The M+G+R Foundation

The Control the Opus Dei Has on the Catholic and Other Media (1)

A Guest Document

by

Randy Engel

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PURPOSE

It is crucial that readers understand the pervasiveness of Opus Dei’s voice and point of view in the Catholic and other media - and that these influences are rarely, if ever, identified as coming from Opus Dei.


INTRODUCTION

 During the last three decades, using its numeraries or wealthy supernumeraries or philanthropic cooperators, the Prelature has established and/or taken over many Catholic media outlets including EWTN, the National Catholic Register, and LifeSiteNews. 

Other Opus Dei media outlets that promote Opus Dei agendas include Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic Canada, Catholic News Agency (CNA), and ACI Prensa (Spanish) to name a few.


BACKGROUND


Many Catholics around the world are blissfully unaware that Opus Dei even exists, but even those who do know about Opus Dei are not aware of the Prelature’s “charisma” of communications and public relations. This “charisma” has a great deal to do with Opus Dei’s role in controlling what they want the world to perceive as the Roman Catholic Church. A case in point is the well exposed the Viganò affair (1).

DETAILS

Opus Dei’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome was established in 1984. It is comprised of four schools of theology, canon law, philosophy, and Church communications.

Opus Dei’s school of Church communications [School of Social Institutional Communication] was created in 1996. The program is open to priests, religious and laymen, including media and public relations staff from diocesan offices.

Officially speaking, “the school’s programs offer courses in four key areas: the nature of communication and the elements upon which it is based; The Church in cultural context; the theological, philosophical and canonical content of the faith and its impact on the identity of the Church as an Institution; and the application of these theories, practices and communication techniques to institutions of the Church, bearing in mind their particular identity.”

Some Catholics might ask why the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, has need of public relation academicians and prompters when the only product it is “selling” is the eternal truths of the Catholic Faith necessary for the salvation of men. However, Opus Dei does obviously believe that such a high level of professional business and communications acumen is needed. What this actually means in practice is very well shown by briefly citing the life and times of Opus Dei’s most famous numerary and master of interlocution, papal image-maker and molder of Catholic opinion Joaquín Navarro-Valls.

Joaquín Navarro-Valls (2) : The Papal Gatekeeper

Like the young Karol Wojtyła, the young Navarro-Valls was a consummate actor who had a passion for the theater. He became the second most important man at the Vatican, next to the pope himself, when Pope John Paul II appointed him head of the Holy See Press Office in 1984.

Born in November 16, 1936, to an affluent Spanish family, Navarro-Valls attended the Cartagena German school in his hometown and later studied medicine and psychiatry at the University of Granada and University of Barcelona. He also served in the Spanish military.

According to the Prelature’s official obituary of Navarro-Valls, published on the day of his death, July 5, 2017, the young man’s first contact with Opus Dei came when he was a medical student in Granada and he applied to the Albayzín (Granada) Hall of Residence. He was quickly recruited by Opus Dei and became a celibate numerary. Later, at the direction of Opus Dei, he attended the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain, where the talented and multi-lingual scholar and physician accumulated two additional degrees in journalism and communications.

From 1970 to 1975, Navarro-Valls joined Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá in Rome to promote the interests of Opus Dei and to enable Navarro-Valls to gain practical writing and reporting experience as a foreign correspondent for the Spanish tabloid ABC.

Popular with his fellow journalists, Navarro-Valls was later elected president of the Foreign Press Association in Rome.

In 1984, Pope John Paul II, who was well acquainted with Opus Dei from his years in Kraków, appointed psychiatrist/ journalist Navarro-Valls to head the Vatican Press Office and modernize the Vatican’s communication vehicles, a task for which the 48-year-old numerary had long preparation. It was also the same year the pope bestowed pontifical status upon Holy Cross University.

From that time until the death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005, Navarro-Valls never strayed from the pope’s side. He accompanied the pope on all his many travels around the world, including the pontiff’s vacations. He became the pontiff’s constant companion, confidant and advisor, and also the gatekeeper of persons given access or refused access to the Holy Father.

Navarro-Valls’ first book was appropriately titled, Manipulation in Advertising (1970). When one considers that following Navarro’s appointment, everything that John Paul II publicly said or wrote was first filtered through his publicist – well, it’s the stuff that horror films are made of.

Navarro-Valls’ appointed mission, unfortunately, wasn’t as much promoting the Catholic faith, as it was in “selling” John Paul II, or to be more accurate, the public image of John Paul II. In a more honest and transparent time one would have quipped, “Navarro-Valls not only made the man, he also made the man a saint.”

Most biographers of John Paul II have assiduously avoided this particular issue.

They have also avoided what would seem to be another effect of Navarro-Valls: under John Paul II, Opus Dei quickly rose in power and influence at the Vatican and Navarro-Valls became a household word among Catholic families the world over.

