Subj: IUFO: FWD (SK) Re: Justice Scalia, Opus Dei member
Date: 12/22/01 8:10:09 PM Pacific Standard Time

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Also, check out this article listing other Opus Dei members, eg FBI agent
Robert Hanssen, the spy of one, and Louis Freeh, former FBI director.


>On Sun, 23 Dec 2001 03:03:32 -0700 Thaddeus Cowan wrote.
>I couldn't reach What's "Opus Dei" (besides the work of God)?

In an earlier post, I listed a number of websites (including Opus Dei's
official website) which describe the organization. Probably the best and
most unbiased description I can give is that it is a "personal prelature"
within the Catholic Church. Depending on who you read, you will see
differing descriptions of what a "personal prelature" is. Opus's own website
states: "A personal Prelature is a jurisdictional entity within the Church's
hierarchical structure, presided over by a prelate, answerable to the Sacred
Congregation of Bishops, and to which laity and clergy can belong."
( The "personal" in "personal
prelature" refers to the fact that a personal prelature is defined, in large
part, by individual membership therein (rather than by geography like some
Catholic jurisdictional entities, such as a diocese or archdiocese). At
present, I believe that Opus Dei is the only such personal prelature in the
Church, though I have heard something to the effect that a proposal to
reunite the ultraconservative followers of the late Archbishop Marcel
Lefebvre by granting their Priestly Society of Saint Pius X a personal
prelature similar to that enjoyed by Opus Dei.

Opus's description implies (and further assertions within their website
explicitly state) that Opus and its activities in an area are subject to the
jurisdiction of the local bishop; however some descriptions you'll read
assert that Opus has been given a status equivalent to a diocese, and that
the prelate heading Opus therefore acts as "bishop" to the organization and
exercises primary pastoral authority over the membership, answerable only to
the Pope. This sounds rather fishy to me, based on what I know of Catholic
ecclesiastical organization, and I'll reserve judgement on that 'til I know

Opus Dei can fairly be described as the most feared and villified Roman
Catholic organization in recent memory, having probably displaced the
Jesuits some time ago. It has been described as a cult or sect within
Catholicism; such a description may seem accurate when we think of the
popular meaning of "cult" or "sect", but in my mind it's a bit difficult to
categorize a Catholic organization which enjoys the blessings of and the
grant of special privileges by the Pope as being a "cult" (unless you're in
that group which views Catholicism itself as a cult). Opus does appear to
have certain characteristics that we tend to associate with cults, such as
keeping a (possibly exaggerated) degree of secrecy about itself and its
dealings, granting an unnatural devotion to and veneration of the founder of
the organization, the Blessed Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975), making demands
for possibly excessive loyalty to the organization, including alienation of
the member from family and friends when deemed necessary, and so on. While
these values may be seen as "cultic" by some (particularly non-Catholic)
Americans, the fact of the matter is that many if not most of these group
values are shared (though not practiced as intensely) by most Catholic
religious orders.

Some of Bill's comments have raised the issue of various consipiracy
theories surrounding Opus. Personally, I discount those theories. My
personal distaste for Opus Dei centers around the fact that its philosophy
and theology are in the far right wing of Catholicism (and the Catholic
Church is not known for being a particularly liberal institution, which says
a lot right there), that it excessively (IMHO) venerates a founding figure
who was, IMHO, not a very good man at all (Escriva was most certainly a
fascist in his political leanings, quite possibly an anti-semite, and was
possessed of decidedly unenlightened views on the place of women in society
and the church), and that it is an authoritarian organization which demands
that members discard their powers of critical reason in favor of the Opus
party line. In short, I wouldn't classify Opus as a world-wide secret
society bent on world domination (they are not the Church's answer to the
Illuminati), and I wouldn't classify it as a cult (in the sense that I would
classify, for example, Scientology as a cult), but the values held by Opus
and its membership are such that I don't want to see Opus members in a
position of political power and influence (such as Supreme Court justices).
Which is why I said that the story that Scalia and Thomas are Opus members
terrifies me if true.

Len Cleavelin