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Interpretation of McCloskey (Opus Dei priest)

Opus Dei : A Dialogue Between Friend and Foe


(Link to criticism of McCloskey)

(Link to McCloskey)

You say the fascist ideology contained in The Way is still alive by interpreting some of Fr McCloskey's writings. Unfortunately, it is obvious that exactly the same distortions, misinterpretations and bias are at work in your interpretation of these than in your interpretation of The Way.


You say:


Some people who have commented about my Opus Dei pages still do not believe thaT Escriva was fascist. Or they believe that maybe he was but this was another time and Opus Dei of today is not such a bad organisation. I recently discovered the following articles written by Father McCloskey, a priest of Opus Dei. His writings are the perfect proof that the ideology is still alive. I have read his web pages and quoted the hard core stuff here and commented a bit about it.


In his article about choosing a college for your kid he writes:

(Link to article)

Be sure to read the colleges' mission statement (if they have one). If you encounter words like standard, belief, maturity, conviction, commitment,marriage, family, evangelisation, culture, character, truth and knowledge,
take a closer look. On the other hand, if you encounter words and phrases like values, openness, just society, search, diversity, and professional preparation, move on.

So "just society" and "openness" and "diversty" are bad things? Would you rather send your kids to a college that makes them "close-minded" and advocates an "unjust society"? It is obvious that the fascist ideology of McCloskey shines through here..
At the end of the article he suggests that parents should send their children to a secular university if they can not find a good "Catholic" one. Well it would be too bad if the children learn that openness and a just society are not in contradiction with Christian faith...

--Your fallacy in interpretation is so obvious that you seem to see it! You list "just society" and "openness" and "diversty" as bad things according to the text while omitting "values" and "professional preparation" just one line above! Why? Because preparation CANNOT be a bad thing; so your sophistry would have been laid to absurdly attribute to McCloskey the idea that parents should choose a college offering no professional preparation! Actually, this is a proof that those things are not bad, according to the text. The context indicates a choice of a Catholic university, and that its values are to be judged against that criterium. No matter of good or bad, but of Catholic or not. Just a matter of ranking, especially in today's zeitgeist coded language (openness and diversity can be legitimate within the boundaries of right reason, or they can mean dogmatic and closed relativism and subjectivism excluding everything else). He said above that athletics was not a criterium for Catholicity, never that athletics was bad. That is as simple as that. Among a lot of good things, some are closer to Catholic identity, even if none are in contradiction with that. Catholic values are not secularist or relativistic values; they are more than those.


You say:


In his article he writes:

(Link to article)

For example, could one imagine that the European Parliament, representing the community of European nations, would propose that homosexual relationships be given legal sanction equivalent to marriage? Indeed it would be hard to find similar situations in history, unless it be the Pre-Christian paganism of the Roman Empire (cf. St. Paul's Letter to the Romans l: ll-20) or the behaviour of the barbarian hordes of central Asia as they poured into a weak and decadent empire.

No Comment.

--Is it an historical error?

The problems of schools in 1980:
drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault.
We all know that. but who is to blame for (besides the coeducation ;) ) that:

The secularist ideology of the Enlightenment, with its concepts of the inevitability of progress, the goodness of human nature in the primitive state, equality of condition as the goal of morality, etc., and its philosophical offspring in the works of Freud, Marx, Darwin, and Mill, has been influential in shaping the moral behaviour of society.

--As I said, this has nothing to do with fascism, but with classicism. Just below that sentence, the text refers to natural law (that is, to Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Aquinas). This is the philosophical standpoint from witch the 18th century liberalism is criticised. But it's not all. He says "secularist", and just above he says that Christ is ignored. So it is not all the features of the Enlightenment that are criticised but mainly its unchristian ones and unchristian influence. No need to be a fascist at all to criticise secularism.


You say:

In my FAQ I have shown the fascist nature of Opus Dei. One hallmark of it is to despise "freedom" and "liberty". Read what he writes in:


(Link to article)

French philosopher Joseph DeMaistre once said that "Dogmas make nations" and the "dogma" of the U.S. has long been the absolute right of the individual to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (preamble to the Declaration of Independence, 1776). The saving message of Christ as mediated through his Church and its effect on our nation, culture, and society rarely enter the American mind.