At the same time Navarro-Valls continued to “sell” the “holiness” and “omniscience” of Opus Dei, he retained his status as a high-level numerary within the inner circle of Opus Dei in Rome. This meant that Navarro-Valls continued to live at the Villa Tevere, the headquarters of Opus Dei in the suburbs of Rome, that he had an Opus Dei confessor, and that he reported on a regular basis to his assigned “spiritual director,” to whom Navarro-Valls was required to spill out his guts, in typical Opus Dei fashion, on everything in his life, including the alleged corruption of the Vatican and Catholic cardinals and bishops of dioceses around the world. In short, what Navarro-Valls knew, Opus Dei knew.

I suspect that McCarrick’s name was on the top of a running list of names of sodomite hierarchy, clergy, and religious that Opus Dei acquired from its favorite and omnipresent numerary, Navarro-Valls. I believe this because I knew that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then Archbishop of Newark, was a homosexual and a predator of young seminarians as early as 1987, the year I started investigating leads for The Rite of Sodomy. If his name went to the top of my list, it presumably was also on the top of Navarro-Valls’ list.

As far as his professional work as the pope’s spokesman, it appears that Navarro-Valls played and manipulated the Vatican press corps as well as Jascha Heifitz played his Stradivarius – that is to say “exquisitely.” For instance, it is no secret that Navarro-Valls openly played favorites among the Vatican press corps. As John Allen, Jr., former Rome correspondent for the liberal National Catholic Reporter and current editor of CRUX news service, admits, he was lucky enough to be one of Navarro-Valls’ favorites. But as Allen candidly points out in his biographical notation of Navarro-Valls on the occasion of the numerary’s death, “There were some journalists, either because of the size of their audience or because he trusted them, with whom he would share insider information, and others whose phone calls and emails he would never return.”


Out goes Navarro-Valls and in comes his equivalent: Greg Burke

After his ascent to the Papal throne, Pope Benedict XVI kept Navarro-Valls on for one-year, at which time the Opus Dei numerary announced his retirement and was replaced by the Jesuit superior Reverend Father Federico Lombardi– the Jesuits being the time-honored enemies of Escrivá and Opus Dei.

On July 11, 2016, Father Lombardi retired and was succeeded as director of the Holy See Press Office on August 1, 2016, by American Greg Burke, an Opus Dei numerary like Navarro-Valls, which means that Opus Dei was back in the driver’s seat when the Viganò story was published.

Now the question before us is this: Is Opus Dei used Archbishop Carlos Viganò to manipulate the Catholic media and play the Catholic laity for fools, as Navarro-Valls did, for purposes about which we know nothing?

In light of this possibility, it is interesting to note that since the Viganò affair began, a number of secular media sources have referred to the generic term “conservative forces” as being behind the initial Viganò exposé and its continuing exposure. But neither the secular nor the Catholic press has explicitly identified Opus Dei as being the primary culprit in this contemporary game of thrones. Is this because of the effectiveness of Opus Dei’s program to keep itself hidden?

Former journalist, David Gibson, Director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University in New York and a Francis supporter came the closest to hinting at something like this when he observed that, “This whole thing was carefully coordinated with conservative Catholic media and carefully timed.” 

Robert Moynihan in his August 26, 2018, Letters (Moynihan Report) from Rome rules out any suggestion that “Viganò is serving someone else…” Moynihan says that the former nuncio comes from a wealthy Milanese family, and is therefore “acting in Prima Persona – as an independent agent.”

However, Moynihan fails to explain how Viganò, who just a few weeks ago couldn’t write a literate press release and needed the help of at least two journalists, Aldo María Valli (3) and Marco Tosatti (4), has somehow managed to write two more eloquent and informative testimonies (three if we count the Nienstedt response) with more to come.

Nor has Moynihan explained how Viganò, hiding away at a secret location, has managed to get his beautifully timed and technically well written media releases into world-wide circulation in multiple languages.

Now if we look at the relatively powerful “new movements” in the Church including the “conservative” Legionaries of Christ, Regnum Christi, and Communion and Liberation, as well as Focolare, and the Neocatechumenal Way, none can compare with Opus Dei in terms of a world-wide mega-media outreach and control of the Catholic media especially in the United States, and Rome.


CONCLUSION  by The M+G+R Foundation

It is obvious that the Opus Dei essentially controls the Catholic Media and can easily manipulate many of the lay media outlets. Let's face it, Opus Dei plays both sides of the spectrum as the latest revelation of its close relationship with whom should have been their enemy: Archbishop Oscar Romero, now, Saint Oscar Romero. (5)

For those who have been kept in the fog by the Catholic and lay media:

Oscar Romero and the Liberation Theology have been the arch enemies of the extreme right dictatorships in Latin America which, in turn, were kept in place - behind the scenes, of course - by the Opus Dei.

Now, perhaps the reader will better understand what Jesus meant through the following parable:

But when the master of the house shall be gone in, and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And he answering, shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are. Then you shall begin to say: We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. And he shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are: depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. [Luke 13:25-27]

Those are the words that most Opus Dei supporters will hear when their time comes.
_____________________
(1) Excerpts from Original R. Engel's Source
(2) Navarro-Valls according to himself
(3) About Aldo Maria Valli
(4) About Marco Tosatti
(5) The intimacy between Oscar Romero and the Opus Dei


Published on December 18th, 2018


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