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Beyond the Threshold A Life in Opus Dei

By MARIA DEL CARMEN TAPIA
Continuum Publishing Company
378pp ISBN: 0-8264-0937-7



Note Addend on April 19, 2003:
A kind reader notified us that Beyond the Threshold, A Life in Opus Dei, is now available, in English, from Amazon.com and also from their Canadian, UK, German, and French branches.
Because of the hidden power of the Opus Dei we encourage the reader to acquire Mrs. Tapia's book before it becomes mysteriously out of print in the English speaking countries, as it happened in Spain. Detailed information on the Publisher may be found at the end of this document.


NOTE Added on October  6, 2005:  On October 2002, the The Catholic Weekly (Sydney, Australia), published what they claimed were statements made by Maria del Carmen Tapia, in essence, denying everything that she had written in her book, published under her authority in both English and Spanish, about Escrivá and Opus Dei.

Statements as "she supports the canonisation of Opus Dei's founder and has never doubted the group's 'divine origin'" and  "To me, a saint is the person who fulfills and carries out God's will to the end of his or her life," she said. "And faith was, in my opinion, the most relevant feature in the life of Mons Escriva - his unshakeable confidence in God."

We thank and Praise God for placing these gems of disinformation in our hands; as we have said many times, even satan has to serve God! Of course, for those who do not have eyes to see and ears to hear, Ms. Tapia alleged retraction will be a vindication for what they want to believe. This in turn, using the same reasoning that Jesus used when explaining to His disciples why He spoke if parables [Matthew 13: 9-17], will prevent them form conversion since they do not belong to the Father.

Of course, those who indeed have eyes to see and ears to hear, will immediately see through the disinformation sham and, even if they were temporarily misled by the false piety of Opus Dei, return to the true Way, Jesus Christ and His Gospel, and not the falsified "Way" published by Jose María Escrivá.

For those who are having difficulty in believing what Ms. Tapia reported and wish to ascribe it to the "ranting of a hysterical woman", there are volumes of supporting and enhancing her revelations from individuals and clergy of greater stature than Ms. Tapia. Just take a look at this brief Index.


Back to the Original Document

Excerpts from...

CHAPTER ONE

MY ENCOUNTER WITH OPUS DEI

PLEASE NOTE: The formatting, notes and the highlighting utilizing Itallics Print, Bold Print and Underscoring was done by The M+G+R Foundation to call the attention of the reader to Opus Dei traits about which we have been writing for some years now.

Opus Dei is a socio-religious phenomenon bound up with the political situation following the Spanish Civil War (July 1936 to April 1939). By the end of the war, the hopes and dreams of the country's youth had overcome the animosities and hatred of the adults. We were filled with personal, political, and religious aspirations. We had grown up during the Civil War years, remembering years of hunger, bombings, and often the destruction of our own homes...

I still remember one morning in December 1936 during the siege of Madrid by Franco's troops... I left home very early that day to look for some food for my family... ...walked silently, remembering that people had recently been killed in the area at night. Suddenly someone said, "Watch out!" There was a pool of blood in the middle of the street. I had to look away but I had already seen something I shall never forget...

I cannot catalogue all the sufferings. There was hunger, lack of housing, financial hardships, and when the war was over there were purges, the need for political affidavits, the discovery of betrayal by former friends...

As children of those years, we had to put away our toys and grow up ahead of our time. We had learned that a careless word could mean danger or even death to our parents and friends... Our personal experience made us want to end violence and betrayal... We were religious. Although we had great ambitions we knew how to be happy with very little... Because of Franco's political ideology, Spain was boycotted by all European countries except Portugal.

The disruptions of the Civil War had caused young people to lose years of school; we were now eager to learn... Many young women made extra sacrifices, surrendering their chance of going to college or university in order for their brothers to continue their studies.

Perhaps some of those reading these lines will find aspects of their own lives reflected in some portion of this odyssey. Those children and adolescents of the Spanish Civil War--youngsters from 1940-1950--initially filled the ranks of Opus Dei.