As if those values (life, liberty, ..) would be in contradiction with the Christian faith. Of course they are not, but in his twisted mind (obviously brainwashed by Opus Dei) there is a contradiction.

--He don't say there is a contradiction, he says there is a difference. This is obvious since liberty may be used against God, liberty may be excessive, destructive of education, etc. And Christianity is much more than life and liberty, so it is certainly true that minds who see everything through these will experience difficulties in understanding the message of Christ, which doesn't put liberty at the top of values, but sainthood, etc. The problem is about the right place of liberty.
Your fallacy is always the same: t is M, T is M. He despise liberty, Fascists despise liberty, so he is fascist. Saint Thomas or other classic thinkers despise (in a way) liberty (in the liberal sense), without being fascists at all.

There has been a constant undercurrent of anti-Catholicism running through America's history, due to the dominance of the Protestant sects which have largely defined American religion until relatively recently. The two aspects of this Anti-Catholicism -- liberal democratic ideology and Protestantism -- have, ironically, kept the American Catholic populace from wholeheartedly embracing the American ethos

(Also note the "protestant sects". The lack of tolerance towards other religions is visible here)

--Because he use the word "sect"? This is ironical since you do exactly the same thing toward Opus Dei!! So you are very intolerant - that is unavoidable, since the concept is relative.
True though, the word "sect" is debatable. It remains that in the U.S. Protestantism has cut itself into several thousands of groups, and that the first meaning of "sect" refers to the idea of separation.
Would ANY use of the word be intolerant?

The last twenty-five years of theological discourse and seminary training has been strongly influenced by European dissident theologians under the influence of Marx, Hegel, Freud, and Kant. Their theological offspring can be found in liberation theology, process theology, consequentialism in moral theology, and transcendental Thomism, respectively.* All of these great figures of modernity, have left a very definite imprint on several generations of American priests and university students with disastrous results for the faith and morals of American Catholics

No Comment.

--This is just classical Thomism criticising other schools, some interesting, some heretical or off the track. Presumably the disastrous results of dissidence must be interpreted as the corruption of doctrine and faith, causing indiscipline first, then division, then disappearance. The author remain unclear about this.

The complete integration of the Church with the American system of government and culture, the juxtaposition of the Cross and the Flag, also resulted in an identification of some of the leading elements of the clergy and laity with a leftist statist political agenda which alienated a significant portion of the working class laity. This over-emphasis on social problems at the expense of spiritual ends threw large numbers of the faithful into confusion.

Please note: "over-emphasis on social problems". You might want to compare it with the words of Jesus: And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'Matthew 25.45)

--As usual, you forget something: "at the expense of spiritual ends". Secular social problems may be linked to supernatural charity, but the latter is of spiritual nature first, not secular. So Matthew is not talking about government - or Caesar - in your quote. I don't know where your criticism want to go. Perhaps there is no over-emphasis; just say so and argue for your point instead of jumping at "fascism" like. The 60s are gone, man!


You say:


Here he writes:

(Link to article)

Pope John Paul II played a crucial, if not preeminent, role in the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe. He now views his final struggle as to rescue the formerly Christian West from a hedonistic materialism that threatens civilization as surely as Godless Marxism. The ideology of the Bolshevik Revolution having collapsed, the ideological excesses of the French Revolution must be the next to go.

Once more Fr. McCloskey has revealed his fascist ideology. The excesses of the French Revolution: Freedom, Equality, Fraternity.

--Another fallacy. He is against (not even the Revolution) the excesses of the revolution, Fascists are against the revolution, he is fascist. Even not only the form is fallacious, but the matter: the medium term is not even the same: excesses for McCloskey, Revolution for the "fascists". There's absolutely no way to conclude.
As if it was not enough, you distort the text by interpreting "excesses" by Freedom, Equality, Fraternity, while the only thing we can say is that he refers to "Solzhhenitsyn, the great anti-liberal". But, obviously, the ex-zek from the Gulag cannot be against liberty. So the only conclusion is that "excesses" don't refer to liberty in itself, but excessive liberty.

