times, the Church undertook through
the concept and praxis of apostolate..., [Rather], The Way
represented a quasi - and even non-quasi
- scandalous novelty.
Christians in the World: What does the Opus Dei
say about itself?
While Opus Dei
is people far more than it is institutions, there are
a certain number of institutions conducted by members
on their own initiative, which in one way or another
embody the spirit and purpose of the organization.
institutions – universities, schools, study centers,
student residences, conference centers, and
professional or vocational training institutes of
various kinds - have an apostolic purpose, they are
not officially ‘Catholic,’ since members of Opus Dei
conduct them on their own and in collaboration with
others who are not only not members of Opus Dei but,
in many cases, not even Catholics. Opus Dei itself
takes responsibility only for the spiritual and
doctrinal aspects of the programs of these
institutions, not for their practical and professional
In addition to
the members of Opus Dei and the priests associated
with the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, there are
also ‘Cooperators’ who help through their prayers,
work, and financial assistance. In return, they
benefit from the prayers of members and other
spiritual helps. If they wish, they can participate in
various spiritual and educational activities. Non-Catholics
as well as Catholics can be Cooperators. (Opus Dei was
the first Church institution to have non-Catholic
from Ordinary Christians in the World. What is Opus
Dei? pp. 12, 14. Available from: 99 Overlook
Circle, New Rochelle, NY 10804)
The houses of
Opus Dei are inter-confessional residences where
‘students of all religions and ideologies live.’
(Conversaciones con Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer,
Conversations with Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer,
of pluralism for Catholics in the first years of the
Opus was an incomprehensible novelty to many, because
they had been formed in a totally opposite direction.
The Work was the
first association of the Church which opened its arms
fraternally to all men, without a distinction as to
their creed or confession"
Caminas, Ana Sastre, Rialp, p.610).
These are not
only words: our Work is the first organization to have
authorization from the Holy See to admit
non-Catholics, Christians or not. I have always taken
the defense of liberty of conscience.
It is only after
many years and with the debut of the ecumenical trend
that this audacious step, which would have caused so
much incomprehension, took place naturally in
(El Fundador del
Opus Dei, The Founder of Opus Dei, Andres Vasquez
de Prado, Rialp, p.235).
Way of Fantasy, Utopia and Heresy
By this subtitle we
allude to Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s judgment on the "new
Let us return to the
work of Le Tourneau.
In the paragraph
discussing the Opus’ "great principles" on the
sanctification of work, the author cites Msgr. Escriva:
"In effect, for us, work is a specific means of sanctity. Our
interior life - contemplative amid the street - finds its source
and impetus in this external life of each one’s work." Msgr. Escriva demonstrates the latchkey of the passage in Genesis
(2:15) where it is written that man was created ut
operaretur, in order to work.
Yet another novelty!
This interpretation of the Bible is not the Church’s. Dom
Calmet, Crampon, and nearly all of the exegetes translate this
verse 15 from Chapter 2 of Genesis thusly: "The Lord God
took man and placed him in the Garden of Delights to cultivate
and take care of it." Not, God "created man in order to
work," but "to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him and
thus to obtain happiness in heaven," as the catechism has
always taught. Throughout the centuries, the various religious
orders and spiritualities within the Church have pursued this
singular goal through different means. Certainly, work was
one, but without it ever having been erected into an absolute
value, as is attempted throughout the 130 pages of its
codification by the Opus Dei:
becomes the pivot on which the entire task of
sanctification turns. This is what led the Founder of the
Opus to sum up life on earth by saying that: it is
necessary to sanctify work, to sanctify oneself in one’s
work, and to sanctify others through one’s work.
Dominique Le Tourneau
does his best to demonstrate that the universal way to health
and holiness is the Opus’ discovery and prerogative:
Holiness cannot be
reserved to a privileged few, neither to those who have
received the priesthood, nor to those whose religious
profession sets them apart from the world. The message of
Opus Dei’s founder demonstrates itself to be much more
optimistic and open. And when it was proclaimed, it was seen
as being even revolutionary: All men... can and ought to seek
holiness, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed thirty
Did we have to wait for
Fr. Escriva and Vatican II to proclaim that holiness is not
reserved to the privileged few? This is the constant preaching
of the Church, Tradition, missionaries and preachers. This was
what the founders of the various works of Catholic Action
proposed long before the world snatched them up. Well before
1928, in order to facilitate and make sanctification available
to all, Rev. Fr. Vallet, faithful to papal teaching, was
preaching the necessity of the social royalty of Our Lord
Jesus Christ, otherwise called the Christian social order.
The counsel to search
for sanctity is nothing revolutionary, it is perfectly
traditional in Christianity. What is revolutionary is the
modernist spirit which the Opus provokes by
infiltrating societies, as we shall go on to verify, in order
to create a lay mentality, completely contrary to the social
kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a mentality which is
effectively that of the Second Vatican Council.
In a chapter on freedom,
pluralism, and understanding others’ opinions, Msgr. Escriva
With our blessed liberty, the
Opus Dei can
never be, in any country’s political life, a type of political
party. There is a place - and there will always be a place - in
the Opus Dei for all of the viewpoints allowed by a
In the above, there are
two questionable, debatable points which are illusionary,
utopian and mistaken:
- The Opus Dei is not a type
of political party. (Yes, it is!
And we shall eventually prove it here.)
- ...all of the viewpoints allowed by
a Christian conscience.
Since conscience has
been lately defined by natural morality as the "interior
sentiment by which man gives witness to himself as to the good
and evil that he does" (Larousse), the winds of liberalism
have completely deformed this ethic beyond recognition.
Conscience, still claiming to be Christian, seduced by the
world, arrives at its aggiornamento: it is now elastic
and permissive. It allows today what was inadmissible
yesterday. Examples abound. Thus, the Opus puts
Christian conscience on a very long leash by allowing those
with every viewpoint, of all religions, and even non-believers
in its ranks, and above all, in its "corporate apostolic
Le Tourneau states:
For the Founder,
the Catholic solution to various problems in the world
does not exist.
All solutions will be
Christian if they respect natural law and Gospel teaching.
He therefore does not put the emphasis on the materiality
of the solution, but on the spirit which should inspire it.
These sentences are
laden with meaning, power, and destruction. It is necessary to
stop here. The Catholic solution is cast aside. Thus
the door is open to every solution, all vaguely tinged with
documents reveal the solution to the social question,
to the problems of work, to the social order, all of which
were in circulation during the first years of the Opus Dei.
The encyclicals Mens Nostra (December 20, 1929) and
Quadragesimo Anno (May 15, 1931) are specific enough. The
solution is Catholic. For example, Pope Pius XI
declares that the Spiritual Exercises, in conjunction with
retreats, are proper means for resolving the social question:
We have declared these
to be very useful for all laymen, for workers... In this
school of the spirit is formed, through the love of the heart
of Jesus, not only excellent Christians, but true apostles for
all states of life.
Let us again ask: Why,
at the time of these clear pontifical directives, was Fr.
Vallet’s work destroyed, especially since it conformed to this
teaching? The internal disintegration of the Church had begun.
The modernists installed in the Curia successfully surrounded
and beat down St. Pius X’s faithful heirs, who were the
artisans of the social kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev. Fr. Vallet was
among these faithful heirs and his work was an excellent means
for "restoring all things in Christ."
Fr. de Balaguer’s
fledgling work took a totally other direction through its
being pushed and protected by Msgr. Eijo y Garay. We find this
direction defined in our reference work’s Chapter IV, where
its nature is presented in paragraph four, under the heading,
"Corporate works of apostolate":
[The apostolate of its own
members is primarily] a personal apostolate of friendship and
trust. Nevertheless, members of the Opus, joining with
their friends, who may be non-Catholics or even
non-Christians, sometimes set up corporate works of
apostolate. These are always professional and civil in
character, radiate a Christian spirit, and contribute to the
resolution of contemporary world problems. In any case, these
works are not ever official works, nor even officially
Catholic... [T]hey are carried out and directed with a lay
This is aberrant! It is the
very apostolic mentality condemned by Popes Pius X, Pius XI, and
continues Le Tourneau,
these activities are open to men and
women of all backgrounds, without discrimination against their
social status, race, religion or ideology. This also applies to
The Work’s benefactors, as well as to its administrative
personnel... It is in co-existence that the person is formed.
