by D. Ricardo de la Cierva (1)
Chapter 9: The Vexed Birth of Opus Dei
A Partial Translation
We are selectively quoting the portions from Chapter 9 of de la Cierva's book which are key to understanding the true spirit of the Opus Dei explained by a friend and not a foe. In some cases, the names of individuals have been replaced by their official functions or positions since most of the readers outside Spain would not recognize their names. The actual names may be found in the original text (2) in Spanish of Chapter 9.
Occasional bold type
added by The M+G+R Foundation.
[B] I (de la Cierva) have never abandoned my interest to obtain adequate information about Opus Dei... ...to my knowledge, I believe that I have gathered a collection of sources and testimonies, positives and negatives, about the Opus Dei, greater than any in existence.
[C] through [K] de la Cierva evenhandedly reports on the books written about the Opus Dei by friends and foe alike.
[L] ... a second division sociologist, who was inside the Opus Dei for many years without realizing that he was living in the antechamber of hell. Now he seems possessed by an inexplicable zeal to destroy the work of padre Escrivá (the founder of Opus Dei). His personal contributions are coarse. However, he adduces testimonies of former members of Opus Dei which, in general, are level headed individuals and for which their lives in said institution resulted traumatic; testimony which I have no reason to doubt. Almost all express themselves with respect toward padre Escrivá but lobe true depth charges against the Opus. I confess that the book of the referred to sociologist has caused me to profoundly reflect on this matter to the point of making a decision to write this section...
[M] The following year [of Escrivá's Beatification], from the same Editorial House whence this book (The Gates of Hell) is being published, I (de la Cierva) published another Essay about the Marquisette of Peralta, the Title, which in my opinion, father Escrivá incorrectly had conferred upon himself.
[N] Father Escrivá rearranged his surname and family name somewhat. .... He combined his first two names (José María) into one, Josemaría, as a sign of devotion to the Virgin (Mary) Who had a great impact in his life. .... He added "de Balaguer" for reasons similar to those which moved him to request the Title of Marquis of Peralta. Self aggrandizement.
[O] through [V] A biographical sketch of Escrivá.
[W] .... "Camino".... Is the fundamental book for Opus Dei. It reflects its novelty, its depth and its spirit, demanding, yet open. To understand it better "Camino" must be read in accordance to the vision with which it was written. It is one of the most disseminated works of the 20th Century...
[X] The (Spanish) government and the organizations which sympathized with it formally declared war to the Catholic Church. As we have pointed out, the simple fact that a priest would be seen in Madrid wearing his ecclesiastical garb was a certain death sentence. Escrivá, a firm supporter of the "Uprising" (Alzamiento) from the very beginning, just like most of the Catholic Church in Spain, which suffered the martyrdom of thirteen Bishops and about eight thousand priests, monks and nuns, was in hiding....
[Y] ...he (Escrivá) joined Franco's (the leader of the anti-Communist forces and later absolute dictator of Spain) cause, like practically all bishops, priests, religious and Catholics in Spain and in the world. However, he did not participate in war activities.
[Z] In 1939 saw the election of Pope Pius XII just in time to bless the victory over communism in Spain. He would be a providential man for the Opus Dei.
[AA] ...and in 1946 Opus Dei established its first house outside Spain, in the Portuguese university city of Coimbra.
[BB] Opus Dei penetrated the Universities and actually controlled the most ambitious cultural project of the Franco regime, the Superior Council of Scientific Investigations,...
[DD] It is a fact that, after 1950, Opus Dei university branches in certain occasions committed notable injustices; at times in iniquitous alliances with Marxist professors and against Catholic professors.
[EE] Other professors, members of the Opus Dei, have helped me (de la Cierva) considerably. Some have caused me every imaginable damage and, since I do not mince words, I have forcefully responded to their accusations until they deemed prudent to fall silent.
[FF] On March 19, 1941, the Bishop of Madrid, who had understood Opus Dei from the very beginning, approved it as a Pius Union. This was the first official Ecclesiastical approval of Opus Dei.
[GG] On February 14, 1943, during Mass in an Opus Dei Women's Center, he (Escrivá) receives a new illumination and is inspired to create the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, in which to gather the priests of the Opus and propitiate the approval from the Holy See, which in effect, grants the approval for the canonical erection of Opus Dei in the Diocese of Madrid....
[HH] During Holy Week of 1946 (or one close to it) I know for a fact that General Franco asked Monsignor Escrivá to personally direct the Spiritual Exercises; a task for which Franco had always called upon the priests whom he judged well informed regarding the situation of Spanish society;
[II] Nevertheless, starting in 1953, when a minority faction of Opus Dei started to separate itself from Franco's regime, the relations between Franco and the founder of Opus Dei cooled down to the point that, according to a private communication from an Admiral of the Spanish Navy and a member of the Opus Dei, Franco left unanswered several letters from padre Escrivá.
[JJ and JJ-1] In 1948 the Roman College of the Holy Cross was established for the formation of priests and professionals of the Opus Dei for assignments worldwide..... On October 29, 1960, the Founder (Escrivá) establishes the first Opus Dei University in Pamplona, the capital of Navarra.
[KK] On May 17, 1992, in the presence of the largest gathering ever remembered in the history of St. Peters Square, more than 300,000 people, he (Escrivá) was beatified by Pope John Paul II after a fast, maybe too fast, canonical process.
