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POPE WILL CANONIZE BLESSED JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA ON SUNDAY ^ | October 1, 2002 | Vatican Information Service

Posted on 10/01/2002 9:10:54 PM PDT by heyheyhey


VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 2002 (VIS) - On Sunday October 6, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary time, John Paul II will celebrate the Eucharist at 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square and will canonize Blessed Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei. On this occasion, we offer a biography of the new saint.

Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was born in Barbastro in 1902, in northeastern Spain, near the Pyrenees. The second of six siblings, he grew up in a cheerful family, acquiring the Christian faith from his parents and from school. He soon came to know suffering through the death of his three younger sisters and the bankruptcy of his father. In 1915, his family moved to Logroño where his father had found a new job.

In 1918, Josemaria realized that God wanted something of him. He understood that he must give himself completely to God and become a priest to better fulfill the divine will. He started his ecclesiastical studies in Logroño and entered the diocesan seminary of Saragossa in 1922. He also pursued studies in Civil Law with the permission of his superiors. In 1925, he received the Sacrament of Ordination and started his pastoral ministry, dedicating himself completely to it. Meanwhile, he waited patiently to know what God's divine will was for him.

In 1927 he moved to Madrid in order to obtain a Ph.D. in civil law. After his father's death in 1924, Josemaria became the head of the family, and as a result his mother and siblings moved with him. In the Spanish capital, he took on an intense pastoral work, serving especially the poor, the sick and children. At the same time, he supported himself and his family with other jobs, like teaching law courses. His priestly apostolate also extended to university students, artists, laborers and intellectuals. When these young men came into contact with the poor and sick attended by Josemaria, they grew in charity and solidarity and became more conscious of their social responsibilities.

On October 2, 1928, during a spiritual retreat in Madrid, God showed Josemaria the light he had been waiting for and he founded Opus Dei or 'Work of God'. Its goal is to remind all those who are baptized that the Christian vocation is a call to holiness and apostolate, and to promote a personal commitment to follow Christ, to love the Church, and to search for holiness in ordinary life among men and women from all sectors of society. Since 1928 Josemaria Escriva worked tirelessly at the foundational mission he had received, without considering himself an innovator or a reformer. He was convinced that the Holy Spirit continuously renovates the Church, which Opus Dei seeks to serve.

In 1930, with new foundational light, he saw that the mission confided to him by God must also include women.

In 1934, the first edition of The Way was published, originally titled. It is the most widely read book of Josemaria Escriva, with some 4 million copies sold. He is also well known in spiritual literature for other titles such as "The Holy Rosary", "Christ Is Passing by", "Friends of God", "The Way of the Cross", "Furrow", "The Forge" and "In Love with the Church."

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was a considerable obstacle for the newborn foundation. Those were years of suffering for the Church and her faithful and the founder of Opus Dei also suffered personally. However, they were also years of spiritual growth and hope.

In 1940, after the end of the civil war, he began to preach spiritual exercises to hundreds of priests in response to petitions from bishops throughout Spain. Meanwhile, under his leadership and encouragement, Opus Dei began to extend throughout the peninsula. With the Second World War (1939-1945), preparations to begin apostolic work in other European countries slowed down momentarily.

In 1943, Josemaria saw the way for Opus Dei to have its own clergy, with priests incardinated in the Prelature. Thus the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross was founded. The priests, together with the lay faithful, belong fully to Opus Dei, forming an organic whole with mutual cooperation in the apostolate. This organic cooperation, has been confirmed and established by the Church in the juridical configuration of the Prelature.

The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, in collaboration with the bishops of the local Churches, also carries out activities of spiritual formation for diocesan priests and seminarians.

Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer moved to Rome in 1946. From 1945 to 1975, the apostolic work of Opus Dei started in some thirty countries, under his direct encouragement. Between 1946 and 1950, the Work received successive pontifical approvals needed to serve better the universal Church and the local Churches. The members of Opus Dei worked actively, faithful to its fundamental elements which include the goal of holiness in ordinary life, serving the Church and the Roman Pontiff, secularity, love of personal freedom and responsibility, and respect for pluralism in political, social and cultural themes.