This professional and civil
character between people of different religions and ideologies,
with the same skills or same business, or in the same association,
resembles an organization based on similar interests, such as a
sports club, a theater troop, but in no way resembles an apostolic
work. It is truly a tissue of contradictions; it is to desacralize
apostolate, it is apostolate’s negation, as well as the negation
of the propagation of the faith, whose mission is conversion; it
is to pervert the very sense of the word apostolate.
In Conversations with
Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, one is not astonished to read:
"Long live students of all religions and all ideologies." In the same document, he says,
"Pluralism is not to be feared but loved as a
legitimate consequence of personal freedom."
This passion for freedom
prompted Escriva to make some of the Opus’ residences
inter-confessional. Thus freedom comes before the truth. The truth
is an obstacle. Escriva is really the precursor, the inspiration
and doctor of the new world order, whose working model we saw at
The Opus Dei is a
contemporary modernist manifestation, and, as such, falls exactly
under the sentence pronounced against modernism and reiterated by
the magisterium, particularly by St. Pius X’s Encyclical,
Pascendi Dominici Gregis, promulgated on September 8, 1907
and, more precisely, by his August 25, 1910 Letter on the
Sillon, condemning these utopias:
At once alarming and
saddening are the audacity and the shallowness of spirit of men
who call themselves Catholic, who dream of reshaping society... with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions or
without any, with or without beliefs, provided only that they
forego whatever divides them... The Church, which has never
betrayed the happiness of the people by making compromising
alliances, has no need to free herself from the past; all that
is needed is to take up again, with the help of the social
restoration’s true workers, the organisms shattered by the
Revolution and to adapt them, in the same Christian spirit that
inspired them, to the new milieu created by the material
development of contemporary society. For the true friends of the
people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators, but
There are numerous Opus
Dei texts that are similar to those of The Sillon.
Here then are some examples from our reliable authors:
De Berglar: When in 1950 the founder finally obtained permission from the
Holy See to admit non-Catholics and non-Christians into the work,
as ‘cooperators,’ the spiritual family of the Opus Dei was
De Vasquez: It was
something unheard of in the pastoral history of the Church, it was
to tear out the locks and to throw open the doors, integrating the
souls of protestant, schismatic, Jewish, Muslim and pagan
Berglar, Vasquez, Sastre and
others give details regarding the very friendly relations between
Escriva and these cooperators from other religions, who were very
good financial brokers for The Work; it was already an active and
political ecumenism. Essentially, and in all areas, Escriva was a
This is the mentality and
conduct which Pius XI condemned in his 1928 encyclical
Mortalium Animos, where he addressed himself to those who:
...set to work organizing
congresses, meetings, lectures, attended by all types of
persons, unbelievers of every sort, and even those who have,
unhappily, rejected Christ... Such efforts can in no way be
approved by Catholics since they presuppose the erroneous theory
that all religions are more or less good and laudable... Truly,
the partisans of this theory have not only strayed into error,
but have perverted the idea of true religion, repudiating it;
and by stages, they fall into naturalism and atheism; ...this is
tantamount to abandoning revealed religion.
Yet, this is the way,
"the spirituality which Msgr. Escriva has laid out in unaltered
form since 1928," writes Dominique Le Tourneau,
who quotes Card. Poletti:
This is why he [Escriva - English
Ed.] has been unanimously recognized as a precursor of the
This is really why, so
quickly after Escriva’s death, i.e., on February 19, 1981,
his beatification cause was introduced. On April 9, 1990 he was
declared "venerable," and on May 17, 1992, he was beatified. Only
a saint could cover and justify the acts of the Council, in order
to authenticate them.
An appraisal of Msgr.
Escriva’s interior life and virtues is not within our ken. On the
other hand, it is completely legitimate to cast doubt upon, and to
refute, his revolutionary doctrine. Virtue and piety may not
automatically confer doctrinal and pastoral orthodoxy.
The approbation of Opus Dei -
definitive or not?
examining the detail of the criticisms (of
the Nicolas Dehan article - Ed.),
some of which are solid and others less so, it must be
observed that they bear fundamentally upon the very
conception of the work as intended by its founder, and
expressed in its official publications. It must be
observed - as is pointed out on p.139 (in
the original Le Sel de la Terre version; p21 in
this English translation from Angelus Press - Ed.).
- that this work was officially approved by Pope Pius
XII in 1947. Now, whatever may have been the maneuvers
of Msgr. Montini (Pope Paul VI), it is theologically
certain that the definitive approbation of a religious
foundation (and there is no theological reason to hold
otherwise for a secular institute) is covered by the
Church’s infallibility... A letter from a reader
published in Le Sel de la Terre, No. 13
Here is the
commentary published in Le Sel de la Terre on
the points raised:
It is correct
that the definitive approbation of a religious order
by the pope is covered by the infallibility of the
Church. This doctrine is not of faith, but it is
considered as certain.
is necessary to understand it correctly.
must be definitive. Was this the case with the
approbation of 1947? It does not seem so, since
modifications came about in 1950 (if there was a
definitive approbation of the statutes, it was at this
date that it was given); then in 1982 there was a
significant modification of the juridical statute of
But especially, the approbation must
bear upon a religious order (cf.
Zubizarreta, Theologia dogmatico-scholastica,
Bilbao, 1947, vol. 1, p.420);
for the Church is then infallible because she uses the
means of sanctification given by Our Lord himself (the
religious life). Yet, precisely, the Opus Dei
refuses to be classed as a religious order, and
demands that its special lay, secular character be
One could point out as well that the
infallibility of the Church only concerns the
doctrinal judgment: this or that religious rule is apt
to sanctify; but it does not concern the prudential
judgment: it is prudent or opportune to accept this
religious order (cf.
Sacrae theologiae summa, B.A.C., vol. 1, 1962,
p.724). If, and such does not
seem to us to be the case, one demonstrated that the
infallibility of the Church were engaged in this
matter, one would still be free to criticize the
Opus Dei and to demand its suppression for reasons
of prudence (for example, this institute foments a
liberal, conciliar mentality).
(Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer,
it (the Work) and the members of Opus Dei,
there are other individuals who help, some of these
are not Catholic and a large number, a very large
number, are not Christians...
For Popes John
Paul I and John Paul II, Opus Dei and its
founder were already objective historical facts that
announced the beginning of a new era of Christianity
Peter Berglar, Rialp, p. 243).
One must be
satisfied with the end of this Council. Thirty years
ago this month, I was treated as a heretic for having
preached a certain spirit that is now solemnly
welcomed by the Council in the Dogmatic Constitution
De Ecclesia. One sees that we have shown the
way, that you have prayed a lot.
have a great ideal, because, since the beginning, he
(Fr. Escriva) anticipated the theology of the laity
that characterized the Church at the Council and after
(Allocution of Pope John Paul II, August 19, 1979).
ordinariness of the members of Opus Dei - the
fact that they don’t look or act or speak differently
from anyone else (because in fact they aren’t
different) - does not imply any type of secrecy. But
while members of Opus Dei do not advertise
their membership, neither do they conceal it. As one
expressed it, "We never hide what we are or what we
do, but we don’t carry a sign saying that we are good
Christians or want to be"
(Ordinary Christians in
the World. What is Opus Dei? p.12).
Dei’s Internal Organization and
The Opus is
organized like a religious order, comprised overall of priests
and laity. Entering the Opus is considered to be a
vocation and there are a rule and vows,37 although
married members take different ones.
Here is how vocations
When Opus Dei
members enter their professions, they begin their personal
apostolate, make friends, organize formation chats in
their homes. [What formation?] Vocations arise, and, little
by little, a nucleus is formed. An Opus Dei priest
comes to preach.... Soon, it becomes necessary to find a
temporary lodging and, eventually, a permanent center. Thus
they put into practice the Founder’s recommendation: "You
must spread out, disperse worldwide through all of men’s
honest occupations; you must open into a fan."
The number of vocations
has continually increased. In 1989 the Opus Dei had
76,000 members in 87 countries. In France, there are about
1,400 members with ten centers in Paris and 15 more provincial
ones. Some "corporate activities" have been created
there, i.e., a hotel training school in Aisne (France),
youth clubs, meeting centers, residences for domestic
By adorning its actions
with the word "apostolate," the Opus Dei warps
the general meaning of the term, understood in Catholicism as
the propagation of the Faith. But this is exactly what it does
not wish, what it does not do, and what it expressly forbids.
