Opus Dei is made up of lay members and priests; Opus Dei laity continue to work in the secular world, but remain under the strict spiritual direction of Opus Dei. All Opus Dei members follow "the plan of life," made up of spiritual practices such as daily Mass, rosary, spiritual reading, and mental prayer, as well as Opus Dei prayers and customs.
There are different classes of membership in Opus Dei:
Supernumerary These members may be married, and live with
their families. They follow the same "plan of life"
as the numeraries, but generally do not know about many of the
details of numerary life. They contribute large portions of their
income to Opus Dei, often at the expense of their local parishes.
Associate Opus Dei members also pledge celibacy, but they generally do not live in Opus Dei houses. They include people who have not acquired university degrees, or who must remain with their families for personal reasons.
Numerary assistants are women who pledge celibacy, and are responsible for the care and cleaning of all Opus Dei residences.
Cooperators of Opus Dei provide financial support, but are not considered members of Opus Dei. Unlike Opus Dei members, cooperators do not have to be Catholic.
Despite its seemingly noble intentions, Opus Dei has stirred up controversy in countries all over the world. Families of Opus Dei members are almost never involved in the vocation process, (in fact Opus Dei itself often discourages its new members from even telling their families about their decision!) Also questionable are Opus Dei's recruiting tactics, which are comparable to the tactics used by cultic groups.
Perhaps most controversial is the effort to canonize Opus Dei's founder, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, who died in 1975 and was beatified amidst substantial controversy in 1992, and will be canonized on October 6, 2002 in Rome, Italy.
Also controversial in the early 1980's was the granting of Opus Dei to be a "personal prelature" within the Church. A personal prelature is an entity within the Catholic Church that is headed by a "prelate" (currently Javier Echevarria) and defined by persons rather than by geographical area (such as dioceses). Therefore, local bishops have little control over Opus Dei's membership, activities or practices.
Opus Dei has stated that there are approximately 80,000 Opus Dei members worldwide. Opus Dei is located in many countries, including England, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, countries in Central and South America, and many others, including the United States. Opus Dei generally locates in or near major cities, often near prestigious universities, where they hope to attract recruits.
Since its inception in 1991, ODAN has been in contact with people from all over the world who have experienced the questionable practices of Opus Dei. Many are former members; others who have contacted ODAN include parents, siblings and friends of current or former Opus Dei members; priests and religious, including bishops and campus ministers; news reporters from both the Catholic and secular press, and many more. From the contacts ODAN has made, it has become apparent that wherever Opus Dei is, there is controversy. (Posted to website May 13, 2002 http://www.odan.org/what.htm )
Posted to website May 13, 2002 - http://www.odan.org/questionable.htm
In The Daily Telegraph article "Opus Dei lifts lid without revealing secrets", Isambard Wilkinson interviews numerary Luis Gordon, who responds to the accusations that Opus Dei is dripping with riches. He said it was impossible to gauge its wealth. "There are no figures." (See Newsbriefs)
ODAN has uncovered "some figures" for most of the close to 100 Opus Dei-affiliated foundations we have identified in the United States. Where possible, we have linked the foundations, which include elementary, middle and high schools, service projects, numerary residences, college residences, universities, publishing houses, etc., to the Guidestar non-profit site that provides financial information via the IRS Form 990, on which they declare their income, assets, and statement of purpose. The combined total of assets that Opus Dei declares in the United States alone is between $334,161,030 and $419,777,164. ODAN has listed in a second table many Opus Dei-affiliated works oversees. Unfortunately, the finances are not available for these.
The foundations are organized by state and include California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington DC are including Virginia and Maryland, and Wisconsin. Also listed is New York, location of the North American Headquarters Building, known by the sign outside as Murray Hill Place. Many of the centers where numeraries live are strategically located near prestigious schools including MIT, Northeastern, Boston University, University of Notre Dame, UCLA, Colombia, Harvard, Boston College, Princeton, Marquette, University of Illinois, Brown University, Georgetown University, Rice University, UC Berkelely, Stanford University, University of San Francisco, St. Louis University, and American University.
To echo Michael Walsh, author of Opus Dei: An Investigation into the Secret Society Struggling for Power within the Roman Catholic Church, Opus Dei will no doubt say that the foundations on the list do not belong to Opus Dei, but to the members of Opus Dei. He says, "But it is a sophistry to distinguish either of these kinds of enterprise from purely Opus Dei ones. First, all profits made by numerary members in whatever capacity accrue to Opus itself. That is the consequence of the obligation of poverty which they have taken upon themselves. Even supernumerary (or married) members are under pressure to give as much as possible to the organization. Secondly, no numerary member certainly, and probably no supernumerary member either, will enter upon a business enterprise without having discussed it at length with his or her director; the obligation to be entirely open with the director applies in this sphere as in any other. And there is a third point: 'Members of Opus Dei, whether they are acting individually or through associations which might be cultural, artistic, financial, and so on, do so through what are known as 'auxiliary societies.' In their dealings, these societies are equally subject to obedience to the hierarchical authority of the Institute.' (1950 Constitution, paragraph 9)"
For more details, see the list of Opus Dei-affiliated foundations in the United States and other Opus Dei works around the world.
In order to better understand this list of Opus Dei-affiliated
foundations, please read Escriva's Empire in the United States
by Sharon Clasen. She attempts to show the patterns of location
and purpose of the Opus Dei-affiliated foundations in the United
States and to disclose the finances of these Opus Dei foundations.