From 1948 married women and men could also belong fully to Opus Dei, seeking holiness in their own circumstances. In 1950, the Holy See approved the admission of people belonging to other religions as cooperators. Thus, Christians from other confessions as well as members of other religions started to collaborate formally with the apostolic undertakings of Opus Dei.

In the 1950's, Josemaria Escriva promoted many initiatives that would help meet different needs within society: professional training schools for men and women, technical schools for farmers, universities and schools, hospitals and clinics, etc.

During the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Founder of Opus Dei met numerous Council Fathers and experts, who saw him as a forerunner of many of the master lines of the Second Vatican Council. Profoundly identified with the Council's teaching, he diligently fostered its implementation through the formative activities of Opus Dei all over the world. As a result of the deliberations of the Council, the Church's solemn Magisterium was to confirm fundamental aspects of the spirit of Opus Dei, such as the universal call to holiness, professional work as a means to holiness and apostolate, the value and lawful limits of Christian freedom in temporal affairs, and the Holy Mass as the center and root of the interior life.

Between 1970 and 1975, he undertook long catechetical trips throughout Europe and America. There he had many get-togethers that were formative. He talked about God, the Sacraments, Christian devotions and the sanctification of work.

Josemaria Escriva passed away in Rome on June 26, 1975. Shortly after his death, many faithful requested the Holy Father to open the cause for his beatification and canonization.

On May 17, 1992, three hundred thousand people joyfully attended his beatification. The ceremony which was centered on the Eucharist was rich in symbolism with holiness as its theme. It was celebrated by Pope John Paul II and presided by an image of Our Lady, the Mater Ecclesiae. Christ, Our Lady and the Pope were Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer's three greatest loves and the purpose of his life and priestly ministry.

For more information about Opus Dei, please consult the following web site:

TOPICS: General Discusssion

1 posted on 10/01/2002 9:10:54 PM PDT by heyheyhey
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To: JMJ333; american colleen; narses; father_elijah; BlackVeil; nickcarraway; attagirl; Salvation; ...
2 posted on 10/01/2002 9:14:34 PM PDT by heyheyhey
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: Goldhammer
Right on. Anti-Escriva propagandists can go pound sand.

<> LMAO Amen. They will be shrieking like seagulls warring over one Pier French Fry spilled onto the sand at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.<>

4 posted on 10/02/2002 5:09:37 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Goldhammer
Doesn't matter what the Pope does on this. Escriva left behind a trail of witnesses who knew him as a dishonest, self-indulgent hothead. These people were never heard because the Vatican was not interested in their negative input, but were pushing for his quick canonization to reward Opus Dei. In other words, the fix was in. This is just another scandal coming out of Rome these days. It has made what had been a slow, rigourous process, a travesty.
5 posted on 10/02/2002 12:13:26 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: heyheyhey
Since Vatican recently claimed the UN its new moral authority, shouldn't that body be consulted first?
6 posted on 10/02/2002 12:54:22 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: Catholicguy
Nobody will be shreiking in protest. Why should we? All this does is confirm our conviction that this is not a papacy that is careful about the truth.
7 posted on 10/02/2002 12:55:46 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
"Escriva left behind a trail of witnesses who knew him as a dishonest, self-indulgent hothead."

Of course, the same could be said about Jesus. Dishonest? Well, there were those who scoffed at His claim of Godhood. Self-indulgent? Well, there was that whole business about 'notfasting when the bridegroom is present,' and who can forget all that money wasted on perfumed oil for His feet which could have gone to the poor. And as for being a hothead, one suspects that 'brood of vipers,' the Pharisees, could attest to that.

Indeed, many saints throughout history left a 'trail of witnesses' who asserted the same. So I suppose Blessed Josemaria Escriva is in good company.

8 posted on 10/02/2002 1:50:28 PM PDT by AlguyA
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To: AlguyA
You guys can rationalize anything. Are you Democrats by any chance? What the Vatican is doing is as political as the New Jersey Supreme Court's recent decision. It rewrites the rules to fit its friends in the same way. Are we supposed to respect that? Escriva actively pursued a title in his later years. He was a lover of luxury himself, yet he showed no compassion for the poor. This is all on the record. Rome is starting to pick its saints the way it picks its bishops. This is another huge disgrace.
9 posted on 10/02/2002 7:12:50 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: onedoug
This has nothing to do with moral authority or the UN.
10 posted on 10/02/2002 9:43:40 PM PDT by heyheyhey
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To: heyheyhey
"This has nothing to do with moral authority or the UN.

