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Monday, August 23, 2021

Church Militant’s Hatred for the SSPX Explained: Part 3 - Do Opus Dei and Church Militant Share a Nest?

Birds of a feather flock together….and sometimes nest together as well!

For 25 years I have published a quarterly newsletter in the Diocese of Arlington. I use my personal home address for mailing rather than a P.O. Box. Anyone who noticed that the address for the newsletter and my home address are the same could reasonably conclude that I am deeply involved and committed to the work. In fact, it would be unreasonable to conclude that I had nothing to do with it. My name is actually on the newsletter, but let’s presume for my point, that I published anonymously. It wouldn’t take much of a Sherlock to figure out my connection. 

Which brings us back to the connections between Church Militant, Opus Dei, and Opus Dei supporters. 

Let me begin with what sounds like a joke. Networthspot.com, which calls itself the “largest resource that estimates influencers’ net worth,” lists OD’s worth at $100,000 but say it could be as high as $250,000. You read that right. The $3 billion OD organization is seen to have a net worth of only a quarter of a million dollars at most. How could that be? How could one of the wealthiest Church-affiliated organizations in the world get such a ludicrous summary of its net worth? How could an organization with a building in Rome that takes up an entire block and a massive headquarters in New York City, and about 2,000 OD residences around the world get such a “net worth” evaluation? 

Good question.

Perhaps it’s because of OD’s accounting practices which hide their massive holdings. Few, if any, are listed as belonging to OD by name, but the organization continues to multiply and grow with many none-the-wiser to the true scope of OD’s financial power and influence. Most of OD’s schools and residences operate under secular names with nothing indicating a connection to Opus Dei or even religion. Try to find a residence with the name of a saint; you’ll be looking until the final judgment. Take a few examples. Their female residence in South Bend near Notre Dame iscalled the “Southold Center for Education.” Their national office in Manhattan, a 17 story building on Lexington Ave., is called “Murray Hill Place.” One of our daughters attended OD’s Oakcrest High School for a few years when it was located in D.C. Their brother school was called The Heights. Virtually all of OD’s holdings use the same secular disguises while the programs offered in these “charitable and educational organizations” are all based on OD spirituality and practices.

The Irish Times recently ran an article by Arthur Beasley titled “Opus Dei Charity Planning Multibillion-Euro Apartments Scheme in South Dublin” another OD for-profit enterprise expected to rake in millions for the “work of God.” So under what name is this project being advanced? The Glenavy Educational Foundation. If you look them up on-line,  there is NO indication that Glenavy is connected to Opus Dei in any way. 

Researcher Randy Engel exposes the manipulative way Opus Dei operates in her article, “All the Men Behind the Opus Dei Curtain.” She links many of OD’s holdings to “auxiliary societies” operated by supernumeraries who essentially act as front groups with names that keep OD so far in the background as to be virtually invisible to those not in-the-know. She writes that, “Even when such entities are not technically owned by the Prelature, they are subject to the authority of the Prelature. Such an individual may become merely a ‘front man’ or ‘shell’ or ‘public face’ for what is, in reality, an Opus Dei operation.”

So back to Mike Voris and Church Militant. You no doubt thought Real Catholic TV, the precursor of Church Militant, was a project of Michael Voris, but it was not! It was operated by Greenstar Enterprises, Inc. run by OD supernumerary Marc Brammer. The organization shares his home address in South Bend, IN. So how did the media partnership begin? Voris met Brammer in 2008 when he gave a lecture on “the role of Catholic media in the age of the internet” at the Windmoor Center, another Opus Dei residence, this time in South Bend. That’s where Voris and Brammer first planned their venture, Real Catholic TV, with Brammer providing a quarter of a million for the startup and owning the organization. Brammer and Voris later separated when Terry Carroll arrived on the scene with his big bucks. Carroll’s hatred for the SSPX was so deep that he described their activities as worse than abortion and labeled all those who supported them as “spiritual pornographers.” 

One particularly interesting fact about the media startup of Real Catholic TV is that their original studio (They moved in 2012 to their current address at 2840 Hilton Rd. In Ferndale.) was located at 22007 Woodward Ave. also in Ferndale. That was also the address of an Opus Dei center that opened in about 2006. OD priests offered Mass and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament there and ran a number of OD events on the property based on OD spirituality. So from at least 2008-2012 Voris was intimately involved with OD, their priests and their spirituality, nesting side by side so to speak.

What’s Voris’ current status with the group? Does OD still share the nest? I haven’t researched who provides Mass at the new studio — yet. Would it be surprising if OD continues their cozy relationship with Voris and company? Are they the deep pockets behind CM?