It contradicts itself when it says: do the work of the Church
and do not proselytize. But to which Church does this refer?
The ecumenical Church? God’s Church? Assisi’s?
The Opus Dei is a
work which opens, as it describes, into "a fan." This
is exactly correct, for it is everywhere at work. It possesses
a prestigious international university, the University of
Navarre, in Pamplona, Spain, created in 1952, which has
faculties of law, medicine, philosophy, letters, pharmacy, the
sciences, theology, a language institute, schools of
architecture, economics and business, as well as a school of
hospital work, etc. Over 40 years, 30,000 students have
completed their studies at the University of Navarre. In
1988-1989, more than 15,000 were enrolled. In Spain, eight
residences for high school students are attached to the
University. Also part of the University is its 500-bed clinic.
In 1988, more than 80,000 consultations were given there, and
12,000 patients admitted.
This is only a sketch of
what’s been done in Spain at the university level. There are
similar universities in Peru and Colombia. We shall not list
the full quotient of Opus’ worldwide works (Latin
America, Australia, Japan, etc.). Knowing the Opus’
scope promotes understanding the reasons for its discretion,
why it has been effective, and the methods of its success.
Recruitment of members
This is primarily
carried out in the universities, schools, sports camps, clubs,
and circles directed by The Work, all of which, in theory, are
open to everyone; it is, in fact, also carried out in the
intellectual and upper strata of society, among young high
school and college students, in groups involved in academic,
scientific, legal, military, medical, financial, commercial
and political activities. In effect, this is Msgr. Balaguer’s
Membership in Opus Dei
There are four degrees
The elite, who take vows, or
promises - of poverty, chastity and obedience. Some live in
communities and turn over their financial revenues to The
Work which then takes care of their needs. Numeraries are
both priests and laity.
They make the same promises. They are not from the same
class nor of the same intellectual rank as the numeraries.
These are the most numerous,
many are married. Their promises are less constraining.
These take no "vows," but
participate in "corporate apostolic works." It is
possible they may be non-Christians.
Despite its liberal
doctrine, the Opus has been, and is, the object of
critics and opposition coming from different points of view.
It has been treated as clerical Freemasonry because of its
hierarchical structure and the great discretion surrounding
its members’ activities. It absolutely denies this.
Secularists classify it as right-wing or conservative because
of the members’ piety and social class. This too is denied.
Traditionalists define it as modernist.
doctrine, and its self-described "revolutionary"
position, and its distance from the secular principles
professed by the Church, the Fathers and the Doctors of the
Church, have not prevented many Spanish bishops known as
conservatives from offering their support to Msgr. Balaguer
and his Work. In the 1970’s, among these were Archbishop
Gonzales Martin, Primate of the Spanish hierarchy; Bishop
Garcia Lahiguera, Archbishop of Valencia; or Bishop. Lopez
Ortiz, Vicar of the Armed Forces. Others, such as the
progressive Swiss theologian, Urs von Balthasar, accused them
of perverting the Gospel through blind conformism, and of
contemporary integrism unto theocracy. The critics of both
extremes haven’t hurt them; on the contrary, they have made
them the beneficiary of a reputation for moderation, for
exemplifying the golden mean, conciliation and cohabitation.
In Rome, modernist Rome, which has unceasingly cooperated with
the Opus Dei, such a position of openness is much
needed - that type of openness which attempts to satisfy some,
the progressives, and to reassure others, the conservatives - after the failure and disorder engendered by the Council.
The Opus Dei
clergy is formed exclusively of priests who were
former lay members of the Opus. The priests answer
solely to the Prelate. In August, 1982, John Paul II
constituted the Opus as a Personal Prelature. The
Prelature’s jurisdiction embraces all of the members of the
Opus worldwide. The current Prelate is His Excellency
Alvaro del Portillo, one of Msgr. Escriva’s first
collaborators. (Bishop Alvaro del Portillo died on March 23,
1994. Bishop Javier Echevarria was elected Prelate of Opus
Dei on April 21, 1994, following Bishop del Portillo’s
death. - English Ed.) Portillo was a civil engineer.
In 1991, there were
about 1,400 priests in the Opus. By way of example,
here are some ordination facts:
22 members of the Opus were ordained in Madrid,
Spain. Among them were journalists, engineers and
20, from ten countries.
29 were ordained in Barcelona, Spain, by
Msgr. Gonzalez Marin. Among these were marine officers,
engineers, architects, lawyers and university professors.
In Madrid, 51 Spanish, French, English
and Italian numeraries were ordained.
In the recent past,
about sixty Opus members had their priestly orders
conferred on them by the highest authorities: Cardinal Koenig,
Cardinal Oddi, Cardinal Etchegaray, and Pope John Paul II.
This is proof of the grand and then grander pride of place
taken by the Opus Dei in the conciliar Church.
The priests of the
Opus Dei are all aggregated into
an association of
clerics who respond to the exhortations of Vatican II... They
seek to promote priestly holiness and full submission to the
ecclesiastical hierarchy of the diocese where they were
incardinated. This is the Sacerdotal Society of the Holy
The discretion and mystery
enveloping the Opus Dei do not permit knowing who or where
their most important and influential members are. What is certain
is that their stock is high, by virtue of the important social and
political positions that they hold in every country, in the
intellectual and action capitals of the world, where the thinkers
and the technocrats reign.
Without being able to affirm
their membership in The Work, one can at least say that some
persons are known to be powered by the engine of the Opus:
For instance, in France, there are politicians such as Maurice
Schumann and Antoine Pinay; some members of the Academy such as
Jean Guitton, and Professor Jean Roche of the Institute, Rector of
the Sorbonne, who was made an honorary doctor by the University of
Navarre in 1967; and [now deceased - French Ed.] Professor
Jerome Lejeune who in 1974 received the same distinction from
Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer.
February 2, 1947 was a great
day for the Opus Dei. Rome published the constitution
Provida Mater Ecclesia, providing the norms for the creation
of secular institutes; on the 24th of the same month, the Opus
received approval as a secular institute.
As the first secular
institute, the Opus was the first Catholic association to
cooperate with non-Catholics and even with non-Christians. Why
this act, contrary to doctrine, contrary to the thought and will
of Pius XII?
What we know today from
archives which were opened, and from revelations written by
intimates or disciples of Msgr. Montini (the future Pope Paul VI),
allow us to answer this question. We know how the substitute
Secretary of State betrayed the actions and decisions and of his
superior, the Holy Father. How? By falsifying his letters (in
particular, a December 2, 1944 one by Blondel); by providing
interpretations contrary to Pius XII’s directives (in particular,
to Humani Generis, in 1950); by making contacts, as well as
compromising and scandalous alliances without the knowledge, but
in the name of Pius XII (among others, the 1942 secret Montini-Stalin
From Msgr. Montini’s
now-known, disloyal conduct on so many occasions, it is not
improbable to think, for example, that the decision to create
secular institutes, which immediately benefited the Opus,
was extorted according to the habitual practice of the disloyal
Under Pius XII, nearly
twenty years before the "French Revolution of 1789 in the Church,"
the Catholic Church’s immutable and traditional doctrine was
already changed through the filter of Msgr. Escriva’s Opus Dei,
a useful instrument in the hands of Msgr. Montini for
proselytizing, among the ranks of the international elite, the
"new theology" condemned by Pius XII.
Opus Dei’s doctrine
We have already observed
some of the doctrinal aspects. Above all, the Opus’
doctrine is transmitted orally to its members. However, it is
written down for members’ use as a breviary in The Way, a
compendium of 999 maxims.
exalts the dignity of the human person independently of religion.
In Estudios sobre camino [Studies on The Way],
Msgr. Escriva’s successor comments:
This human dimension of
The Way explains the capacity, as demonstrated by the book,
of reuniting the hopes and aspirations of all men and women who
are conscious of their own dignity, independently of their
religious convictions. [The Way] offers the reader the
inspiration to live a clearly more human and nobler life.
In the same document, he
reveals how the indoctrination was fashioned prior to the Council.
Although hidden, this indoctrination was thoroughgoing, reaching
well beyond the cadre of Opus initiates:
At that time, The Way
prepared millions of people to come into harmony with, and to
imbibe, on a deep level, some of the most revolutionary
teachings which thirty years later would be solemnly promulgated
by the Church at Vatican II.