Of course it does.

Where does the Pope derive this authority to canonize Saints if not from God? God who certainly demands morality of us. And certainly not least of which is to confront evil, as did Christ when tempted by it in the wilderness and in the Temple. That, if which we do not do, then of what value is any other Good we do in God's name, of which the reverence of canonized saints is part, no?

But alas, now the Pope evidently has determined that the essence of right and wrong emanates not from God, but from the UN, who's imprimatur the US must first seek to confront what only amorality could construct as not evil in this Hitler reincarnate in Saddam Hussein, who, for all he knew, was poisoning the earth's entire atmosphere when he set the Kuwaiti oil fields on fire in retreat from his first attempt at merely their domination.

Thus the Pope's authority by the same logic in all things ecclesiastical must also be rooted, and I've seen no authority from the UN yet approving of this canonization.

11 posted on 10/02/2002 10:53:51 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: onedoug
Since Vatican recently claimed the UN its new moral authority, shouldn't that body be consulted first?
It seems this about the Vatican’s position that Iraq should only be attacked with UN approval? That is not the same as your statement. You also said “But alas, now the Pope evidently has determined that the essence of right and wrong emanates not from God, but from the UN.” If the Pope had said this I would have to agree that he is a moral relativist, but he didn't say that.

Suggesting that the UN should approve an attack on Iraq is a rather limited suggestion. The Vatican has not, in contrast, suggested that the UN should approve all American laws, for example, nor that the UN should dictate what treaties the US should sign, welfare law, tax law, moral laws in the US, and the like. (The UN may want to do that, but it has no support from the Vatican on these things.)

No one is suggesting the UN is the Vatican’s new moral authority, and in fact the Vatican has often been critical of the UN’s stances on moral issues, such as the UN’s support for abortion.

Thus the Pope's authority by the same logic in all things ecclesiastical must also be rooted, and I've seen no authority from the UN yet approving of this canonization.
The Pope has not suggested that the US must have UN approval for all things has it? Does he think the US needs UN approval to hold elections this year? I suspect the Vatican won’t be attacking Iraq without UN approval either, but that is as far as the analogy can go.

patent  +AMDG

12 posted on 10/03/2002 11:20:40 AM PDT by patent
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To: patent
I would disagree that the Pope doesn't meddle in American law to the extent of decrying capital punishment for even particularly heinous murderers here, or welfare and tax matters in that he seems basically to subscribe to a more "equitable" distribution of wealth, which at least suggests socialism, which is even more antithetical to human creativity, innovation and industriousness than whatever "evil" he might find in capitalism, which I believe has brought more good to the world than any other system...and particularly under the auspices of America.

My emphasis on morality is that it indeed emanates from God, which the Jews realized at least 600 years prior to Protagoras' penning that, "Man is the measure of all things," which is certainly a subscription to moral relativism, in that good derives but from reason, which can as easily lead to the rationalization of "...But I was only following orders...."

Where, speaking of the Jews of course, leads us to Islamism and the current war, and that didn't the Pope actually kiss the Quran some months, or perhaps even years ago in audience with some Muslim clerics? Now, honestly, that strikes me as morally relative to a "religion" that at least seems like a fraud co-opted by a war-mongering pedophile from pre-existing Judaism and Christianity. A view which I'm open to being disuaded from if such countering evidence exists. But it doesn't.

Rather in fact, the Church, and the Pope have stated many views toward equating the islamist agenda - particularly with regard to the so-called "Palestinians" - with that of Israel, and now America, apparently as blindly (charitably), ignorant to, or just plain dishonest in recognizing that it is the same enemy of us all.

Thus I might be spared in thinking the Pope either morally relative, or at least grossly disingenuous on this score.

And that you might excuse me now, since my lunch period is ending and I should...indeed must - lest I be similarly so accused - get back to work.