Posted to website September 11, 2002 - Revised November 9, 2002
Below are three tables. The first table lists Opus Dei-affiliated foundations in the United States. Many are strategically located near prestigious schools including MIT, Northeastern, Boston University, University of Notre Dame, UCLA, Colombia, Harvard, Boston College, Princeton, Marquette, University of Illinois, Brown University, Georgetown University, Rice University, UC Berkelely, Stanford University, University of San Francisco, St. Louis University, American University, and more. To access the financial information for the U.S. foundations, click on the foundation, which is linked to Guidestar, then click on the 990 forms.
The second table lists sites affiliated with Opus Dei outside the United States. No financial information is available about these sites. We have also added a third table which includes a list of countries with an Opus Dei presence.
Note that neither of the first two tables is comprehensive. To the best of our knowledge, this information is accurate. If you have any corrections or additions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to better understand this list of Opus Dei-affiliated foundations, please read Escriva's Empire in the United States by Sharon Clasen. http://www.odan.org/foundations.htm
By Peter Gould
BBC News Online - The creation of a new saint by the Pope has become such a regular event at the Vatican that it does not usually cause a stir. During his papacy, John Paul II has canonised more than 450 men and women - more than any other pope in history. But the latest ceremony, due to take place in St Peter's Square on Sunday, is being seen as highly significant.
In Latin, Opus Dei means "Work of God". The organisation
is relatively small, with just over 80,000 members in 80 countries
around the world. Fast track to sainthood: Josemaria Escriva
The papacy of John Paul II, which has upheld traditional moral values, has enabled the organisation to flourish, and its influence to spread.
Some members of Opus Dei, though not priests, choose to remain celibate. They donate their salaries to the organisation, and often live in group homes where men and women are segregated.
They practise "self-mortification" - including fasting and flagellation - as a way of reminding themselves of how Christ suffered.
Opus Dei was founded on the principle that ordinary Catholics can achieve holiness in their everyday lives.
Critics accuse the organisation of being secretive and elitist. They have expressed concern over its recruitment methods, likening it to a religious cult. http://www.odan.org/foundations.htm
Bankers, lawyers and politicians are among its members. Nobody applies to join Opus Dei; membership is by invitation only.
But while the organisation has attracted criticism, many admire the piety of its members.
John Paul II clearly approves of the way the organisation defends traditional moral values, seen as under threat in a modern world.
Given his own background, he has also been impressed by its support in opposing communism in countries like Poland.
The Pope has rewarded Opus Dei by giving it special status in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, allowing it an unusual degree of independence.
This papal seal of approval represents remarkable progress for an organisation that was only founded in 1928.
Now, by making the founder of Opus Dei a saint, the Pope is giving further recognition to the group, and underlining its growing influence at the highest levels of the church.
The views of Opus Dei are now listened to at the Vatican, and the Pope's official spokesman is a member.
Once the process took centuries, but Josemaria Escriva has been on the fast track to sainthood.
The Spanish priest died as recently as 1975, but he was beatified, the first step towards canonisation, in 1992. Only 10 years later, he is being promoted to the ranks of the saints.
Even allowing for the enthusiasm of the present pope for creating saints, Escriva's progress has been meteoric, and some Catholics have protested that negative aspects of the saint's life have been glossed over.
A group describing itself as former members of Opus Dei has sent a letter to the Pope attacking Escriva for his "arrogance and malevolent temper... his indifference to the poor, his love of luxury and ostentation".
And it accuses Opus Dei of causing "moral damage" through its culture of secrecy.
Pilgrims pray by the remains of the saint
Opus Dei is strongest in Spain, but there is also a big following in Latin America. Among those coming to Rome for the ceremony are 300 Peruvian farmers.
An Opus Dei website is now trying to change the perception of the organisation, both inside and outside the church.
Membership is not secret, it insists. But there is no reason for people to publicise their membership. It continues:
"A lay person's approach to holiness in Opus Dei is something personal, an aspect of his or her private life."
And the website says that Opus Dei has been "misunderstood".
"Anyone familiar with history will hardly be surprised to find some controversy surrounding a relatively new institution of the Church," it says.
Indicating the growing power and prestige within the Catholic Church of the Opus Dei organization was the turnout at a congress in Rome in January to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the group's founder, Josemaria Escriva. Pope John Paul II was among 1200 participants, and the Italian government unveiled a postage stamp in Escriva's honor.
How to Prevent Opus Dei From Recruiting Within And Taking Over A Catholic Young Adult Group, College/University Campus Ministry Or Any Other Catholic Organization Updated: November 28, 2002 http://pw1.netcom.com/~mjr40/od/guide.html
We are graduates of the now closed Denver St Th omas Catholic Seminary where the late Bishop george Evans started the first ever biblical study center to identify cults, starting with the Vatican. We were closed down after his death and now Opus Dei is down the street from the Religious Rico Calvary Temple Second Mile Hebrews 6:6 Axis of Evil. Do you have any research on these two groups? We would like to sponsor a Socratic Forum if posssible? For Jesus and the Truth for the next generation Chaplain Mary Murphy, MA, NHA, The Bishop George Evans Center, 2830 Fenton, Edgewater, CO 80214 Veteransjustice@AOL.Com 720 366 3046
The other organization is not known to us and we could not
find anything but the word RICO brought an interesting page.
They could have something to do with the "RICO Act".
Here is an excerpt from the page:
Those arrested include four women accused of relaying information for the gang and a man accused of distributing its drug profits.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the US attorney's office in central California, told BBC News Online: "We have cut the head off the snake, but the snake has a habit of growing a new head.http://www.gospelcom.net/apologeticsindex/rnb/archives/00001433.html