At that time, Opus Dei was practically unknown. Father Escriva's recently published Camino was a provocative invitation to postwar youth with practically no literature available other than religious books and the required textbooks approved by Franco's censorship. I did not know then that Father Escriva was the Founder of Opus Dei nor did I then see the internal contradiction in this book where the frequent use of military language was combined with passages from the Gospel.

Father Escriva offered the great adventure:

To give up everything without getting anything in return; to conquer the world for Christ's church; a contemplative life through one's everyday work; to be missionaries, without being called such, but with a mission to accomplish. Students were challenged to excel in their chosen endeavor, turning study time into prayer, with the aim of attaining a high position in the intellectual world, and then offering it to Christ.
Note of The M+G+R Foundation: What Christ? High position in the intellectual world? Our Lord Jesus Christ rejected those values almost 2,000 years ago. The only Christ that would be interested in those values would be the False Christ.

As we have said before, Lucifer fell because he would not serve God and satan came into being. Ironically satan has to serve God because God IS God. Escriva's own words and philosophies point to him as the forerunner of the False Christ - the Anti Christ. Glory to God!

It was not a question of becoming nuns or monks, but a real challenge to lay people who had never considered a religious vocation. Our apostolic field was our own environment, among our friends. There were no special headquarters and nothing needed to be said. What counted was example, silence, discretion. Escriva's book, The Way, reflects this approach. All these factors constituted a distinctive style that helped create a genuine ebullience among the young men and women who joined Opus Dei during the decade of the 1940s and who, in Opus Dei jargon, are known as "the first" or "the eldest." Indeed, the phrase is a kind of badge of honor within Opus Dei.

Note of The M+G+R Foundation: And a new version of Elitism was born: Nazi-Arianism was alive and well; this time, hiding under the cloak of false piety.

Sometime around 1945, I heard references to Opus Dei for the first time. They were very negative. Several people suggested that it represented a subtle danger to the Roman Catholic Church. More than one acquaintance, playing on the widespread Spanish hostility to Masons as members of a secret society, used the expression "white freemasonry." [1] Some alleged that Opus Dei was envious if not hostile to the two most significant Spanish Catholic lay groups, Catholic Action (Acción Católica) and the Spanish National Association of Propagandists (Asociación Española Nacional de Propagandistas). I even heard stories of young men from Opus Dei who courted young women, with no intention of marrying them, merely for the purpose of recruiting new members for the association!...

A few months later, in October 1946, I finally met someone from the mysterious Opus Dei, a priest named Pedro Casciaro, who officiated at the marriage of my first cousin in Albacete...

I was intrigued about Opus Dei, and discussed it at length with my fiance. He told me that he had heard the same rumors as I had, but that one of his classmates at his engineering school was a member and seemed perfectly normal, though he did not socialize with women...

In 1947, a year before our intended marriage, my fiance, now a forestry engineer, accepted his first job in Morocco. To relieve my boredom during his absence and to pursue my own intellectual interests, I accepted a position at Arbor, the general cultural journal of the Council of Scientific Research, CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas) in Madrid. I was an assistant to Arbor's associate director, Raimundo Panikkar.

When I was introduced to him, I was quite surprised to find a priest in such a major cultural post. I was even more surprised that he was an Indian with a Catalonian accent. Although only recently ordained and still a young man of twenty-eight, he was highly regarded at the CSIC as one of its founders. Everyone considered him brilliant... He was kind, although extremely serious with the staff of Arbor, with whom he very seldom used more words than those essential for greetings and work.

I began work at eight o'clock, an hour earlier than the other members of the staff, and I also left an hour earlier. One morning I was called by Dr. Albareda, the general secretary of the CSIC. His own assistants were not due to arrive for at least an hour and he had an important and confidential letter to write immediately. When he started dictation I was very surprised that the letter was addressed to Monsignor Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, the author of The Way.

Absorbed in my own thoughts I went back to my office. By then, my two co-workers were there, and they started pulling my leg with typical Iberian irony and asked me if I had been promoted.

"Promoted?" I replied. "What I was doing was taking a letter for the author of The Way.

"Of course," they said, "as a member of Opus Dei, Albareda has to send a report to its Founder."

"What did you say?" I asked, astonished. "That Escriva, the author of The Way, is the Founder of Opus Dei and Albareda is a member?" Everybody laughed at my ignorance.