Thus is revealed a favored
revolutionary mission, subsequently integrated by the modernist
Church. This sums up the very effective Opus’ Father’s
thinking on the self-destruction of the Church.
Peter Berglar, quoted
earlier here, relates some very important things which promote an
understanding of the enormity of the crisis. Like a propagandist
for the Opus Dei, Berglar writes:
know that Paul VI used his book, The Way, for his personal
meditation. As well, John XXIII told his secretary that, "The Work
is destined to open the Church to unknown horizons of universal
apostolate." For Popes John Paul I and John Paul II, the Opus
Dei and its Founder were already objective historical facts on
which were based the beginning of a new epoch of Christianity.
The reader of The Way
is deceived because, if the Opus exalts the lay mentality,
The Way stifles the laity:
Maxim 61: Whenever a
layman sets himself up as an arbiter of morality, he frequently
errs; laymen can only be disciples.
Maxim 941: Obedience,
the sure way. Blind obedience to your superior, the way of
sanctity. Obedience in your apostolate, the only way: for, in a
work of God, the spirit must be to obey or to leave.
These are authoritarian
principles, for internal use, which bear heavily on the spiritual
life of these "religious-laity."
Let us compare these maxims
with some remarks, among many others, devised for public
consumption, which give wide berth to fantasy and to bad habits on
the subject of social doctrine. In doing so, we shall deduce the
illogic so typical of the Opus Dei. During an interview
granted to an American journalist, Msgr. Escriva declared,
this matter, the attitude of Opus Dei directors is to
respect freedom of choice in the temporal sphere.... It is a
question of setting forth each member’s responsibilities and
inviting him to assume them by following his conscience, doing so
in complete freedom.
The body of the Church’s
social doctrine, which is especially rich as taught by Pius XII,
does not seem to be the source of temporal conduct for the members
of the Opus. Not even taken into consideration are the
conciliar Church’s pontifical directives. When interviewed the day
after the beatification, one Spanish Opus Dei spokesman
told a journalist from Courrier de l’Ouest,
In Spain, the Opus Dei has always
refused to take official part in the campaign against abortion.
This is not its role.
A comparison between certain
principles, written in an ostensibly traditional style, and the
directives underlying the organization of "corporate apostolic
works" resonates over and over again with the Opus’
internal contradiction. This encourages the view that it has two
faces, as well as encourages some of its adversaries to say: It is
Le Tourneau does not conceal
these accusations. Rather, he treats them in a short chapter where
the following is found:
The founder had also been denounced
before the special military tribunal for the repression of
freemasonry, his detractors defining the Opus Dei as "a
Jewish branch of Freemasonry."
Later, Msgr. Escriva was
accused before the Holy Office; however, this was after the Holy
See had bestowed its definitive approval on the Opus Dei. Salvador Bernal also reports that event in much the
The Opus Dei’s
protests have not convinced the most informed.
Dominique Le Tourneau spends
a chapter on the Opus Dei’s defined and lived
A characteristic of the
Opus Dei’s spirit that is often touched on by its spokesmen,
and about which the Founder was, unfailingly, most insistent, is
the value put on freedom. This love of freedom is
intimately related to the secular mentality inherent in the
Opus Dei by which ...according to his state in life, each
member acts according to his well-formed conscience, and accepts
all of the consequences of his actions and decisions. He learns
not only to respect, but to love, in a positive and practical
sense, true pluralism.
Thus is seen that contrast
between The Way’s maxims and the secret character imposed
on Opus Dei’s members by their "constitutions." It is this
contrast that supplies great amounts of grist for the Opus’
critics’ mill. These constitutions, certain articles of which were
necessarily modified since the erection of the Opus Dei
into a Personal Prelature in 1982, are the Work’s governing
charter. Written in Latin, following is a translation of the most
Article 189: In order to
carry out its proper goal in the most efficient way possible,
the institute, inasmuch as it wishes to be hidden, occultum vivere,
also abstains from participating in corporate acts... Given the
nature of the institute, it agrees not to appear as a society to
the outside world; its members shall not take part corporately
in certain public cultic acts, such as processions.
Article 190: ...The fact of even being a member of the institute
disallows any exterior manifestation; and one shall not reveal
the names of members to outsiders; further, our members shall
not talk to outsiders about [the institute - French Ed.].
Article 191: ...Let numerary and supernumerary members fully know that
they must always observe a prudent silence as to the names of
others [who are] associated,
and that they must never reveal to anyone that they themselves
belong to the Opus Dei, not even for the sake of a
perceived advancement of the institute.
If prudence is always a
good, is such secretiveness licit for a "work of God" aimed
at the laity? Is such secretiveness compatible with apostolic
mission? Here is conduct quite removed from the spirit of Pius
XI’s encyclical, Quas Primas, on the universal kingship of
The investigative study of
Dominique Le Tourneau’s manual, The Opus Dei, which we just
inventoried, finally leaves the reader puzzled as to know which
page to consult in order to situate the Opus Dei, since so
many are contradictory. However, it seems that Le Tourneau has
painted this work’s true, two-headed portrait.
And to those who have just
placed The Work’s founder on the summit, we ask St. Pius X’s
question: "What are they hiding, those who fear the light and
A critical work on the
Opus Dei, written by Arnaud de Lassus, makes a
comparative study, which he calls, "the two images of the
Opus Dei." The first one is its official identity, set
forth for outsiders; the second is the conduct actually lived
inside the Opus Dei. We quote one example taken from De
The Opus Dei exacts neither vows nor promises (Msgr.
Obligatory engagement in the form of vows (up
until 1982), and (since 1982) contractual obligations, e.g.,
celibacy for numeraries and associates.
Since De Lassus sheds light
on the danger of the Opus Dei’s deceptive "apostolate," we
quote this part of his text in full:
There are two remarks that
relate to these two images of the Opus Dei:
The second image, based on
the constitutional texts, necessarily corresponds to the
reality: the first, the one most aimed at the general
public, is presented for appearances sake. It is a semblance of
Thus, in the Opus Dei
one finds a contrast between appearance and reality, a
characteristic constituting one of the patently distinguishing
marks of a great number of the modern world’s institutions.
As many families have
discovered, this results in a misunderstanding about the nature
of the Opus Dei. Seeing the Opus Dei according to
its first image, these families send their children to its youth
clubs, student residences, ski camps, etc., all created by the
Opus’ initiatives, and directed by it as well. Yet, the
families don’t see it as such. Some years later, they realize
that their children have joined an organization of a religious
nature, and have made "engagements." (According to the
statutes, specifically Article 20, in the Opus Dei,
promises can be made from age 18.) These youth clubs, student
residences, ski camps, all served as instruments for recruiting
them to the Opus Dei. And so it is, little by little,
that the second image of the Opus unveils its face to
practices, revealed and denounced by families deceived in this
way, corroborate revelations made by former Opus Dei
numeraries, and published in works that shed light on the
Opus Dei’s hidden side, e.g., El Opus Dei: anexo a
una historia (The Opus Dei: An Addendum to its History)
by a Spaniard, Maria Angustias Moreno, and published by
Ediciones Textos, and Das Opus Dei, eine Innenansicht,
(The Opus Dei: An Inside View) by Klaus Steigleder, a
Revealing even more
methods of betrayal, both of the above explain how numeraries
recruit among families who still live the traditional
principles, because the Opus Dei only wants well bred and
educated people in its midst; how young people are solicited
through healthy and legitimate activities, then indoctrinated,
then brought fully into an occult atmosphere, and how, at last,
without their parents’ knowledge, they are bound by the
"engagements." Yet their parents trusted the Opus
because of the recognition and seal of approval given to the
Opus Dei by the Church. And all of this is sanctioned by
"The Father," the all-powerful and revered head.
A necessary operation for the Conciliar
In 1981, weren’t these grave
and numerous contradictions, which had already come to light,
about the life of the Opus Dei, as well as this erroneous
doctrine, these breaches of trust, all sufficiently known by those
responsible for initiating Msgr. Escriva’s beatification cause?
Some incompatibilities between the founder’s reputation for
holiness and the spirit of certain of the constitutional articles
written by him must have reared their heads. There is every reason
to believe that the modifications carried out some months
afterward, in 1982, were done in the interest of making a
necessary adjustment between the principles and the facts - putting
it all in order, so as not to obstruct his cause’s smooth road,
was a necessary operation.
