The Opus Dei Connection…
In order to understand the Church Militant/Opus Dei connection, one needs to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the OD network. So let’s take a look at their background.
The story actually begins, not with Jose Maria Escriva, OD’s founder, but with another Spanish priest, Fr. Francois Vallet, a young Jesuit who developed an abbreviated version of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Most people don’t have the leisure to do the entire 30 days. Fr. Vallet’s vision was to develop a five day retreat based on the Exercises. (As someone who’s been making a five-day Ignatian retreat annually for almost 20 years, I consider myself a beneficiary of this holy priest’s activities.)
With the approval of his superiors, Fr. Vallet left the Jesuits to found the Parochial Cooperators of Christ the King. (OD’s “cooperators” echo Vallet’s idea.) Their mission focused entirely on offering the five day Ignatian retreat. From 1923 to 1927 they grew from 19 retreats annually to 35 reaching a total of nearly 13,000 retreatants. Fr. Vallet’s movement spread to France as well. The proof of the holiness of Fr. Vallet’s enterprise is graphically demonstrated in the fact that 5,000 of his spiritual children died a decade later at the hands of the Communist “Republic” during the Spanish Civil War.
So what does Fr. Vallet have to do with Msgr. Escriva? For whatever reason, the bishop of Madrid suppressed Fr. Vallet’s work in 1928 and banished him. While he was busy persecuting this holy priest, he was, at the same time, busy elevating Escriva who was given the go-ahead for his “work of God” only a few weeks after Vallet’s dismissal. Escriva adopted some of Vallet’s practices for engaging the work of the laity in evangelization. However, as OD empire has grown to a nearly $3 billion dollar enterprise, it’s clear Escriva’s vision was quite different from Fr. Vallet’s.
So what is the organizational structure and the strategy of OD? There are different levels of commitment. Numeraries are fully fledged and committed members vowed to celibacy. Numeraries turn over their salaries to OD and are given an allowance and live in a controlled environment both spiritually and physically. Among the practices required of these fully committed individuals is the use of a spiked cord around the upper thigh worn for several hours a day and use of the “discipline” for flagellation once a week. They report regularly to their lay directors about their recruitment efforts and personal life, keeping detailed log accounts. One of OD’s strategies is to go after the young and they even draw minors into their work urging them not to inform their parents of their involvement because their parents “won’t understand.” It is an especially seductive siren song to young, devout, and impressionable youngsters. Among their strategies is to tell members it is a “grievous” and sinful matter to leave OD. Are you are beginning to sense a cultic atmosphere?
The largest group of members are the supernumeraries, mostly married, who actively support the work with their time and money and encourage the involvement of others. Since OD focuses on presenting an elite corps to the world, many of these supernumeraries are intelligent, attractive, and, above all, wealthy.
Escriva himself loved luxuries and some of his closest co-workers testify that they never saw him reach out to the poor. In fact, one numerary, Miguel Fisac, who worked closely with Escriva and OD for two decades and witnessed his tight-fisted dealings with the poor, attempted to testify during the canonization process, but was rebuffed as were other devils advocates critical of Escriva.
A third level of membership are the cooperators, those who support “the work” with their time and finances. They may not even be Catholics. No matter, their money and influence are most welcome. This type of “ecumenism” was condemned by a number of popes before Vatican II, but has become normative in the conciliar Church where modernism reigns and Tradition is considered old fashioned.
One of the most troubling aspects of OD is their relationship with young women, the “numerary assistants,” recruited to clean OD’s houses all over the world. Some of these women were recruited as young as 14 or 15 with promises of being “trained” in housekeeping and catering skills. Family information gathered during interviews before and after hiring was used to manipulate some of these children into making lifetime commitments to OD while keeping their families in the dark. The Opus Dei Awareness Network carries testimonies of this type of exploitation suffered by these women.
Church Militant ran an article in in May about a lawsuit by 43 numerary assistants. Unlike their coverage of the SSPX dubbed as “Sympathetic to Perverts,” the CM headline read - “Opus Dei Members Allege Unpaid Wages” with a sub headline, “Opus Dei Denies Claim, Says Women Donated Their Compensation.” Note the difference in treatment of OD vs. the loaded language used to malign and demonize the SSPX.
OD has 4,000 of these “numerary assistants” who “donate” their salaries to the work and receive no or little social security. Anyone of them who leaves “the work of God” is likely to be destitute. The horror stories are legion, but CM has done little to discuss this crime, one of the four that cries to heaven for vengeance. And when they do bring it up, it’s with a totally different tone than that used against the SSPX. Witnesses among these exploited women who are essentially sculleries for the dozens of OD centers around the world, describe the radical difference in living arrangements for them compared to their so-called “equals” among the elite, well educated women numeraries.
Don’t expect CM to become advocates for these exploited women or to make much of those sexually abused by OD connected priests and laity. They can’t use them as cudgels to beat up the SSPX.
It becomes increasingly clear that CM’s agenda is only to defend victims of abuse and exploitation if their stories assist the goal of damaging the SSPX. When stories involve OD abuse, like that of Fr. John McCloskey, the high profile priest who oversaw Newt Gingrich’s conversion, CM totally lowballs them.
OD paid out almost a million dollars to one of McCloskey’s victims in 2005. After paying the hush money, OD shipped the priest off to England, then Chicago, and then to California. He was finally removed from ministry but not until 2017 when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Only recently did the story come out. So how did CM respond? They did not attack OD for their “cover up” or malign OD’s leadership. They hardly covered the case at all, in fact, simply linking to the Washington Post Story.
This type of hypocrisy exposes CM for what they are — an agenda-driven organization bought and paid for by OD-connected individuals like Terry Carroll who remains on their board of directors and works for them five hours a week. How much are they actually beholden to Carroll who, according to several sources, wrote the 2014 CM “manifesto” condemning any criticism of the pope? Who knows?
That’s also about the time that Church Militant’s shooting war against the SSPX began. Carroll’s hatred of the SSPX is well known. Why does Carroll have so much influence at CM? And is he just a front man for Opus Dei? Answering that question would go a long way to explaining Church Militant’s obsession with destroying the SSPX.
Are they paid assassins?
TO BE CONTINUED….