"Didn't you know," they went on, "that Florentino Perez Embid, the secretary to Arbor, is a member, too, as well as Rafael Calvo Serer."

"No, I did not know any of this."

"And that Dr. Panikkar is a priest of Opus Dei?"

"Are you sure about Dr. Panikkar?"

"Positive. And so is the director of Arbor, Sanchez de Muniain."

"But Sanchez de Muniain is married," I protested.

"So what? He is a member too. He belongs to the married ones."

"What is going on here?" I asked angrily. "Is everybody here part of that organization? Are you two members too?"

"Certainly not." They laughed. "But almost everybody on the top levels here at the Council is a member."

I was appalled at the news that the author of The Way, a book read by many young people at that time, was the Founder of such a dubious group as Opus Dei and that the CSIC, the main Spanish center for research, was a platform utilized by Opus Dei. And since I had such a positive opinion of Dr. Panikkar, I was angry to learn that he was an Opus Dei priest.

The possibility of talking directly with Dr. Panikkar regarding Opus Dei and its control of the CSIC was little less than utopian...

An opportunity presented itself, however, when Dr. Panikkar asked me to work the following Saturday, since he had a backlog of correspondence that had to be answered. After three hours of dealing with his correspondence, Dr. Panikkar suddenly said: "May I ask you why you work here?"

Astonished at the question, I said that I was planning to get married the following year and hoped to make my fiance's absence more bearable by working at something that interested me.

Dr. Panikkar made no comment, and we resumed our work. When we finished at lunch time, and I was locking the doors, he started another conversation, this time about Barcelona, where he had been recently.

"The weather was beautiful there," he said.

"I know," I replied, "my parents just returned from Barcelona and said the same thing."

"Why didn't you go with them?" he asked.

"For the simple reason that I am working here."

"I would always give you time off to go to Barcelona," he said, half-jokingly.

"I am so busy this year," I answered seriously, "that I do not even have time to make my spiritual retreat."

"I am going to lead two groups next month, so if you would like ..."

"With you? No thank you."

"I am not asking you to make your retreat under my guidance," Dr. Panikkar continued calmly. "What I meant was that you can have a week off at that time."

There was an embarrassed silence on my part. I did not know whether I should apologize because of my reply or how to pursue the conversation.

Finally Dr. Panikkar broke the silence with the question:

"May I ask why you said `not with me'?"

"Because you are with Opus Dei," I answered frankly.

"Oh! I see. And what do you have against Opus Dei?"

"Personally nothing, but I think it is against the church."

"All right, all right," Dr. Panikkar said slowly. "Thank you for coming today. I think that we will have to talk about this matter again." And with his usual formal smile, he walked away.

...when I came to work the following Monday, Father Panikkar greeted me affably, saying he was ready to resume our discussion.
"Would you please explain to me your negative attitude to Opus Dei?" he asked gently.
I recounted all the things I had heard about Opus Dei: that it was a "freemasonry" [1] because of its mysterious way of doing things such as not disclosing the identity of its members... That Opus Dei plotted to "capture" chairs at the university, hoping to preserve them for members and were ruthless about getting rid of anyone who was in their way...

Father Panikkar heard me out without betraying any emotion, [2] but his reply, when it came, was forceful:

"Do you know the meaning of slander?"

"Yes," I answered haltingly.

"Well, everything you have heard, everything you have repeated here, is nothing but slander."

Somehow, the assurance with which Father Panikkar spoke [2] was more convincing to me than the accusations I had just made.

(C) 1997 Maria del Carmen Tapia All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-8264-0937-7


NOTES___________________________
[1] Ecclesiastical Masonry Who may they be?
[2] On Brainwashing Techniques and Opus Dei

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Information About the Publisher of Mrs. Tapia's Book

In the U.S.

The Continuum International
Publishing Group, Inc.
370 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-953-5858
Fax: 212-953-5944

In the U.K.

The Continuum International
Publishing Group, Ltd.
The Tower Building
11 York Road
London SE1 7NX
ENGLAND
Tel: 44 (0) 207 922 0880
Fax: 44 (0) 207 922 0881


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