With the Bishop of Madrid’s
1941 approval of the Opus Dei as a "pious union," it was
imprinted with the secret seal. As we have seen, the
1950 "constitutions," comprising 47 articles, confirmed the secret
character, and Article 193 cast it in stone:
These constitutions, the
instructions already promulgated, and those that could be
promulgated in the future, as well as the other documents
relative to the government of the institute, ought not to be
divulged; moreover, those written in Latin shall not be
translated into the vernacular without the Father’s permission.
articles’ severity, excess, and contradictions do not appear in
the Opus cadres’ topics, nor are they mentioned by them
when recruiting new adepts. Thus in 1982, it was necessary to
modify some articles so as to shore up the breach between
appearance and reality.
With this change in the
writing, was there also a change in the spirit? These
constitutions themselves were set out from the first "founding
of the work...; they must be considered as holy, inviolable,
perpetual." Is correcting them not tantamount to
betraying the Founder? Msgr. A. del Portillo, Escriva’s recently
deceased successor, expressly treated these matters:
the change is only - I repeat - in juridical trappings, and nothing
which is essential in the Opus Dei has been modified. I
want to affirm that we have taken a very important step.
Exactly what makes this an important step? The
Prelature? Msgr. del Portillo says nothing about that. Ten years
later, in his homily delivered during a Mass of thanksgiving three
days after the beatification, Card. Sebastiano Baggio, Church
Chamberlain, would treat and explicate this:
For the blessed Josemaria
Escriva, unity with the Church is not something external but the
very essence of all authentic apostolates.
A new reason to thank God
comes to us through the spirit of this unity in apostolate
which, following the road forged by the blessed Josemaria
Escriva, the Opus has lived with such intensity since its
founding. A unity which found its rightful institutional
expression in the erection of the Opus Dei into a
Personal Prelature and which its Prelate’s ordination to the
Episcopacy served to demonstrate how anchored it is to the very
source of apostolic unity; [for] the collegiality of bishops - cum
Petro et sub Petro - is based on the collegiality of the
The "pastoral phenomenon"
[of the Opus Dei] is the heritage of the apostles. This is
what had to be said so as to claim that it was done via apostolic
Ten years were sufficient
for the more zealous among the artisans to assemble the means for
attempting to redecorate for the world the conciliar Church’s
edifice. Yet, the operation wasn’t able to do away with all of the
Opus Dei’s contradictions, distortions and abuses. He who
invented the doctrine, "Work is the specific means from which
springs the interior life" was glorified right up to St.
Peter’s Square. In his homily, John Paul II at once felt the need
to praise the blessed (Escriva) "who opened new apostolic
horizons through evangelical and missionary activity," and to
Christ invites the whole world to sanctify itself in
everyday concrete life. That is why work is also a means of
personal sanctification and of apostolate when one performs it
in union with Jesus Christ.
This ostentatious operation
has not escaped the attention of perspicacious clerical and lay
observers who, grounded in sane Catholic doctrine, have not
forgotten St. Pius X’s teaching:
"Always keep the doctrine pure."
Here, there, and elsewhere,
what ought to be understood and known has been reported. For
instance, consider the following, so clearly expressed:
Whoever even cursorily
knows the Opus’ history, and its role in the Church
today, will see that it is a matter of beatifying the Opus
Dei.... It is the Opus which has been made a star
here, because it offers the Holy See’s politics a counterweight
to the modernists’ fantasies. The priests of the Opus Dei
...are the keepers of the conciliar Church. The Vatican needs
the Opus Dei to provide new equilibrium to the Church,
which in so many places flounders, even unto anarchy. Thus it
seems evident that the motive for beatifying the Founder of the
Opus Dei is the promotion of the conservative and liberal
wing of conciliar Catholicism ...The Church that emerged from
Vatican II needed a model.
The Opus Dei’s political power and
It is impossible to end this
brief study without treating the role played by the Opus Dei
in Spanish politics for over half a century.
We have observed that, since
the end of the Spanish Civil War, the penetration of the Opus
within the Spanish elite has continued to progress. Through its
supports, methods, and means, as well as through its directors’
psychology, the Opus Dei has morally and intellectually
formed men likely to assume all of the responsibilities within the
structure of the state. Because of their abilities, these men have
normally risen to executive posts in banking, industry and
commerce, in the universities, the judicial system, and in the
In their professional
spheres, these men have applied methods to their work that reflect
the Opus Dei’s own internal and characteristic ones. They
have compromised. In Spain and elsewhere, their ability to lead
well in business, elsewhere, has resulted in their gaining a
The major documentation for
this section on Spain is not found in sources from Opus
bookshops. Since such a study demands objectivity, the books used
are those on contemporary Spain and the Franco regime. The
judgments set forth in them are sometimes biased, as well as
tendentious regarding Francoism, the monarchy, the Opus and
Two works deserve attention,
since they devote quite a few pages to this "case," unique in
modern political and religious history. Aside from the two
authors’ analysis, these works’ main interest lies in their rich
documentation: quotations, investigative reports, debate excerpts,
discussions, statistics, government decisions, etc.
How was the Opus Dei,
this "religious" work, which is forbidden to engage in politics,
also so profoundly and radically able "to guide" this
authoritarian regime? The genesis of its history and development,
and the record of some of its benchmarks, are all instructive.
In 1957, General Franco
formed his sixth government. New ministers were brought in, most
of whom were known to be technocrats: some who belonged to the
Opus Dei were not thought to be supportive of the regime. Why?
The reason appears to be simple. Since the Spanish economy was in
terrible shape from being handled by ministers from the
nationalist movement and the Phalange, the Caudillo looked for
effective men; he brought into the government men whose
intellectual and technical expertise he’d heard praised. Among
them were Fernando Castiella in Foreign Affairs, Alberto Ullastres
in Commerce, Navarro Rubio in Economics and Lopez Rodo in the
government presidium’s General Secretariat, which controlled all
of the ministries.
Four were technocrats, the
last three of whom were of the Opus. Lopez Rodo is an
Opus Dei numerary. They introduced reforms and got them
quickly up and running. In December, 1957, Foster Dulles, US
advisor and negotiator, was received by Franco.
The more influential the
Opus Dei became, the more the Phalange’s stock declined, and
the more Franco turned over the reins to the liberals. In
February, 1953, two groups of foreign "doctors" arrived in Spain,
the first from the European Organization of Economic Cooperation (EOEC)
and the second financed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The two groups put forth a
"stabilization plan" and promised that its acceptance would bestow
all sorts of advantages: the peseta would be stabilized;
the American government, and the US, IMF and EOEC banks would
provide aid. Solidly backed by the Opus’ economists, the
plan was officially accepted by the government in July 1959. In
December, Eisenhower arrived in Madrid.
Immediately, Spain became an
active associate member of the EOEC. The peseta’s rate of
exchange went from 40 to 60 against the American dollar. At its
new rate of exchange, the peseta became one of the world’s
strongest currencies. The 1958 $50 million deficit was
transformed, in 1959, into a surplus of $80 million. The markets
were thriving, but the speculators pulled out. Businessmen were
ruined, tens of thousands of workers were reduced to unemployment,
resulting in labor strife in the industrial region of Asturias.
The situation called for a
forward looking man. On July 20, the liberal, Lopez Bravo, a
39-year old naval engineer and Opus member, was appointed
Minister of Industry. Coming into the government with him, to the
Ministry of Information and Tourism, was Fraga Iribarne, who was
not in the Opus, and who would later play an important role
against the Opus.
Indeed, the Opus Dei
is not a political party. In terms of the Spanish government’s
official composition, the Opus is not a participant.
Rather, it is the men of the Opus who are.
Just as Freemasonry solemnly
claims to give no political orders, it is the men of the Opus
who influence, effect, and supply policy. And behind their impetus
lies that spirit so much in line with the Opus’ doctrine.
The Opus’ methods have created ministers as well as
ministers compromised by them. This is how these cultured,
competent and numerous men, who are ready to serve, who are so
well educated and formed at the University of Navarre, are put
into power. Nothing more human, nothing more natural. But why is
this forbidden? Therein lies the evidence!
For the last government
reorganization, Franco named Lopez Rodo, the discreet but
important and brilliant Opus member, as Commissioner of the
Four Year Plan. Scores of experts among his friends completely
supported this appointment. Lopez Rodo established a veritable
encyclopedia, in 31 volumes, on economic and social development.