There are some other interesting points he makes:

Contrary to many distorted interpretations the council was not principally about the role of the layperson in the Church but rather about the role of the lay Catholic in the world, an essential distinction and one with many profound consequences for both society and culture.

What he says here but does not want to say it all too open is: According to Opus Dei, lay people have almost _no_rights within the Church. (Compare e.g. The Way/#61). All they have to do is being obedient to Opus Dei teachings without asking questions about them. Their role is only in the world, to bring in new members and money. So I believe their view of the Vatican II is incredible distorted.

--See Interpretation of The Way about your systematic misinterpretations.

Further he writes:

Bl. Josemaria's teachings are rooted in the concept of divine filiation, the reality that all men are children of God. Hence their rights and responsibilities before God, the Church, and society.

Sounds nice, warm and cozy at first glance. I very much doubt Mister Escriva understood that "all men are children of God" because if he did, he would not divide them into: Priests (who's prayers are more valuable in God's ears than those of other persons.. compare Way/#98) , Opus Dei members, Catholics and last but not least the devils who do not share his twisted political opinions? compare Way/#833).

--Distortions. See Interpretation.
In your quote of #98 you forget (an habit?) , along the priests, the consecrated virgins, the children and the sick.

The second point which should be noted in the quote above: to understand what he means when he speaks of "responsibilities before God, the Church, and society" it is necessary to know that he connects God and Church together. Fulfilling these responsibilities is best accomplished through becoming an Opus Dei member and listening to what your spiritual director commands you. After all it is called "Opus Dei" - "The Work of God" so they should know what God wants from you, no?

--If you have the faith, God and Church are linked. The Church is a mystical body.
Opus is best only if you have the vocation, it's obvious in The Way and in the Jesuit constitutions.

Bl. Josemaria also placed a strong emphasis on the worth of human freedom as a God-given gift, abhorring both totalitarian regimes in government and any and all efforts to coerce the conscience of individual people.

This also sounds warm and cozy, but this interpretation of Esciva's teachings has 2 errors in it:
First one has to say that Escriva constructed a totalitarian system himself: Look at all the strong emphasis he puts on leadership and obedience. Blind obedience, so that people would not be able to get any information that would enable them to form an independent judgement. (Compare the Way #339, keep in mind that the Opus Dei has an index of forbidden books, also:

"The directors have the right and the duty to avoid that writings, letters, etc. come to the members of the opus, which could be of any danger to the recipients, where ever they may come from."(Glosas, see: Peter Hertel). well, how do they find out what is in the letters without opening them? this kind of censorship is not only against every moral principle and certainly not part of the teaching of Jesus, this is even against the law here in Austria. This kind of censorship is certainly part of totalitarian regimes.

--Same fallacies as usual. If we follow your reasoning, all armies are totalitarian, including armies fighting against totalitarian regimes. St Ignatius is totalitarian. Monasteries have censorship, so they must be totalitarian, etc. All nonsense.
It is not at all against morality to have your letters open if you have accepted that practice at the beginning; it was common rule among some religious orders for centuries.
There is an inflation about the word "totalitarian", as there is one about "fascism". This inflation began in the 60s...

The second point is the "...coerce the conscience of individual people". While they may not apply physical coercion, psychological coercion is more than common practice.

--"psychological coercion" is too imprecise a term to mean anything in general. The interpretation of this must be made on a case by case basis.


You say:


He writes:

(Link to article)

In some sectors priestly and religious vocations appear to be actively discouraged as the role of "lay ministry" is presented as the answer to the dearth of priests. This expedient amounts to a "clericalization of the laity", truly an insult to the goodness of the created and redeemed world, and to the radical nature of the sacrament of Baptism. The layperson's participation in the priesthood of Christ leads him normally not to liturgical participation at the altar, but rather to his preeminent task of sanctifying the temporal order in the world.