And speaking of Mike Voris, is he one more front man, a “cooperator” in “the work.” That would explain a lot about the vicious attacks on the SSPX and CM’s failure to examine with the same magnifying glass the many, many scandals associated with Opus Dei including sex abuse.

I’ll close by echoing one of Randy’s questions. Is St. Michael’s Media an Opus Dei apostolate? OD engages in many media works. Is CM just one more?

TO BE CONTINUED….




15 comments:

Dymphna said...

Thank you

Kate said...

You seem to have a lot of animosity towards Opus Dei. Could you please explain why?

Happy said...

You've made the mistake of confusing what members of Opus Dei do vs. the mission of Opus Dei.

What a supernumerary member does on his own time/dime is FAR different from what the organization does, approves, funds.

He receives formation from Opus Dei. He doesn't work for Opus Dei.

It's like blaming the Knights of Columbus for what some Knight in his own freedom and apostolate decides to do.

You don't understand Opus Dei, at all.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I’m well aware, Happy, that supernumeraries do not “work” for Opus Dei in an employer-employee relationship. As for your comment, Kate, the only “animosity” I have is for those who manipulate and take advantage of others, especially the young.

Mary said...

Just a thank you for your and Randy Engel’s research and exposing the OD/CM connection. Canon212 also hinted at $$$$ behind the attack on the SSPX by CM. Makes sense to me. There was something bothering me about Voris style for a long time now. He still carries residue baggage I think and the money cloud which hangs heavy over his head does not help any honest reporting.
Mary W

Andrew Dunn said...

Mary Ann. You know you’re doing a good job when combox trolls start attacking. Keep up the good work!

Opus Dei’s secret society culture is eerily similar to that of freemasonry. As things rapidly shake out, exposing the anti-Church, the SSPX is looking more and more like the true Remnant Church. The fact that they are so visciously slandered by OD and “church militant” like the Church was right before the French Revolution speaks volumes.

Happy said...

Supernumeraries receive Z E R O direction in terms of where they work, what they invest in.

If a member asks their spiritual director about a particular apostolate, they may get gentle questions about "will you still be home at night to spend the night with your family?"..."how will this activity affect your availability to your wife".

ZERO funding and ZERO direction from the organization. ZERO.

You did not make your case. Shot full of holes.

It's like blaming Legatus if a particular member gambles, becomes an alcoholic, decides to support Donald Trump.

You're short of a compelling argument. You could have made that article 2x as long (and wow, was it already long) and you'd have no case.

Aqua said...

Happy: Here’s some additional info to chew on. There are those out there who feel like cult survivors who have been spiritually abused. That (that they exist) is simply a fact.

https://odan.org/tw_how_opus_dei_is_cult_like

https://odan.org/

I think Mary Ann is doing a nice job laying out facts that match publicly available info, and also anecdotal stories, in the public domain. I never much thought about them before. I’m open to both sides of the story at this point. What she says has the ring truth to it. Your response, so far, not as much.

Either way, something really screwy is going on at CM. That is a fact. OD involvement piques my interest, since this (the vendetta) sure seems beyond the scope of small fries like Voris and Niles.

Michael Ortiz said...

Mary Anne,

"the many, many scandals associated with Opus Dei including sex abuse".

How about some numbers, some facts, some details? This is a smear campaign, pure and simple.

I've been around OD for 35 years.

How many mentions have I heard of the SSPX?

ONE.

Happy is correct, in my experience. I think it's fine not to like OD, but for a faithful Catholic to go on the war path against them is weird.



(btw, I like the SSPX, and pray for them)

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Stay tuned, Michael. There are a lot more than one sex abuse case. I'm researching. But there are other forms of abuse as well. Sucking minors into "whistling" without their parents' knowledge or consent is a form of abuse that is every bit as damaging psychologically and mentally as sex abuse.

Michael Ortiz said...

Well, okay.

I guess that's one way to put it. Aquinas taught that one's parents aren't always the best guides to their children's vocations. Again, in my experience a minor who is interested in a vocation to OD can, say when he's 20, just WALK AWAY.

Aren't we, also, giving in to the modernist, liberal idea that any strong requirements and such is "abuse".

See: US Marine corps.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Michael, I don't know if you are a parent, but if you are your comment is baffling! Any religious organization that tells MINORS not to talk to their parents about joining their organization is violating the 4th commandment. I'm shocked that any serious Catholic could be okay with that. As for a child "when he's 20" who can "just WALK AWAY" overlooks the years of manipulation and brainwashing when the young numeraries can't even go shopping for new shoes without an older numerary with the purse strings. Christine Niles has made a big deal about Jassy Jacas and her changing testimony against the SSPX. Read some of the witness stories on the Opus Dei Awareness Network (odan.org) The manipulation is shocking.

