The Errors of Opus Dei
#31
Not a theological reflection per se, but I've been around Opus Dei for a large part of my life.

I went to an Opus Dei affiliated high school; my experience of them was generally good, and thankfully, the majority of numeraries I've met are quite orthodox and pious. We used to joke around in school that you could always differentiate a numerary from the rest of the pack because his thoughts always seem to be somewhere else, plus they  tend to crack the strangest jokes and call it sudden inspiration. Surprisingly most of the numeraries in our school came form normal, working class backgrounds; there were wealthy ones, too (my English teacher, a former numer, had a different designer jacket every week, for example), though. I've met numeraries in the banking industry, who came from old wealth, and even one who played polo every weekend. As a rule, they tend to be overeducated and more than a bit strange. It is true that some of them ask to be let out of the car a mile or so from their intended destination in order to pray the rosary, (anecdote: some OD numers like to pray the rosary while walking about and cleaning the center) and it is also true that they wear their cilice even while on the job. Generally, they are very, very pious, although they are not that big on devotions (I believe St. Josemaria encouraged few, but intense devotions).

My biggest beef with the Opus Dei is that they really do seem like a living version of the New Liturgical Movement comboxes, in that it really does seem like a big club at times. Arturo is right when he says that numaries' seemingly primary preoccupation is putting 'people we know' in seats of power, in order to (theoretically) shape a 'brighter', more Catholic future. I've been to centers which seem more like country clubs for 'high rollers' than an institution dedicated to serving the Church.  To be fair, though, Opus Dei does seem to exert a strong influence in preventing anti-Catholic legislation to pass, at least here in the Philippines. We have some senators, congressmen, and secretaries of the interior affiliated (supernumeraries, numeraries, cooperators) with Opus Dei 'leading' the fight against abortion rights and whatnot. They are also virulently against pornography (our newspapers in school had to pass through a censor everyday to screen out potential 'distractions') and are really tough on homosexuality. I don't think we had one homosexual in school in the 9 years I spent there.

For what it's worth, I've never met a numerary who extolled material success as a sign of God's providence, although I have met some who seem allergic to even the thought of social justice. And while that doctrine has certainly been abused in the West, in a country like the Philippines where majority of the population are poor, this attitude borders on the bizarre. I will say, though, that their schools are generally quite good, especially the ones in the rural areas catering to depressed communities. They also go the extra mile to provide for the spiritual and material needs of their charges; I've seen first hand how some numers and cooperators traverse through 5 to 7 hills daily, for example, to check up on a particular family. Of course, the real question here is now whether they do good, but how they determine who should receive their beneficence. That, I think, is the biggest stumbling block for Opus Dei.
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#32
Quote:I don't think we had one homosexual in school in the 9 years I spent there.
That you know of
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#33
My wife is an Opus Dei co-operator. I'm not. I haven't considered the more extreme criticisms of Opus Dei, because I lack the interest and I don't think it would be a good use of my time. (This is especially true of the criticisms that could be verified, if at all, only if some highly credible high-level Opus Dei member were to defect and reveal all.) There's no need for extreme and questionable criticisms to repel me from Opus Dei. Here are some of the reasons why I'm not associated with that organization.

* I don't think the importance of St. Josemaría Escrivá, nor of Opus Dei itself, to the Church as a whole is nearly as great as the Opus Dei adherents do. There's an abundance of valuable reading matter available from doctors of the Church and holy popes. With my limited spare time, I'm not going to ignore it and read St. Josemaría instead, even part of the time.

* I think the importance of the traditional Latin Mass, as well as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and like-minded associations, is considerably greater than they do.

* They unduly exalt the importance of work in human life, to the extent of confusing work with prayer. St. Benedict said "Ora et labora," not "Labor est oratio." I believe, with Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, that "we work in order to have leisure."

* On a related point, they explicitly claim their approach to the devout life for laypeople is similar, but superior, to that of St. Francis de Sales, bishop and Doctor of the Church. I strongly disagree that it's superior. Anything of lasting value that Opus Dei teaches about the sanctification of daily life, you can find in St. Francis de Sales, untainted by the undue exaltation of work.

* They use laypeople as spiritual directors, which seems highly questionable to me, and from which I have seen no benefit to my wife.

* They unduly segregate men and women. I've never heard of any Opus Dei events for both men and women, even if the topic of discussion was one that should be of equal interest to both.

* They expect you to shell out hundreds of dollars for weekend retreats, which I would not ordinarily regard as a good use of hundreds of dollars even if I had them to spare. They also expect you to go to meetings and things that tend to waste additional time you could otherwise spend in . . . uh, for example . . . sanctifying your daily duties. I went to one of their evenings of recollection years ago, but I couldn't stay awake.

* I can't stand St. Josemaría's Rosary meditations, which seem to me to exude a spirit of pseudo-childlike emotional manipulability.

* Some Opus Dei adherents (though not all) are pretty pushy about getting people to do Opus Dei things.