So much for the role of role of lay persons in the Church. No further comment needed.

--Of course, no comment is needed: this amounts to say that roles are different.

[..] This is not the place to speak of the various secular philosophies and ideologies from Kant to Marx down to our own time that have so noxiously affected various currents of Catholic theological thought. However, their influence has been devastating on many Catholic university and seminary theology departments, which formed, at least theologically, the priests of our generation.

No Comment needed.

--No comment: excessive secularism had a bad influence. See above.

So what is a good priest to do? McCloskey lists 7 point. In number 2 ( "daily Eucharistic Celebration") we find: Frequent Sacramental confession and Spiritual Direction.
Sure one can not leave the priest without spiritual direction.. otherwise he might be influenced by reading diabolic ideas about social justice or openness.. who knows?

--Or he might be influenced by diabolic fascism of Opus Dei; so he needs direction anyway...
Did you noticed that the Author was quoting the Directory for the life of Priests in that instance? It is not even his own words.
So we have discovered a lot of new Fascists there!! Wonderful!


You say:

Next is a review of a book:

REVIEW of "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order"

He writes:

(Link to article)

I would add that as we are of the West and the West represents largely the continued existence of Greco-Roman civilization as "baptized" by Christianity down to our own time, the question is whether the moral resources of the West and hence its willingness to fight are so depleted that they will be overcome by the "non-Western many."

Please note the word fight here. Instead of presenting views on how different religions and cultures can co-exist and live together in peace this man wants to talk people into a fight.

--Obvious misinterpretation. He's not talking about churches, but about civilizations and their influence and clashes, following a quote of Huntington precisely about that (" central lines of conflict in global politics... counterforces of cultural assertion "). This is the context of the book. Fight here seems to have no other meaning than cultural influence, in a purely historical point of view. The clash may be considered much more as an inevitable fact than as a good thing to be pursued. Question: is Huntington a new fascist?

[..] In the West, it is the worship of the one and triune God as revealed to us in Christ through the Church; in Islam it is Allah as revealed by his prophet Mohammed in the Koran; for the Chinese it is a millennial old culture of ancestor worship with other influences of the moral philosopher Confucius and the mystic Buddha. For Catholics especially the ever- increasing tension between these three civilizations is of crucial and intriguing importance.

A tension that would not be there if people like him would not create it.

--Tensions between civilisations are much more complex than that, and are created by reality above all. Differences between East and West are more profound than differences between Christianity and something else.
Peace cannot take place with relativism, but with a deepening of one's own identity. It's implied by the concept of "differences" some people (among them relativists) like so much to talk about.
Also, tension is a general concept, created by any difference whatsoever. So you create tension by criticizing Opus Dei, by being against what is creating tension, by FIGHTING against "Fascism", etc. etc.
We may apply the same kind of reasoning to the Republican revolutionary army who committed the Vende "genocide" or populicide (killing all the families, especially the women, with an extinction goal) in defense of Liberty, because the royalist revolt was "against liberty".

[..] Until the Second Coming, the Church exists in the world, and one of its most important needs is the basic freedom to exercise its mission of sanctification and evangelization i.e. freedom of Catholic worship, education, and family morality as reflected in a nation's laws. These basic rights for Catholics are largely non-existent at the present time in the sphere of Sinic (China) influence and under Islam, and they are very much under attack in what is normally constituted as the West ( Europe and North America).
Islam has on several occasions in past centuries almost conquered the Christian West through a combination of aggressive and coercive proselytism and bloody jihads. John Paul II wants to make sure that it does not happen again. He wants to make sure that the "civilization of love and truth" that he desires and foresees is allowed to develop and flourish without external threat, be it from Islam, the decadent modern West, or China.

No Comment.

--Where is the factual mistake? Catholics are not persecuted in the world? in China? Churches were not closed? There is no need of defenses against that? So why is there a need of defenses against "fascism"? Isn't lilberty good for Catholics also?