Aqua said...

Michael Ortiz: I have nothing to add to Mary Ann’s observations, but did want to say a word in defense of the Marine Corps.

The difference is in the output. The difference is in the goal of leadership in what they are forming. For 236 years, they have been the premier fighting force in the world and they have produced men several levels above their civilian peers … a few notches above their military peers. They are the best fighters and embody the best of masculine and patriotic virtue. I know Marines, as a former member of the military, and when I see one, I am in awe. The organization has a history of forming mighty, virtuous (in the Platonic sense of that word) fighting men upon whom our nation’s survival has depended for almost her entire history.

Now, in these times, if the same organizing principles of the Marine Corps were used to inculcate a DIFFERENT set of values in service of a different set of goals and aspirations such as, oh, I don’t know, “wokeness” perhaps; critical race theory gender and race warriors? THAT would be another matter entirely. It has to do with the spirit of the place and the thing. The Marine Corps has been protected by its leadership for its entire history from “spiritual” infection of its fighting and patriotic ethos. Those days may be over. It’s leadership may have been overrun by evil men with evil intent who can use the Marine Corps training structure to wreak grave detestation on unsuspecting recruits who do, indeed, as you say, open themselves up to the transformative power of the Marine Corps training regimen.

And that, I think, is where the difference of opinion lies between you and the blog’s author. You see the inner intent of Opus Dei as benign at worst and spiritually positive at best. Mary Ann, (and I tend to agree) contends it is benign at best and more likely spiritually destructive and damaging at worst. You see those in charge of OD as godly, positive influences in the formation process. The author (if I may speak for her) sees them as something much different than you do and malign. And that difference, imo, is the tale of Opus Dei. Ripe for spiritual advance or abuse - depending upon the spirit of those who guide it.

Btw, appreciate your comments in support of the opposing view. I disagree with them, but you present a good case - one that can be reasoned with

Happy said...

As a former Marine and a supernumerary member of OD, I can make the comparisons, including the distinctions of which there are many.

Opus Dei "exists" to provide formation: Catholic formation in doctrine and in Christian virtues. It provides this formation to ANYONE, member of not. It offers additional formation to members SO THAT they can offer it to the world. It does so with a tremendous focus on individual freedom.

Once you're in the Marine Corps, you give up a lot of freedom, but the "maneuver warfare" mindset of the Marine Corps tends to push responsibility for action down to the lowest level, seeing that doing so causes the Marine to grow in responsibility and agility.

OD does this as well in many regards. How I live "apostolate" in OD is up to me. I discuss what I am doing ("giving a class at a my parish") but am never told what to do or what to say. They trust me to do it well, and to be faithful to the Church's teaching.

OD exists to help Catholics struggle to be holy in their ordinary circumstances without clericalizing them. Membership varies by the availability a person has to provide others formation.

Most members are married.

The Marine Corps exists to make Marines and win battles.

Both the Marine Corps and OD tend to attract people who want to "struggle" a lot and to grow in virtue.

In the Marine Corps you will often find the risers of stairs ("ladder wells") in barracks painted with various military virtues, as reminders to live these virtues at all times. Red background/Yellow letters.

Neither OD or the Marine Corps tells you what to think politically, or what to do in your private time. Both do tend to attract people who believe highly in traditional values and virtues. But there is plenty of "spread'.



Michael Ortiz said...

Happy,

Thank you for these posts. Very fine. In fact, one of my best friends is a retired Marine officer. I am in awe of this man's struggle for virtue and his love of God, Church, and Family. I largely agree with your comparison.

I would respectfully respond to Mary Ann by saying in 35 years around OD, I have neither seen or heard of such cases as she describes in regard to abusive formation. I'm sure there have been, since 1928, some real jerks in the organization, but this side of heaven, tell me where that never holds of any group you can name.

I have several children. All attended OD schools. They still practice their Faith in their 20s. Some like OD more than others. This is to be expected. If I ever heard of any of them being manipulated or treated as described in Mary Ann's post, I would have blown a gasket. But that kind of thing...NEVER happened.

I would finally say that I am astounded by the overly eager attitude some traditional Catholics show in regard to "finding out" the real dirt on OD. Niles does this with the SSPX. I can't see how St. Paul would approve.

That's it for me here. I'll pray for all who read this blog.

God bless.