[LL] The final solution, which was the preferred one for The Vatican and the Opus Dei was the establishment of the Opus Dei as a Personal Prelature, as decreed by the Apostolic Constitution of November 28, 1982...
[NN] Nonetheless, since the time in the early forties when one could hear talk about Opus Dei, this institution has never lost its halo of mystery, although padre Escrivá said that his Opus was not secret; it simply was discreet.
[PP] (The populace claimed in jest that) the great "question" was the one which St. Peter asked Franco before allowing him to enter into Heaven..... what in hell is the Opus? With all due respect I would like to explain my and Franco's answer (to such rhetorical question). The M+G+R Comments: The answer to that question was before his own eyes and he could not see it.
[QQ] Franco was indignant with the Opus Dei for many years toward the end of his life. He had deeply identified himself with the Opus and had, as we know, the highest esteem for the Founder. However, he could not comprehend the leader of a certain faction of Opus Dei who, having failed to become a permanent supporters of Franco's ideology, changed over, without much ado, to anti-frankism. He created an opposition group spearheaded by members of the Opus Dei. This was done with obvious approval of Padre Escrivá, whose one of his salient defects was the esteem he always felt for his aberrant disciple.
[RR] ...at the time of Vatican Council II, padre Escrivá picked up the anti-Franco mood of the Vatican and thus allowed his protégé and his friends to abruptly start separating from Franco's regime and ideology.
[SS] I believe that the anti-Franco mood that surfaced in Opus Dei... was perfectly logical and defensible, except for one detail: The group with such inclinations, under the leadership of Escrivá's protégé, led directly to the Democratic Junta of 1974. That is, a strategic alliance of several members of Opus Dei with the communists, who then were marxist-lenninists. This was not a chance event; it was an extreme manifestation of rejection of ideology for political convenience; a characteristic which I have observed in many other members of Opus Dei. As the result of such ideological rejection, as of late, some members of Opus Dei have made electoral agreements with known communists.
[TT] By virtue of that same rejection, the key rightist group of the province of Navarra, made up by many Opus Dei members have entered into certain alliances to form the government of Navarra... with socialists and communists extreme defenders of abortion... ....(Catholic political figures) have every right to establish political coalitions.... except with those who will influence the government with their atheistic and anti-life ideas. For such alliances a Catholic does not have freedom unless the other group renounces their philosophies.... ....I hope no one denies my statements because then I will be forced to provide dates and names associated with such activities.
[Note: We remind the reader of the thousands of Bishops, priests and religious who were exterminated by the communist revolution in that same Spain so dear to Opus Dei. See block [X] above.]
[XX] ....Opus Dei goes to extremes in supporting the Pope. Prepare his trips with great care...
[ZZ] Obviously, the majority of the Partido Popular (currently in power in Spain) are not members of Opus Dei, but the members and affiliates of Opus Dei are the ones who establish that platform of such Party, and thus, the government of José María Aznar in Spain.
NOTE Added on March 6, 2002
The cover story of the Spanish magazine Tempo - January 21, 2002 - Issue No. 1,029 - features "The Real Power of the OPUS". On said cover they identify the following key individuals of the Spanish government as members of Opus Dei:* Luis Valls - Co-President of Banco Popular
* Jesús Cardenal - Attorney General
* Federico Trillo - Minister of Defense
* Juan Cotino - Head of Police
* Isabel Tocino - Former Minister and currently Representative in the Spanish legislative chamber.
These individuals are those who are known members, which, for a secretive organization like the Opus Dei, may only represent the "tip of the iceberg" of the Opus Dei penetration in the government of Spain.The article richly details the level of penetration of the Opus Dei in the power centers throughout the world, with the CIA and the FBI of the U.S.A. heading the list. For those of you who can understand some Spanish, we recommend the reading of the whole article. It may just help the reader to further understand what is taking place in the geopolitical arena of the world.
[CCC] Amidst the stunning merits of Opus Dei, with its sincere Christian spirituality at the head, I notice certain components which its members should reevaluate and eliminate. The most dangerous one is its relativistic exclusionary character; a factor that has brought upon themselves the accusations of being a sect.
[DDD] I say relativistic exclusionary character because they do not mind allying themselves politically and/or culturally with the enemies of the Church while, on the other hand, they frequently consider the other members of the Church as alien or undesirable competition.
[EEE] Opus Dei is totally the opposite [from society infiltrating itself in the Church]: It is the infiltration of the Church in society.
[GGG] So that my [de la Cierva's] evaluation be better understood I will summarize it as follows: Opus Dei was invented, and invented well; however, if it did not exist, it would have to be invented with great urgency. Many things, especially within the Church, depend on it.
A Commentary from The M+G+R Foundation
D. de la Cierva's evaluation of The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei is among one of the most balanced presentation of Opus Dei that we have encountered. Although de la Cierva identifies and discusses three key problems he perceives: (a) Elitist spirit; (b) Indiscriminate alliance with the enemies of God; and (c) Discretion [read "Secrecy"], he fails to see that precisely those three components reveal the true Spirit of Opus Dei.
(a) Elitist spirit: Arrogance
(b) Indiscriminate alliance with the enemies of God: No one can serve God by entering in alliances (3) with the devil.
(c) Discretion/Secrecy: This falls in the domain of Darkness which is not God's Domain. No one can serve God from the darkness.
Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly said:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. [Matthew 5:14-16]
(1) A brief Biography of D. Ricardo de la Cierva
(2) Original Spanish Text of Section 9.
(3) The Theological Fallacy upon which the Opus Dei rests.