The technocrats, driven and
entranced by productivity and material success at any price–the
goods of the socialist spirit - sacrificed the high, noble,
spiritual part of the individual in order to obtain success. They
summoned the international foreign affairs experts, the globalist
politicians. Spain, which for 20 years, at least officially by
law, had been preserved from moral corruption and subversive
propaganda, opened wide its borders to let the money flow in.
The technocrats encouraged
Spaniards to expatriate to the labor markets of prosperous
countries: France, Germany, England. The flight of capital "out of
the country" was very important and very useful to the Peninsula’s
economy. The grossest receipt of return was the reverse migration,
especially in the form of a considerable rise of commerce via
tourism beginning in 1961, and by 1964, reaching the level of 14
million foreign tourists, or nearly one half the population of
Spain. These Western hordes brought in $1 billion, and the bonuses
were indecent shows and exhibits, as well as "advanced
liberalism’s" leaven of corruption. How did Spain truly profit
from all of this?
In subsequent years, the
Christian technocrats pursued the actualization of their
materialist plan. In October, 1968, Franco received Henry
Kissinger, the German Jew who became an American citizen and a
political advisor for Washington.
In a mere ten years, through
the efforts of the men of the Opus, the Iberian peninsula
flourished economically. The philosophy of work, so dear to the
Opus, bore its material fruits. But "to sanctify others by
work"?, "to sanctify oneself by work"?, "to
sanctify work"? Did Spain earn sanctification thereby?
In August, 1969 a great
scandal hit Spain. It concerned an important industrial
conglomerate: Maquinaria textil del norte (MATESA). Founded
in 1956, in the Opus capital of Pamplona, this company
specialized in manufacturing textile looms under French licensure.
The head of MATESA was Juan Vila Reyes, an Opus member. The
press presented MATESA as a model of commercial dynamism. Reyes
was an old friend of Rodo, the government Commissioner for
irregularities were unable to escape fiscal oversight. Five
million pesetas went out of Spain and dozens of millions
more having no connection to loom manufacture went to subsidize
entities such as the University of Navarre and the Institute of
Graduate Business Studies in Barcelona, both created and directed
by the Opus Dei. This commercial empire of 75 Spanish
subsidiaries, both overseas and in Europe, crumbled.
The scandal was caused by
the misuse of public funds, a misdemeanor offense. From 1959 to
1969, MATESA received State export subsidies of 10 million
pesetas from Banco de credito industrial. In principle,
this money was for loom exports, but the machines never left
Spain, or were put in foreign subsidiaries’ warehouses. Thanks to
the phony deliveries, new government subsidies were allocated in
the name of the momentary technocratic slogan, "export."
In an awkward coincidence,
the Ministers of Finance and Commerce, and the head of the Bank of
Spain, Navarro Rubio, were all in the Opus. Many were
Fraga Iribarne, the Minister
of Information, profited from the situation. To appease his
nationalist minister friends, he had the Phalangist and Monarchist
press orchestrate a campaign against the Opus. This
campaign did not expressly point to the "The Work," but rather to
the "technocrats." The campaign attacked the government’s
Franco accused Iribarne of
injuring Spain’s prestige by exploiting "the MATESA affair" for
partisan ends. On October 29, 1969, Franco formed his ninth
government, encouraged to do so by Lopez Rodo and Admiral Carrero
Blanco. The nationalists were again excluded. Among them was
Iribarne, who resigned his ministry to a former Vatican
ambassador, Sanchez Bella, who was also in Opus circles.
Eight Opus members entered the government. The MATESA
scandal only served the Francoists. What an irony of history this
Since success is said to
obtain by rendering to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, the Opus
Dei triumphed. In the summer of 1969, it had already walked
off with a great victory. On July 22, the "technocrat" ministers,
the main artisans of "Operation Prince" heard Franco designate
Juan Carlos as his successor as head of state to the Cortes
[the Spanish Parliament - French Ed.] The next day,
Juan Carlos was sworn in.
Surely the Opus in
Spain doesn’t have any more power than do the political parties;
but theirs is a power that has never needed parties. Liberalism
gained ground. On December 21, 1969, Minister Lopez Bravo was in
Moscow, where he signed accords. Well before Franco’s death, the
way was opened to socialism.
For 25 years, the Opus
Dei has played a considerable role in Spanish and world
politics. Its disconcerting spirituality and its socialist
doctrine have advanced. They contributed to the establishment of
the new world order, not to the restoration of the social kingdom
of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
By contrast, a missionary work shut down
The work of Fr. Vallet can
be compared to Fr. Escriva’s in terms of the similarity of their
field of action, their "clientele," the period in which they
appeared, and their desire to transform society. The comparison
stops there. Essentially, the comparison’s basic interest lies in
the fate of the two works and on the diametrically opposed
judgments pronounced upon their two founders.
If Fr. Escriva’s thought,
doctrine, and work are difficult to pin down for lack of clarity,
the spirit and work of Rev. Fr. Francois de Paule Vallet are very
simple to describe. Fr. Vallet’s doctrine is unambiguous, nor does
it oppose centuries of the Church’s apostolate. In fact, it is its
heir. It is direct. It is like a flowing channel of traditional
Church doctrine, a channel without either floodgates or tunnels.
It contains no contradiction between Father’s thought and his
action. Having gleaned the first fruits of the new world order
(yes, even then), he fought them with his exceptional energy by
tirelessly opposing them with the doctrine of the social kingship
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as defined by the magisterium of the
Who was this priest who, as
the century comes to a close, is so little known?
Spanish, born in Barcelona in 1894 into a family of skilled
workers, Francois de Paule Vallet attended the university, then
went on to engineering school. As an intellectual, he was
interested in the sciences as well as in arts and letters; he
wrote, he painted. His friends were scientists, writers, artists;
he had a life full of activities, mostly all of them far from
spiritual concerns. But a social life devoted to being
interesting, conformist, and worldly left him feeling deceived. He
fled the city and, providentially, found himself in Manresa, where
Ignatius de Loyola, like Paul, was hurled down. He "made" the
famous Spiritual Exercises. Everything changed for him; he
discovered the divine plan for creation, man, and society.
He left the world in order
to prepare himself to conquer it. At 24, he entered the novitiate
of the Company of Jesus in Gandia, Spain. He was passionate about
the sacred sciences. Exploring the immense possibilities of the
Spiritual Exercises as a way to lead souls to God through the
interior life, he discovered their power to transform the family,
as well as social and political life.
Fr. Francois de Paule
Vallet was convinced that this divine leaven, up until then
reserved for religious and a few other privileged souls, ought to
be pressed into service for all, not only Catholics, but also, and
above all, for the most deprived, the indifferent, and
unbelievers, so as to lead them to the faith, to carrying out the
Commandments, to the road of salvation forged by Our Lord Jesus
Christ. That is how he defined apostolate, as the Church had
always uniquely and truly defined it.
For him, there was nothing
that had to be fabricated or invented. Rather he had only,
profoundly, to till, sow, and harvest Our Lord’s field within the
existing structures of the Church. Inspired by the story of the
extraordinary, epic-making, popular retreats of Fr. Munoz of
Colombia, which transformed all classes of society and established
the social regime of Christ the King, the novice, Francois de Paule Vallet, threw himself completely into the task of obtaining
permission to immediately apply this spiritual therapy in Spain.
He recruited all through Spain’s Valencia region; he, the simple
brother, helped by some novice priests, preaching the Exercises,
amid that era’s most precarious social and material conditions.
His preaching was aimed solely at men: heads of family and
business and social leaders. To make them accessible to all, the
Exercises were condensed into five days. The retreats grew and
grew, taking the country by storm.
Ordained a priest in 1920,
Rev. Fr. Vallet returned to Manresa as retreat director. From
there, he went on to apprise Catalonia, not to create an
independent work, but to resupply parish priests with some
committed, zealous men - Apostles.
San Andres, a parish in
suburban Barcelona, became the radiant, extraordinary center. With
no distinction as to social class, company owners and workers,
artisans and students, intellectuals and peasants made, and then
repeated the retreat, then went on to recruit. Wrote Maurice Comat,
"Like sparks from a fire, it spreads slowly, until the entire
great capital of Barcelona is alight, everyone out on an errand
From 1923 to 1927 more than
12,000 male enthusiasts formed permanent parish leagues. They
bought a big hotel in Barcelona, organizing it into an
"exercising establishment" with a secretariat, restaurant,
hotel, meeting rooms and a chapel.