You say:


He writes:

(Link to article)

A snapshot of what is right with the Church as we end this millennium and begin another was the closing Mass on Sunday August 24th of the World Youth Days in Paris. This was the largest Mass in the long history of France. A million young people, double the number expected, gathered together, in the most stifling heat Paris has experienced in this century, to endure discomfort, lack of sleep, and thirst in order to praise God and worship him in the Eucharist

I am sure 99% of the young people there would not want to be associated with the fascist ideology of Escriva and McCloskey.

--They don't have an Opus vocation, that's all. But I'm sure at least half of them are "kind of " fascists if we take your meaning of the word, that is, they share a lot of values with fascism (a leader with a lot of symbols, dogmas, big crowd gatherings, a christ who pretended he was God, a church with a non-liberal philosophy and criticizing secularism, an amount of anticommunism, etc. )


You say:


The article is rather long and deals mostly with the writings of the Pope on the portions of Vatican II on that matter. While the words of the Pope and the Vatican Council will be something most Christians will agree with, it seems he also understands them most of the time. Once in a while he has to twist his logic a bit to avoid obvious contradictions with Opus Dei doctrine. The point here is the role of lay people:

(Link to article)

The Second Vatican Council makes clear that the laity "have the capacity to assume from the hierarchy certain ecclesiastical functions, which are to be performed for a spiritual purpose" (LG #33). This involvement is good and necessary. However, the idea, unfortunately, is indeed widespread in our country, due to a faulty interpretation of the Conciliar documents, that the laity manifests its involvement in the Church chiefly through participation in liturgical functions, parish councils, church positions, etc., rather than in family, work, political, social, and cultural life. In short, in some circles there is an emphasis on sharing "power" rather than service and a concept that somehow the laity become more integrated in the life of the Church the more clericalized their function. Apart from the danger of this clericalization for the identity of the laity itself, this train of thought leads inevitably to a shirking of responsibility for the state of the world by Catholic laymen; at the same time the enemies of God and the Church will not find any determined opposition to their machinations by committed Catholic laymen. However, totally committed Catholics are needed on the sports field, on Broadway, in the university, in the media, and indeed in all legitimate activities, as well as being involved in liturgical and parochial activities.

Well his explanation here is rather weak: if they are involved too much in the Church they will not be able to work in the world. bah. All he is doing here is searching for an excuse for why they do not want to "share power" - His language reveals a lot of his true motivations here: accumulating "power". The power to tell the dumb masses what is right and wrong. Take a look at the chapters about leadership and obedience in "The Way".

--True, his argument about efficiency is not strong. But he is also talking about identity and differences between roles, and that is crucial for the understanding of the faith. The remaining of your interpretation is preposterous and hostile; we can see any intentions we want in any action: we can say that the reason you fight Opus is that you're a communist spy for North Korea, all delirium is permitted, cause we cannot check intentions...
The subject matter here is the role of priest; as Opus priests are a small minority in the world, the particular role of the priest cannot be interpreted as favoring Opus Dei. Don't forget also that the directors of Opus Dei houses are all lay people.


You say:


He writes

(Link to article)

[..] With the passage of more centuries, Christian ideals lived out in the world by persons and families gradually transformed the West into a form of a Christian culture which we know as the Middle Ages. In our own time, following the gradual dissolution of that particular culture through, in part, such historical events as the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the titanic struggles of ideas and ideologies of the last two centuries (Darwinism, Marxism, Freudianism, and so on), we are called to do the same. [..]

While his extreme hostility towards Marxism will not be new to the reader who knows about Opus Dei's fascist ideology, we also find the intolerance towards other religions here: When he mentions "Reformation" here he writes against the Protestant Church.

--It is a fallacy to say that hostility to Marxism is Fascist. t is M, T is M.
Intolerance cannot mean to be against something, because each time we say a proposition is false we would be intolerant. You would be intolerant toward Opus. To say that there are Heresies in Protestantism (or in Opus, for that matter) has nothing to do with intolerance, unless you call intolerance all what is not relativist (and then you have a relativist dogma and are bound to become intolerant, etc.).

