The M+G+R Foundation

Lee Penn Evaluates Opus Dei

Originally published on January 26, 2007


Mr. Lee Penn, of False Dawn (1) fame, has sent the following communication to a number of professional anti-Cult Internet Sites. We thought its contents would be of assistance to our readership, thus, with his permission, we are reproducing the entire text of his communication below.

Lee Penn's Communication

I am sending you this e-mail to offer you new information about Opus Dei, a movement that I believe to be a spiritually hazardous cult within the Catholic Church.

By way of introduction: I am a California-based journalist, and have been writing about religious and cultural affairs from an orthodox Catholic perspective since 1998. My work has appeared in New Oxford Review (Catholic), the Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (an Evangelical anti-cult ministry), The Christian Challenge (Anglican), and Touchstone (ecumenical, traditionalist).

Here are some stories that you may quote and link:

I did a 2- part series on Opus Dei for the Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP) in the fall of 2005 and the spring of 2006.

1.  The first part (fall 2005) of the SCP series is on the Net, in its entirety, at this link:

The article covers:

•  The errors in the way that The Da Vinci Code portrayed Opus Dei
•  The history of Opus Dei and its founder, Josemaria Escriva
•  The rising power of Opus Dei in the Catholic Church
•  The political influence of Opus Dei – including the Republican establishment in Washington
•  The cultic practices of Opus Dei: underhanded recruitment, control of members, difficulties faced by those who leave the movement, secret documents, censorship, and (for the inner circle) flagellation
•  The teachings of Escriva – and their opposition to the Christian Gospel

The article has abundant footnotes, so that anyone may follow through and check the sources.

2.  The second part of the SCP story (spring 2006) is not on the Net; it exists only as a hard copy story published in the magazine.

Here is a link to an excerpt from that article, pertaining to Opus Dei’s role in the scandal of sex abuse by Catholic clergy:

Opus Dei claims to be "clean" with regard to the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. But it is not. One of its own bishops was an abuser, and the movement is a proponent of the secrecy-and-obedience mind set that keeps the abusers in power.

The second article covers:

•  The pride, wrath, and love of luxury by Opus Dei’s founder, who was declared a saint in 2002
•  The alignment of Opus Dei with fascism and the extreme right, from the Franco era onward
•  The role of Opus Dei in the Catholic clergy abuse scandal (as excerpted in the link above)
•  The case of Robert Hanssen, a devout Opus Dei member – and a Soviet spy who did severe damage to the US
•  Opus Dei members’ role in financial scandals, arms deals, and political dirty tricks
•  The broader context: the rise of other cultic “new eccelesial movements” within the Roman Catholic Church
•  The Opus Dei vision of the future, for the US and for the Catholic Church

The SCP issue with this entire article may be ordered by calling the SCP office at 510-540-0300 (9am-5pm, Pacific time) or by visiting their web site,

3.  Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly the Archbishop of Boston, never faced any Church punishment for his role in the pederasty scandal coverup. Instead, he got a cushy retirement post in Rome, as Archpriest of one of the Church's most prestigious basilicas - and he still is a member of Church departments that are involved in selecting bishops and setting Vatican policy.

It turns out that there is an explanation for Cardinal Law's rise, and for his protection from punishment: he has been friendly to Opus Dei since the 1950s. See this article:

4.  To read more about my background as a journalist, go to this page, a bio sketch on the web site for my book, False Dawn:

5.  The book, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion, was published in 2005 by Sophia Perennis. It criticizes the interfaith movement, the New Age movement, and totalitarian forms of globalism. As part of its critique of the New Age movement and other anti-Christian movements, False Dawn debunks Wicca, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Theosophy, and the best-selling writings of Neale Donald Walsch (author of the Conversations With God books).

Excerpts from the book are here:

6.  The final chapter of False Dawn, which warns against extreme-right utopianism (including the ideology of Opus Dei) is on-line here:

7.  False Dawn is available in several ways:

Directly from the publisher:

(or go to, and search for the author “Lee Penn” and the title “False Dawn”)

Or from SCP, by calling them at 510-540-0300 or visiting

8.  Other critiques of Opus Dei may be found at:

Opus Dei Awareness Network, which assists movement survivors and their families:


The MGR Foundation, a Catholic site which opposes cultism, has an in-depth collection of articles about the movement here:

(1) False Dawn

Published on January 26, 2007

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