Fr. Vallet’s great idea was:
Through the Spiritual
Exercises, to give the laity a sense of civic responsibility,
then, to take this, and vigorously transform it into a work of
effective social Christian restoration.
at all to be a chapel, a Third Order: "I wish to be both of the
Church and healthily lay." The objective was not to create
Catholic newspapers, a Catholic political party, a Catholic labor
union, a charitable work. The goal was precise: more and more
retreatants, "an army of retreatants," active in every
milieu, working to transform and found Catholic newspapers,
parties, unions, and permanent works.
You shall not bring down
the revolution, you shall dissolve it from within and by your own
An optimistic program, which
could have been realized if it had been encouraged, supported, and
defended by the hierarchy. Later, an American bishop, Viola
[Bishop Alfredo Viola of Salto, Uruguay; 1893-1972 - Ed.],
would say about this program that it was "the work of the 20th
In that remark resides the
entire difference between the Fr. Escriva’s work and that of Fr.
Miracles resulted from Fr.
Vallet’s apostolate. Virulent heads of communist cells, union
bosses, agnostics, and even some Catholics of the same ilk emerged
from the retreat one day and, the next day, carried the
The purpose here is not to
retell Fr. Vallet’s life story. Rather, we wish only to say that
the success was not rewarded. It was the period of the revenge of
that modernism condemned by St. Pius X. Nothing of the labarum
of this pontificate was to be permitted to survive.
Of course, there were the
beautiful encyclicals, Quas Primas and Mortalium Animos;
but at that time in Rome, the liberals had become entrenched, the
spirit of The Sillon was well represented,
progressivism was flying high there. Those who wanted "to
restore all things in Christ" were unable to gain access
Fr. Vallet was persecuted,
expelled from his country. He tried to seed his work in America.
After many vicissitudes, and the creation of the institute "of
parish cooperators of Christ the King," he found asylum
in France where, for 10 years, working against the tide, he
reenacted what he had done in Spain. Once more, the chaos of the
liberation chased him beyond the Pyrenees. At times, he recalled
St. Jerome’s words:
If I had been content to
weave jute baskets and fill my stomach, I would have lived out my
days in peace. But because I wanted to return Scripture to its
original Hebrew, everyone wants to tear me apart with bared teeth.
At 60, he was exhausted, but
mustered his last energies to go out, once more, to preach Christ
the King. He was going to die, not in his easy chair at his desk,
but in Madrid, preaching the Exercises. So, final silence
descended upon this peerless apostolic power. No one took a piece
of his cassock for relics; but at the time, his work spread
rapidly in the French-speaking countries. Through him, tens of
thousands of men would discover the doctrine of the Catholic
What was not forgiven Fr.
Vallet was his profound psychology, his luminous prescience, and
his fidelity to immutable doctrine. He did not content himself
with only forming pious men, faithful to the sanctuary, but also
men for the front-line, active and resolute, taking up their
positions in the cities as Catholics, in order to perform works of
Catholic politics as against the spirit of the world. He affirmed
that the social question would be settled if men would stop
wanting to build a society estranged from God’s will. He dared to
say that nations were marked on the forehead with the sign of
death for having rejected the Kingship of Christ.
Apostolate’s only goal is
This face to face encounter
demonstrates the antimony, the unavoidable opposition between
these two men, between these two works.
The reigning modernism could
only banish Fr. Francois de Paule Vallet so as to glorify Fr.
We received a letter
from the Opus Dei in France concerning the article that
appeared in Issue 11 of Le Sel de la Terre. This letter
taxed the author with some factual errors, and then continued
by a plea pro domo (i.e., general information
supportive of the Opus Dei work and views - English
Ed.). We thought that the first part of the letter,
accompanied by the comments of Nicholas Dehan, could be of
interest to our readers, and show them that the Opus Dei
has nothing substantial to oppose to the article. On the
contrary, we did not think it useful to publish the second
half of the article: readers who desire publicity releases on
the Opus Dei can write directly to their headquarters.
(99 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY 10804 - English Ed.)
This response from the Information Office of the Prelature of
the Opus Dei in France is translated verbatim
from Le Sel de la Terre (No. 13). The page numbers,
however, initially referencing pages in the original article,
have been changed to reference pages in this English
translation of Dehan’s article. The Editor has taken liberty
to incorporate some of these clarifications in the English
text of the article. - English Ed.
Paris, January 25,
Mr. Philippe Roulon, Editor
Le Sel de la Terre
La Haye aux Bonshommes
49240 Avrille, FRANCE
It is with great
surprise that I learned of the article by Mr. Dehan on the
Opus Dei in your issue Number 11.
author is ill-informed about the prelature of the Opus
Dei; perhaps he is not personally acquainted with any
of its adherents. This could in no wise excuse the levity
of his discourse, nor the factual errors that are
contained in his study. I shall only expose briefly the
the only work published during the lifetime of the
author" (p.11): five works by the Blessed Josemaria
Escriva were published during his lifetime (The Way,
Conversations, The Holy Rosary, When Christ Passes By,
La Abadesa de las Huelgas), without counting the
numerous writings taken from sermons and articles.
"D. Le Tourneau, spokesman for the
Opus Dei" (p.28, footnote 6): Even if he has
published a book on the subject, Bishop Le Tourneau does
not have a role of this sort.
The Opus Dei admitting
"into its ranks (...) men of every religion, and
even non-Christians" (p.17): The Opus Dei can
only accept non-Catholics as cooperators (thus called,
precisely, because they are not members of the
prelature), this having been accepted by the Holy See.
(Moreover, these two details, among others, are in the
book by Le Tourneau cited by the author).
"Long live students of all
religions and all ideologies" (p.17): The author,
undoubtedly translating directly from the Spanish, has
simply cut off the beginning of the sentence; by
replacing the missing words, it reads: "There are
[and it is I who emphasize], in this residence,
students of every religion and of every ideology":
that is not quite the same thing, is it?...; attached
are photocopies of the pertinent pages of the French and
The quotation of Vazquez (and not
Vasquez) de Prada made a little further on is equally
translated in a slightly inexact way (it would be
necessary to put a colon between "benefactors"
and "protestants") and especially isolated from
its context, which is the same as for the preceding
point: it concerns "cooperators who desire to
collaborate [and it is I who emphasize],
materially or spiritually, in the apostolates of the
work"; the author speaks, moreover, of cooperators
(in correct terms, this time) on p.20; thus there is a
contradiction between these two passages of the article.
The numeraries do not make "vows"
and the "associates" are not "oblates"
(p.20); none of them lives in "community,"
because they are not religious.
"The current prelate" is not
Bishop del Portillo, recalled to God on March 13, 1994,
nine months at least before the publication of this
article; but Msgr. Echevarria, named by the pope on
April 20, 1994.
The member of the Curia who had to
know the most about the Opus Dei at the time of
its approbation by the Holy See was Cardinal Tardini
(even if it is true that the founder also knew Msgr.
Montini very well), cf. p. 21.
The citation of the sermon on John
Paul II during the ceremony of beatification (p.24) is
not a corrective of the pope, but a paraphrase of the
expressions of the Blessed Josemaria Escriva, which
could be summarized in the following words: "Love God
and men while doing with love the ordinary little things
of the day"; or else: "You do not work as you
should do: out of pure love and uniquely to render to
God all His glory."
The few members of the Opus Dei who
were ministers of Franco could not have previously
attended the University of Navarre, quite simply
because, when it was founded in 1952, they were no
longer students... (they would have been, rather, of the
generation of the first professors of the University,
but they were not even that!).
I move on to other
points so as not to prolong this letter. (...)
February 6, 1995
Here are a few
thoughts concerning the reactions of the Opus Dei.
Replies to the ten points:
it is the only doctrinal work of the Opus Dei
written by Fr. Escriva. The others are only
collections of conversations or homilies, or
meditations. La Abadesa deals with a case of
episcopal jurisdiction concerning an abbess. I
maintain, the only work, rule of the Opus Dei.
Le Tourneau does not present
himself as officially a spokesman, certainly. But
when one writes for the collection What Do I
Know?, of international scope for
popularization, to explain what the Opus Dei
is, one speaks in its name. On p.36 the author,
speaking of the spirit of the Opus, evokes
its "spokesmen"! He is one of them.