Ok. Now for the dirty details:

But now on to more practical matters. How do we "make" converts? [..] It is said that the most effective way to raise money for a good cause is to simply ask for it. The same may be applied to our situation. The question " Have you ever thought of becoming a Catholic?" addressed to many people over the course of our life will certainly produce not only converts but also interesting and thought provoking conversations and new personal relationships. You may have to practice this line in front of a mirror a few times just as you did before asking out your first date.

Practice in front of the mirror? Maybe like an actor prepares for the acting he does? Well this suggestion also reveals a lot about his attitude towards manipulation of people. Opus Dei gives training lessons to it's members on how to approach new potential members..

--Look just at the next sentences: " You generally will be surprised at how flattered, if somewhat surprised, people are at the question. Naturally it has to be emphasized that we are not approaching perfect strangers. Indeed, if we are not in the process of developing a deep and lasting friendship with the potential new member of the Church, then our question lacks authenticity and will be rightfully judged as impertinent and insincere."
So looking for potential vocations is seen in conjunction with authentic (but christian ) friendship. There is no proof of contradiction between a voluntaristic approach and sincerity in doing good to someone.

It is essential that you get to know them well, particularly their religious background, if any, so, as is said in the vernacular, you "know where they are coming from. " Of use in this regard would be a thorough reading of Separated Brethren (Our Sunday Visitor), a survey of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and other denominations in the U.S. by William J. Whalen. By engaging in conversation on this point you will be inviting your friend, and committing yourself, to go deep below the surface of everyday trivialities into the heart of the matter. Why are we here? What is truth? Is there a right and wrong? Is there a God? An afterlife? Is Jesus Christ God? Did he found a Church during his lifetime? If so, which one? Do we need to belong to it to be saved? Of course, you need to be not only willing to discuss and answer these queries but prepared..

So this is what it is all about: Their understanding of the apostolate is not bringing the joyful message of Jesus (The Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, etc.. churches also have that) but to convert people away from their believes. I am a Catholic person myself but I feel deeply ashamed of this kind of arrogant thinking that the Catholic Church is the only Church that is in possession of the one and only Truth(tm). Moreover I feel deeply ashamed of all the evil
ideology that is mixed with God's word and that this Organisation wants to press into the Catholic Church. I pray to God that they will not succeed with that.

--This is a proof you're no more Catholic, but irenic-eclectic and relativist. Of course, if Protestants are right about everything, there is no reason to be Catholic. All the same for Christianity and Christ himself. He's no more God, since we can go for Buddha.
There is simply no way to escape the truth that among religions some propositions are contradictory and incompatible: if some are true the other are false and we must choose.
What you call an arrogant thinking is simply the teaching of the council on (precisely) eocumenism:
"It is through Christ's Catholic Chuch alone, which is the all-embracing means of salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained" (On Oecumenism #3).
So yes, dogmatic truth and authentic sacraments, etc. are in the Catholic Church, other churches having part of it, along with heresies or mistakes.


One of McCloskey's new writings is an extremly dense account of his political ideology:
2030: looking backwards Is a piece of fictional writing where McCloskey envisions a future for the USA and the Catholic Church (or what Opus Dei thinks of what it is). I really recommend to read it this article as a whole. It has everything in it. It describes his personal utopia of a right wing christian thecratic regime and how to get there by a scessional war in the USA:

(Link to article)

"The tens of thousands of martyrs and confessors for the Faith in North America were indeed the "seed of the Church" as they were in pre-Edict of Milan Christianity. The final short and relatively bloodless conflict produced our Regional States of North America. The outcome was by no means an ideal solution but it does allow Christians to live in states that recognize the natural law and divine Revelation, the right of free practice of religion, and laws on marriage, family, and life that reflect the primacy of our Faith."

--Your interpretation is delirious. There's no question of a war but of "strong persecution". I don't see how the fictional regime might be theocratic since Catholics would be 10% of the population. Unless you take "natural law" (or right reason) to be right wing and theocratic. But that use of language would be the same as your use of "fascism": it would mean nothing.
And you don't consider that a fiction doesn't necessarily reflects what the author wishes in all aspects.