13 posted on 10/03/2002 2:04:52 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: ultima ratio; onedoug
"Leopards In The Temple" by John Martin

Yet, as a number of Escriva intimates have testified, there was a much less attractive side. Miguel Fisac, a leading Spanish architect and one of the early Opus Dei numeraries (he remained one from 1936 to 1955), remembers an Escriva who "spoke well of no one," had so exalted a view of his mission that he was "completely convinced that he had been chosen by God to reform the Church," and who was not above insisting on a considerable degree of splendor in his surroundings, and especially in the mother house in Rome: "Millions and millions of pesetas were invested in luxuries of low artistic quality, but in the Renaissance manner, because all of these frivolous details were of the greatest importance to him." [12]

Nor did Escriva belong to that tribe of Catholic pathfinders who take a special interest in those at poverty level. "During the time I knew him," Fisac comments, "I never saw him with any poor people." As a postscript, he tells the story of a former high school companion who came to him (Fisac) to ask for money to help with his family's desperate financial situation: "I told him to come back the next morning as I could not make that decision myself. I consulted my director and he absolutely forbade me to give him anything. He himself was forbidden to consent by the spirit of Opus Dei."[13]

For these and similar reasons, Fisac felt "morally obligated" to testify before the beatification tribunal. To his surprise, he found his testimony wasn't wanted. He is convinced the tribunal eliminated him from consideration simply because "they knew my appraisal was going to be first hand and completely objective, and I was not going to stop to think whether what I said favored or hindered the case." Fisac's charge is echoed by Kenneth Woodward, religion editor of Newsweek and a persistent Opus Dei critic who refers to its members as the "Mormons" of Catholicism. In a 1992 article, he asserted that Opus Dei had sufficient influence on the tribunal to prevent critics of Escriva from testifying. Woodward was later to say: "It seemed as if the whole thing was rigged. They (Escriva's supporters) were given priority, and the whole thing was rushed through." [14]

Another Escriva intimate whose testimony didn't make it beyond the security guards, so to speak, was Spain's Maria Carmen del Tapia, head of Opus Dei's female section in Venezuela and at one time Escriva's secretary. She was summoned to Rome in 1965 for such breaches of discipline as allowing the women under her to go to the Opus Dei priest of their choice and for complaining about the amount of direction coming from Rome. Ultimately, Escriva obliged her to resign, but before that final answer, she reported feeling the full wrath of outraged authority: for eight months she was kept under what amounted to house arrest in Rome, allowed no contact with the outside world by telephone or mail, and refused permission to return to her family in Spain. Escriva, she reports, had concluded for his own mysterious reasons that she'd had physical relations with not one but two Opus Dei priests. At her tumultuous expulsion hearing, she quotes him thus: "You are a wicked woman! A lost woman! Mary Magdalene was a sinner, but you? You are a seductress! Leave my priests alone! Hear me well! Whore! Sow!" [15] A number of years later, in an account that appeared in the National Catholic Reporter, she commented, "My astonishment is infinite when I hear now that Monsignor Escriva is in the process of beatification." [16]

A third whose testimony was zealously ignored was the eloquent John Roche who, as a graduate student at Oxford in 1972 (he'd then been an Opus Dei member for 13 years), concluded that "the ethos of Opus Dei was entirely self-centered, sectarian, and totalitarian, and that it was misleading the Church about important aspects of its character." [17] Following his resignation in 1973, he became one of its most articulate critics and in 1979 persuaded the august London Times to take a reportorial interest. The Times subsequently printed a profile of the organization and called for an investigation into its practices. The most impressive result was that England's Cardinal Hume, for one of the few times any Church figure has ever been bold enough to look at Opus Dei without fear and trembling, actually did something. In 1981, he published guidelines that obliged Opus (in England only, of course) to discontinue its practice of the secret recruitment "of children under 18, to allow its members to receive outside spiritual direction, and to allow them to leave if they wanted to." If those guidelines are still followed in England, it's probably still the only place on earth where Opus Dei has to deal with any authority except its own.