"Can only accept non-Catholics
as cooperators," I wrote. But they are still in
the ranks of the Opus Dei. Unicity of
vocation and diversity of members:
- Single vocation.
The diversity of the members:
- The numeraries.
The cooperators...inseparable from the
sentence lacks "the residence where," but
that changes nothing. "All of the ideologies"
On the contrary the author of the
letter is embarrassed. Yes, everything is said by
Vazquez; one understands where are the sources of
the financial power of the Opus Dei, the five
categories of benefactors!
I made it sufficiently clear
throughout the text and especially on p.23 - citing
De Lassus, whom the author of the letter cannot
possibly not know - that the members subject to vows
until 1982 would be afterwards subject to
contractual obligations. Vows and "engagements,"
isn’t it the same spirit?
The current prelate. Of course,
my second revision dates from the summer of 1993. My
study does not bear upon persons, but upon the
banefulness of the spirit of the persons. It matters
little that the author of the letter thinks he can
impress us by pointing out that he was "appointed
by the pope." The author of the letter hasn’t
got much to sink his teeth into!
The reference to the conservative
Cardinal Tardini seems to him more convincing that
the one to Msgr. Montini. That alters in no wise the
inopportunity of the constitution Provida Mater
Ecclesia, were it signed by Pope Pius XII
through Cardinal Tardini.
The author of the letter does not
want to understand the meaning and the point of my
sentence which highlights the corrective of Pope
John Paul II: "and also," that is to say,
another means, and not the unique means as Escriva
teaches, as does the Opus Dei.
The French authority for the
Opus Dei does not contest the political role of
the Opus Dei which I describe, but he is
making things up. I did not write that the ministers
of Franco had attended the University of Navarre
(although those who entered in the government in
1969 would be old enough to have studied there, I do
not affirm it). I said, on p.26: "The ministers
single out and place in their service these
cultivated men (...) well educated at the
University of Navarre." Yes indeed, bureaucrats
well formed according to the spirit of the day, in
the spirit of the Opus Dei, are not found
among 50-year-olds. That is very little to single
out from a very mordant and accusatory chapter on
the political role of the Opus Dei in the
socialization of Catholic Spain.
The Rome of Pope
John Paul II urgently needed a St. Escriva to hallow
his doctrine. A broad mobilization of the media, too,
was necessary, just as it was for Pope John XXIII,
"the good Pope John," indispensable for
establishing a mood of euphoria for the
- Dominique Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, Presses
Universitaires de France, collection "Que sais-je?" No. 2207, 3rd edition,
1991, (first edition, 1984); translated into German, English, Spanish,
Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese. It is interesting to know that in 1983,
Number 57 of La Revue des sciences religieuses published an article by
Dominique Le Tourneau, whose very title sums up all that it reveals: L’Opus
Dei, prelature personnelle, dans le droit fil de Vatican II (The Opus
Dei: in the Direct Line of Vatican II).
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.6. The author
- Ibid., p.9. Would the Bishop also have
"seen," in order to be instantaneously and fully convinced?
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.9. We emphasize
"new pastoral and juridical phenomenon."
- Bulletin published by the vice-postulation of the Opus
Dei in France, 1991–5, rue Dufrenoy —75116 Paris.
- D. Le Tourneau, spokesman for the Opus Dei, insists:
Father, "knew the will of God," L’Opus Dei, ch.II, p.20.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.21.
- Franciscan, Cardinal-Archbishop of Toledo (1436-1517).
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, pp.22, 23. Our Holy
Mother Church is reduced to next to nothing in history: fifteen centuries of
lethargy, no apostolate, mankind was abandoned. Finally, Fr. Escriva arrives!
- Author of Utopia, who preached a communist
ideal. Put on the Index. (He was canonized for his martyrdom and not for his
ideas —French Ed.)[It should be noted that the author being French is
unaware that Thomas More's book was a political satire, a fact well-known in
English circles. His book was initially condemned as many other works were
through misunderstanding, a matter later clarified -English Ed.]
- Dutch humanist, prepared the way for the Reformation
through his In Praise of Folly. Luther only more thoroughly
proclaimed and applied what Erasmus had insinuated.
- The author does not say, "counter-reformation."
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.23. Does the
author refer to the Council of Trent and its catechism inspired by St. Charles
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.25.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.26.
- Juan Morales, El Opus Dei: su verdadera faz,
Textos, citas y commentarios, [The Opus Dei’s Real Face: Texts,
Quotations and Commentaries] December 1991. Available from: Casa San
José, Carretera Navalcarrero a Grinon km 5, —28607 El Alamo, Spain.
- Several have also been published in other countries.
Authors and titles are in D. Le Tourneau’s bibliography, in op. cit.,
- Peter Berglar, Opus Dei, Rialp, p.216. Also
published in Salzburg, Publisher, Otto Muller, 1983.
- Salvador Bernal, Monseigneur Escriva de Balaguer, Rialp,
p.153. Also published in Paris, SOS, 1978.
- Ibid., p.309.
- Ana Sastre, Tiempo de caminar, (Madrid: Rialp,
- Vasquez de la Prada, El Fundator del Opus Dei [The
Founder of Opus Dei], (Madrid: Rialp, 1983), p.336.
- José Miguel Ceja, Estudios sobre camino, [Studies
on The Way], (Madrid, Rialp, 1988), p.100.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.27.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.28.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.33.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.37.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.41.
- Pius XI, Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, 1931.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, Chapter 4, "Les
oeuvres collectives d’apostolat," ["Corporate Works of Apostolate"], p.89
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, pp.91,92.
- Entretiens avec Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer
[Interviews with Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer], French edition published
by Fayard; Spanish edition published by Rialp (p.126).
- Peter Berglar, Opus Dei, Rialp, p.244.
- Vasquez de Prada, El fundator del Opus Dei [The
Founder of Opus Dei] p.258.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.51.
- Introduction of the cause of beatification decree.
- Up to and including 1982, then replaced by
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.16.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.79.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.48.
Paul VI et le coup de maître de Satan, [Paul VI and Satan’s
Masterstroke] Courrier de Rome 148, July-August 1993. Address: BP
156, —78000 Versailles, France.
- Collected Works,
(Madrid: Rialp, 1989), pp.52, 53.
- Interview with Peter Forbach in Time, April 15,
1967 and published in Entretiens avec Mgr. Escriva de Balaguer [Conversations
with Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer], a collection of seven interviews granted
to Figaro, The New York Times, etc., 1966-68, 46 Editions, 3rd French
edition, Paris, 1987.
- François Sartre, Paris lawyer.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.39.
- S. Bernal, Mgr. Escriva de Balaguer, p.280.
- D. Le Tourneau, L’Opus Dei, p.36.
- A. de Lassus, L’Opus Dei, Textes et Documents
(A.F.S., Paris, May, 1992), 44 pages.
- "Taking into account the discreet reserve that it is
necessary to guard ...we have decided that the copy of these rules,
regulations, orders, customs, spirit and ceremonials shall be kept in our
secret archives." Madrid,
March 19, 1941, Leopold, Bishop of Madrid, cited by G. Rocca, in Opus Dei
(Paoline, Rome, 1985).
- Article 172 of the Constitution.
- Msgr. del Portillo, in Searching for God Amid Men,
- May 20, 1992 in St. Mary’s Basilica in Vallicella, in
Information Bulletin of the Opus Dei, Special Issue, p.15, first
- John Paul II, Rome, May 17, 1992, homily for the
beatification, quoted in The Information Bulletin, Special Issue,
pp.7,8, first trimester, 1993.
- Fr. P. Laroche: Un Bienheureux de l’Eglise
Conciliare, [A Beatification for the Conciliar Church] in
Controverses, Swiss monthly journal, December, 1992.
- Edouard de Blaye, journalist for Agence France-Presse,
Franco, ou la Monarchie sans Roi, [Franco, or the Monarchy Without a
King], published by Stock, 1974, MATESA affair, p.255ff.
- Aside from journal articles, there has been only one
French language biography of Rev. Fr. Vallet, that by Maurice Conat: Le
magicien du règne, François de Paule Vallet, 1884-1947, [The Magician
of the Kingdom: François de Paule Vallet, 1884-1947]. Published by Val de
Rhone, 1967. These few lines on him deserve a much more complete work.
Translated by Suzanne Rini.