* Beyond joining the Catholic Church, which was and is necessary for my salvation, I'm not much of a joiner. In particular, I'm strongly disinclined to join an organization that exalts itself as "the Work," in contrast to less pretentious organizations that are not "the Work."

God bless you!

Don McMaster
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#34
Opus is weird. Full stop. Nice for the future of the Church, but very very weird. They're just like the CIA or whoever in secular politics - a bunch of strange people keeping the fort together, living tortured little lives. We need them, but they're a bit odd. They're not something to aspire to, that's for sure. They're a hell of a lot like scientolgists and freemasons and the rest of the weirdo club in secular terms, except that they pay lip service at least to some sort of traditional (cultural/ political) notion of Catholicism. JP2 knew the reality of politics - that's the only reason why he encouraged Opus.
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#35
I've met some in Opus Dei from around my area and I guess I would consider my self at the cooperator level.
I'm confused as to why, if St. Escriva is only repeating ancient teachings, trads would object.
As I see it, Opus Dei is merely trying to influence modern, indifferent, Americanized Catholics to consider their religion in their daily life. What could be more traditional?
I've got a book on the theology of St. Escriva. I don't find any heresy in it... what's the problem.
The very essence of tradition is to "pass on", that's what the word means. If St. Escriva taught the same things to moderns that have always been taught, what the problem with that?

I find in the limited exposure I've had to Opus Dei the opportunity to connect with orthodox Catholic men. I go to a men's study circle and a monthly evening of recollection, as often as I can. I find it refreshing. I don't even have to endure an NO mass. The evening of recollection is Eucharistic adoration and a talk by an Opus Dei priest, with the opportunity for confession. He's very good and next to my FSSP priest, the best spiritual guide I've found.
I think some trads are just adverse to anything new.
Don't forget, St. Escriva was close to Franco. These are NOT liberals trying to overturn the faith. Merely Catholics who want to be faithful and true to Our Lord.
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#36
Actually, two of my previous parish priests were affiliated with Opus Dei. They were nice people and very active priests within the community. The OD  "conservative" and "pious" approach is very good to attract those lost and immature souls that long for the Tradition of the Church in the midst of these times of apostasy but that is precisely the cunning mask they use to spread their deadly Modernism  more effectively from within. As far as I'm concerned, Opus Dei is a vicious Modernist cult that will come to an end as soon as the Church comes out of this unprecedented crisis.
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#37
(05-05-2009, 09:27 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: Actually, two of my previous parish priests were affiliated with Opus Dei. They were nice people and very active priests within the community. The OD  "conservative" and "pious" approach is very good to attract those lost and immature souls that long for the Tradition of the Church in the midst of these times of apostasy but that is precisely the cunning mask they use to spread their deadly Modernism  more effectively from within. As far as I'm concerned, Opus Dei is a vicious Modernist cult that will come to an end as soon as the Church comes out of this unprecedented crisis.

Apologies if you have explained why earlier in the thread - why exactly do you view Opus Dei as a Modernist cult? What tenets of modernism do they profess?
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#38
(05-06-2009, 07:49 AM)tridentinist Wrote:
(05-05-2009, 09:27 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: Actually, two of my previous parish priests were affiliated with Opus Dei. They were nice people and very active priests within the community. The OD  "conservative" and "pious" approach is very good to attract those lost and immature souls that long for the Tradition of the Church in the midst of these times of apostasy but that is precisely the cunning mask they use to spread their deadly Modernism  more effectively from within. As far as I'm concerned, Opus Dei is a vicious Modernist cult that will come to an end as soon as the Church comes out of this unprecedented crisis.

Apologies if you have explained why earlier in the thread - why exactly do you view Opus Dei as a Modernist cult? What tenets of Modernism do they profess?

Religious liberty, Ecumenism and separation of Church and State.
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#39
(05-06-2009, 11:43 AM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(05-06-2009, 07:49 AM)tridentinist Wrote:
(05-05-2009, 09:27 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: Actually, two of my previous parish priests were affiliated with Opus Dei. They were nice people and very active priests within the community. The OD  "conservative" and "pious" approach is very good to attract those lost and immature souls that long for the Tradition of the Church in the midst of these times of apostasy but that is precisely the cunning mask they use to spread their deadly Modernism  more effectively from within. As far as I'm concerned, Opus Dei is a vicious Modernist cult that will come to an end as soon as the Church comes out of this unprecedented crisis.

Apologies if you have explained why earlier in the thread - why exactly do you view Opus Dei as a Modernist cult? What tenets of Modernism do they profess?

Religious liberty, Ecumenism and separation of Church and State.

I'm not an OD member, but I know a few. They are most definitely not in the modernist camp over religious liberty or church/state separation. Is this an official OD position that are speaking of?

I admit to knowing nothing about their views on ecumenism, but I can't see how someone can hold traditional views on religious liberty and be caught up in ecumania at the same time.
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#40
Vetus Ordo is quite correct.  I lived In Pamplona for 30 years
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