In any case, just before calling it quits at Opus Dei, Roche photocopied some 140 editorials from Cronica, Opus Dei's chief internal magazine. They leave little doubt about how serious and single-minded Escriva was in pursuing his dream of an ever-expanding prelature. Here are a few samples:

"Go out to the highways and byways and push those whom you find to come and fill my house, force them to come in; push them…we must be a little crazy…you must kill yourselves for proselytism." [18]

"There is not a single man on earth, a single soul to whom God has not sent us…our inheritance is the whole world…all the seas belong to us…" [19]

"As Jesus received his doctrine from the Father, so my doctrine is not mine but comes from God and so not a jot or title shall ever be changed." [20]

If this is not outright Napoleonic megalomania, it's certainly a novel form of humility -- especially in someone supposedly giving off the rose-scented odor of sanctity. Humanum est errare -- but if your doctrine comes pure and entire from God Himself? Is even hubris a strong enough word?

Another awkward item for those who choose to look at Escriva through saint-colored glasses is the curious business of his having sought and gained a title of nobility. Nor was this some youthful indiscretion. Escriva was a full 66 years old in 1968, when he petitioned for and was granted the title of Marques de Peralta. [21] Though he insisted it was only a form of belated recompense to his family for their sacrifices in preparing him for the ministry, it seemed all too consistent with some earlier behavior in the department of status-seeking: in 1940, he had upgraded the family name in tone and texture by adding the four euphonious syllables of "de Balaguer" (the Catalan town where his family may have originated) to the rather plain Es-cree-VAH. [22] In any event, as Michael Walsh writes in his book on the society, this concern with name and rank "would seem to be untypical of someone whose fundamental humility is among the virtues his supporters list as his case proceeds for canonization…particularly in the light of his spiritual treatise Camino (The Way): 'Honors, distinctions, titles, things of air, puffs of pride, lies, nothingness.'"


12. An Interview with Miguel Fisac, Opus Dei Awareness Network, Inc., 2000, p. 27.
13. Ibid, p. 30.
14. Martin, James. "Opus Dei in the United States," America, 25 February 1995, p. 9.
15. del Tapia, Maria Carmen. Crossing the Threshold: A Life in Opus Dei. New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1997, p. 277.
16. Walsh, op. cit., p. 155.
17. Roche, John J. "The Inner World of Opus Dei: Evidence from Internal Documents of Opus Dei and testimony." Linacre College, Oxford. 15 June 1982.
18. Cronica, iv, 1971.
19. Cronica, iv 1964.
20. Cronica.
21. Walsh, op. cit., pp. 14-15.
22. Fisac, op. cit., p. 12.

14 posted on 10/03/2002 10:07:07 PM PDT by Dajjal
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To: ultima ratio; onedoug
Ad Orientem
Wednesday, October 02, 2002

by Mark C. N. Sullivan

"Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain. . . Glorified be pain!" Josemaria Escriva, The Way

A Procession of Flagellants, Goya

Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva, to be made a saint Oct. 6, is said to have been so fierce in beating himself with a cord-like whip called a "Discipline" that he routinely spattered the bathroom walls with blood.

The Opus Dei movement Escriva launched is today seen in the vanguard of the Catholic Church's New Evangelization, and is influential from Rome to K Street.

Yet certain devotional practices of the society remain positively medieval. These exercises in corporal mortification include wearing for two hours a day a spiked chain called a “Cilice” that breaks the skin around the upper thigh, and beating oneself 33 times once a week with the “Discipline.”

Opus Dei members interviewed by the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper said whipping is a form of suffering for God.

Martinez was put off by reading that Escriva whipped himself until he bled when she began looking into Opus Dei. “When I read that, I didn’t understand, because I always thought God gave me my body and he wants me to take care of it,” she said.

When she raised the issue with her Opus Dei spiritual director, he said that some people are called to emulate the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Others are not.

Suffering and sacrifice aren’t unusual in modern culture, said Hefferan, citing the grimaces she often sees on the faces of joggers in the morning. But most people do it for themselves, she said, while Opus Dei members do it for God.

“Sacrificing for God is the foreign idea,” she said.

Reporter Isambard Wilkinson of the Telegraph raised the issue of self-flagellation in this highly readable take on Opus Dei:

SHORTLY after I arrived in Madrid, long before other religious organisations knew of my existence, I received a telephone call from an Opus Dei official.

"You may not know who we are," he said in a consciously unthreatening voice. "But would you like to come and have an informal discussion about things?"

