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Opus Dei : A Dialogue Between Friend and Foe


A lot has been said about Opus Dei, but because the Prelature doesn't have a controversy culture - such a culture not fitting in its spirituality - very few studies have been done about the enemies and/or most vocal critics of Opus Dei. I feel the usual arguments of those must be analysed to understand the whole situation better and to see what kind of common ground, if any, is behind the anti-Opus Dei thinking. This may be, I think, full of enlightening material.

I am a friend of Opus Dei and had a discussion with the author (www.mond.at/) of the site Opus Dei - The Unofficial Home Page , whom I want to thank for the dialogue he had with me. The latter site likes to present itself as balanced,but it is obvious that the author is enthusiastic about everything negative that can be said about Opus Dei. One may think that its arguments are not as good as those of other critics, but nevertheless I think they are roughly representative of the general line of anti-Opus Dei argumentation.

The text with which the dialogue started is the F.A.Q. of the Unofficial Home Page. Criticism of the interpretation of The Way follows rigorously the development of this F.A.Q.

The criticism and replies' quotations follow this table of content (Links above):

-Criticism #1 about Opus Dei & reply
-Criticism #1.1 about Opus Dei
-Criticism #2 about Opus Dei
-Opus Dei & Jesuits
-Criticism #3 about Opus Dei
-Interpretation of the Way (Opus Dei main book on spirituality)
-Interpretation of McCloskey (Opus Dei priest)
-Opus Dei : A book by Maria Carmen Tapia (ex-member of Opus Dei)
-An hypothesis about conflicting evidence on Opus Dei

The books quoted most often are:

Mgr. Escriva, The Way;
M.C. Tapia, Beyond the Threshold - A life in Opus Dei;
J. Estruch, Saints and Schemers - Opus Dei and its Paradoxes;
St. Ignatius Loyola, Constitutions of the Society of Jesus

P.S. (2006) A great deal of my discussion with the author of the Unofficial Homepage was concerned with the rhetorical use of the word "fascism". I've just now discovered, 5 years later, that he is a communist, member of the Party (Austria). At first I thought it was a joke (on the site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_dei; but the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mond confirms it (also http://www.oekonux.org/list-en/archive/msg01365.html).  Now, everything becomes clear about the use of the term "fascism". In  Communist litterature, "fascism" is everywhere; it's another word for non-communism or non-leftwing-socialism. As I say in the following pages, the author is really arguing from outside the Catholic Church.


Tom is an ex-member of Opus Dei, critical of the institution, who suggested an exchange of arguments about some points discussed above. The result, I feel, has been twofold: one one hand, I was not convinced by his general theological criticism, quite the contrary, because I felt it shown part of the usual suspect pattern of thought of anti-Opus Dei argumentation; on the other hand, he convinced me that two main topics should be studied, casuistry and vocation, and gave me very interesting details about the latter that permitted what I felt was important progress on my part in understanding the situation.
In a third page, on St. Liguori, vocation and Opus Dei, I try to put some pieces of the puzzle in place.
In a fourth page, I quote one of the main sources about Opus Dei, St. Ignatius Loyola.

-Dialogue with an Ex-member of Opus Dei  #1 (Arguing ad hominem-Theology of vocation in Opus Dei-Vocation in Opus Dei and consent-Orthodoxy in Opus Dei)
-Dialogue with an Ex-member of Opus Dei #2 (Private revelation-Evil results -Deception in Opus Dei-Changes in Opus Dei-Article by Roche on Opus Dei)
-St. Liguori et Als on Vocation and Opus Dei
-St. Ignatius Loyola Again and Opus Dei



(Criticism ad hominem-Traditionalismin Opus Dei-Totalitarianism-Index of Books in Opus Dei-Jesuits & Opus Dei-Inquisition)

P.S. English is not my first language. I hope these texts can be understood anyway...


                  Posted Sept. 2001
                  Updated Nov. 2003

Link to Opus Dei site

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Link to Matt's F.A.Q. about Opus Dei

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Link to Opus Dei links

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Link to Opus Dei blogs

Link to Opus Dei article in Wikipedia




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