Sipping sherry in the organisation's press office in Madrid, I quickly appreciated what the message was. "You will hear all sorts of inaccurate theories about Opus Dei. We have no political influence at all. There is nothing strange about us," said Luis Gordon, Opus Dei's press officer.

Most Spaniards will tell you that Opus Dei is mysterious but offer very little information on what the organisation does. Most prefer merely to shudder at the mention of its name.

According to its critics, Opus Dei is a secretive and conservative religious order of well-placed people who form a near-Masonic shadowy influence behind Spain's political and financial elite.

Opus Dei's swiftly expanding influence at the heart of the Vatican makes it an obvious target for conspiracy theories. That is perhaps unsurprising as the group is known to favour practices with more than a whiff of the medieval - including the wearing of cilicios, pointed chains which dig into the thigh, or self-flagellation with a five-tailed whip while chanting the Salve Maria.

The Opus Dei man has a timeless take on the issue: "Do you like pretty women? So do I. Do you know what effort they make to get a nice figure, and increase their height with high heels - this is a very hard mortification, much more than a cicilio.

"Why does society accept this terrible mortification and then is scandalised when people do it for God?" asked Mr Gordon.

An entertaining feature in The Economist 10 years ago on old-boy networks from Skull and Bones to the Trilateral Commission looked at Opus Dei:

THE Jesuits have been around longer, but Opus Dei is rapidly supplanting the older, more intellectual order as a powerful elite at the heart of the Catholic Church. Although the organization is fairly secretive, it received unprecedented publicity earlier this year when 150,000 members descended on Rome for the beatification of the organisation's founder, Monsignor Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer.

Opus Dei (literally, the work of God) originated in Spain in 1928, but has now spread its network through 80 countries. Many of its members are recruited at school and university. Although only 2% of Opus Dei members are priests, the organisation's adherents dedicate themselves to prayer and self-discipline. The real masochists live in residencies run by the Opus Dei, where they practise self-flagellation and wear uncomfortable spikes on the inside of their trousers. But most members of the society live outwardly normal lives and keep their membership of Opus Dei a secret, even from close friends and relatives.

Outsiders hoping to identify members of Opus Dei must look for tell-tale signs. Somewhere in the house of most members will be a small model of a donkey, representing the ass that Christ used to enter Jerusalem. A whiff of Atkinson's cologne, the favourite of Escriva, is also a giveaway.

The canonization ceremonies Oct. 6 no doubt will see Rome awash in asses and Atkinson's.

The Flagellants, photogravure after the painting by Carl Marr

15 posted on 10/03/2002 10:08:59 PM PDT by Dajjal
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To: ultima ratio; onedoug
Corporal Mortification in Opus Dei

Corporal mortification is regularly practiced in Opus Dei. It is perhaps one of the most startling aspects of Opus Dei life for people outside the group. Many of the practices of corporal mortification were at one time more regularly practiced within the Church; however, due to modern psychology and thinking, the practices which inflict pain are sometimes considered to be counterproductive to one's spiritual development, as they can easily lead to pride and an unhealthy attitude toward one's body.

Some acts of corporal mortification may be helpful in checking the desires of the flesh, such as fasting. However, in Opus Dei, especially for the numerary (celibate) members, all of the practices mentioned below are mandatory if one wishes to live the "Spirit of Opus Dei" fully. The "Spirit of Opus Dei" is the standard of living, as outlined by the Opus Dei directors, for which all truly dedicated Opus Dei members strive. Under the umbrella of the "Spirit of Opus Dei" hide many of the abuses in Opus Dei. The subtle control to conform to the norm is typical in groups which practice mind control; members are "guilted" into conforming, feeling that they must in order to follow "God's will" as it is outlined by the controlling group.

Listed below are the ways Opus Dei numeraries practice corporal mortification:

* Cilice : a spiked chain worn around the upper thigh for two hours each day, except for Church feast days, Sundays, and certain times of the year. This is perhaps the most shocking of the corporal mortifications, and generally Opus Dei members are extremely hesitant to admit that they use them. It is a painful mortification which leaves small prick holes in the flesh, and makes the Opus Dei members tentative about wearing swim suits wherever non-Opus Dei members may be.

* Discipline : a cord-like whip which resembles macrame, used on the buttocks or back once a week. Opus Dei members must ask permission to use it more often, which many do. The story is often told in Opus Dei that the Founder was so zealous in using the discipline, he splattered the bathroom walls with streaks of blood.

* Cold Showers : Most numeraries take cold showers every day and offer it up for the intentions of the current Prelate.

* Meals : Numeraries generally practice one small corporal mortification at every meal, such as drinking coffee without milk or sugar, not buttering one's toast, skipping dessert, not taking seconds, etc. For the most part, eating between meals is not practiced. Opus Dei members fast on the Church's prescribed days for fasting, but otherwise must ask for permission to fast on their own.

* The Heroic Minute : Numeraries are encouraged to jump out of bed and kiss the floor as soon as the door is knocked in the morning. As they kiss, they say "Serviam," Latin for "I will serve."

* Silences : Each night after making an examination of conscience, numeraries do not speak to one another until after Holy Mass the following morning. (They do not say "Good morning" to anyone as they are getting ready.) In the afternoons, they try to avoid speaking until dinnertime. On Sundays, numeraries generally do not listen to music, especially in the afternoons.

Some forms of corporal mortification differ according to your gender, as the following table shows:

Male Numeraries:
* Sleep on the floor once a week.
* Sleep without a pillow once a week.
* Allowed to smoke and go to bars with recruits, for the purpose of drawing them closer to Opus Dei.

Female Numeraries:
* Sleep on boards laid on top of the mattress.
* Sleep without a pillow once a week.
* May not smoke or enter a bar.
* The Founder believed that women had passions that required more discipline to tame.

A former numerary wrote to comment on Opus Dei's corporal mortifications:

"The cilice and disciplines are so foreign to the experience of most people, that they just conclude that Opus Dei is very odd for mandating them. That is true as far as it goes, but there is a more important point to be made. Because of the dangers of masochism, the traditional Catholic teaching on this sort of mortification is that it be done under obedience to a spiritual director. Such supervision in fact exists in Opus Dei, although often authority is entrusted to people who lack requisite maturity and prudence. The real point is that even if the cilice and the discipline are acceptable forms of penance, their use shows that Opus Dei members are NOT ordinary people, are not free agents."

Relevant Quotes from the writings of Opus Dei Founder, Josemaria Escriva

"Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain. . . Glorified be pain!" (The Way, 208)

"No ideal becomes a reality without sacrifice. Deny yourself. It is so beautiful to be a victim!" (The Way, 175)

"Obey with your lips, your heart and your mind. It is not a man who is being obeyed, but God." (Furrow, maxim 374)

"And be watchful, for a spark is much easier to extinguish than a fire. Take flight, for in this it is low cowardice to be "brave"; a roving eye does not mean a lively spirit, but turns out to be a snare of satan. Yet human diligence, with mortification, the cilice, disciplines and fasting are all worthless without you, my God." (Furrow, 834)

"They [Opus Dei numeraries] shall maintain the pious custom, for the purpose of chastising the body and reducing it to servitude, of wearing a small cilice for at least two hours daily; once a week they shall take the disciplines as well as sleeping on the floor, providing that health is not affected." (Opus Dei Constituciones, article 147)

"To defend his purity, St. Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, St. Benedict threw himself into a thornbush, St. Bernard plunged into an icy pond... You... what have you done?" (The Way, 143)

"What has been lost through the flesh, the flesh should pay back: be generous in your penance." (The Forge, 207)

"If you realize that your body is your enemy, and an enemy of God's glory since it is an enemy of your sanctification, why do you treat it so softly?" (The Way, 227)

"Your worst enemy is yourself." (The Way, 225)

"You have come to the apostolate to submit, to annihilate yourself, not to impose your own personal viewpoints." (The Way, 936)

June 3, 1998

Posted to website May 13, 2002

16 posted on 10/03/2002 10:10:13 PM PDT by Dajjal
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To: Dajjal
Truly interesting. Thank you. Though I don't believe God wants us to be slaves.
17 posted on 10/04/2002 8:41:57 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: heyheyhey
Thanks, I always thought Opus Dei was a cult. I guess not since the pope is making the guy who founded it a saint.
18 posted on 10/08/2002 10:25:36 PM PDT by Coleus
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