Opus Dei

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Opus Dei formally known as The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, is an organization of the Roman Catholic Church that teaches the Catholic belief that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity.

Civil leadersEdit

  • Bearing a secret sword of goodness and truth, Opus Dei is the most important spiritual movement of our time.
  • Amidst the cynicism and materialism of our time, it is impossible not to be heartened by Opus Dei's dedication to cultivating the potential spiritual and practical gift of every person and every occupation.
    • Elizabeth Fox-Genovese
  • Opus Dei is dedicated to the peculiarly modern mission of sanctifying life - and especially work - in the world. The very title, which means the work of God, captures the essence of this mission.
    • Elizabeth Fox-Genovese [1]
  • I am convinced that the wake left by Msgr. Esciva de Balaguer is more profound, more lasting, and above all more luminous and salvific than what we the greater part of his contemporaries can imagine. His role in the economy of salvation is preeminent. Immersed in a 20th century which is incredulous and cold, he has known to set the world on fire: Ignem veni mittere in terram...He has contributed to the life of the Church a new impulse, a new youth, opening wide the door of sanctity to the laity. It is impossible to exhaust the richness of the contribution of Msgr. Escriva to the Church.
    • Gustave Thibon
  • Opus Dei plays an extremely important role in the Church today. Its mission of helping people find holiness in their work is a very important one. It also provides spiritual direction and inspiration to many people of all ages, both Catholics and non-Catholics. I have the highest regard for the work and members of Opus Dei.
    • Evelyn Birge Vitz, Statement, February 16, 2004.
  • On the surface Spanish society appears very secular, but in the twentieth century Spain gave birth to one of the most successful reform movements in contemporary Christendom, Opus Dei. My sense is that there is more to be hoped for from such radical and disciplined forms of Christian renewal than from praise bands and casually dressed clergy.
    • Robert Louis Wilken, [2]
  • The work of Escrivá de Balaguer, will undoubtedly mark the 21st century. This is a prudent and reasonable wager. Do not pass close to this contemporary without paying him close attention.
    • Pierre Chanu(Vue Culturell, 5-6 February 1983)
  • The Christian West cannot exist without the Christian East, and vice versa. That is why Pope John Paul II spoke about the “two lungs of Europe.” Escrivá, in proclaiming the idea of a “Christian materialism,” unites the two lungs. He spiritualizes matter, understood in the West in so pragmatic a way, and he materializes the spirit, which is too spiritualized in the East. That’s why I say that the teaching of Josemaría Escrivá is inherently ecumenical.
    • Evgeni Pazukhin
  • In my experience, the activities of Opus Dei are better organized, more unobtrusively hospitable, and more clearly thought through than are those of any other organization, religious or secular, known to me. In a church that lately has often mistaken incoherence for simplicity and disorder for spontaneity, Opus Dei breathes a refreshingly competent spirit. The Work, quite clearly, works.” “Opus Dei members seem to me as healthy, non-fanatical, and ordinary as any average group of Catholics who take their spiritual lives seriously. The young people in particular seem both happy and happy to have found a solidly Catholic group that encourages them to live good lives in the world of today.
    • Robert Royal
  • What happens in the Church always has repercussions in the world, and vice versa. It seems that the world perpetually feels the need for a sinister Catholic entity towards which it can direct its more general anti-Catholicism. The Jesuits in their heyday did nicely for that purpose. Now that they have, for the most part, become hard to distinguish from the Zeitgeist, it was probably inevitable that another Catholic scapegoat be found. Spanish in origin, ambitious in its disciplines, unusual in its organization, above all successful, and clearly destined to play a major role in the future of the Church, Opus Dei was a perfect candidate for the honor.
    • Robert Royal, “God’s Work,” First Things, May 1998.
  • [Opus Dei] is one of the Church’s most active and effective instruments of evangelization and renewal.
    • Matthew Bunson, From EWTN Catholic Q&A, May 1, 2003.
  • Now we have a saint for workers!
  • Opus Dei seeks to open the eyes of all mankind to the nature of holiness; it is precisely the spirituality needed in our times.
    • Charles H. Malik
  • I found it very moving and inspiring to see a humble priest proclaimed a saint in the presence of hundreds of thousands of people. I think the message is clear: when people are living their lives in a manner where they are fulfilling their responsibilities, being good husbands, sons or daughters, they are doing something very important in God’s eyes. You don’t have to be a rock star or an athlete to live your life right.”
    • James Nicholson, Statement made at the canonization of St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, on October 6, 2002.
  • Having spent the greater part of my life working in the business world, I am conscious of the need to 'place Christ on top of all human activities,' as Msgr. Escriva put it, so that men and women in every honest working activity can come to know, love and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Thomas A. Murphy

Catholic leadersEdit

PopesEdit

John XXIII lauded Opus Dei and said on 5 March 1960 that it opens up "unsuspected horizons of apostolate."

Paul VI said that the Work is "an expression of the perennial youth of the Church, fully open to the exigencies of a modern apostolate." (Handwritten letter to Msgr. Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer, 1 October 1964)

John Paul I said just before the start of his brief papacy that Escrivá's teachings are "radical; he goes as far as talking about "materializing" --in a good sense-- the quest for holiness. For him, it is the material work itself which must be turned into prayer and sanctity." [3]

John Paul II: “[Opus Dei] has as its aim the sanctification of one’s life, while remaining within the world at one’s place of work and profession: to live the Gospel in the world, while living immersed in the world, but in order to transform it, and to redeem it with one’s personal love for Christ. This is truly a great ideal, which right from the beginning has anticipated the theology of the lay state, which is a characteristic mark of the Church of the Council and after the Council.” L’Osservatore Romano, August 27, 1979. [4] He established Opus Dei as a Personal Prelature in 1982 and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in 1990, and canonized its founder in 2002.

John Paul II: “With very great hope, the Church directs its attention and maternal care to Opus Dei, which -- by divine inspiration --the Servant of God Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer founded in Madrid on October 2, 1928, so that it may always be an apt and effective instrument of the salvific mission which the Church carries out for the life of the world. From its beginnings, this Institution has in fact striven, not only to illuminate with new lights the mission of the laity in the Church and in society, but also to put it into practice.” Ut Sit, November 1982 (the apostolic constitution by which Opus Dei was made a personal prelature of the Catholic Church in accord with Code of Canon Law sections 294-97).

John Paul II: "In the 65 years since its foundation, the Prelature of Opus Dei, an indissoluble unity of priests and lay people, has contributed to making Christ's saving message resound in many walks of life. As Pastor of the universal Church, echoes of this apostolate reach me. I encourage all the members of the Prelature of Opus Dei to persevere in this work, in faithful continuity with the spirit of service to the Church which always inspired the life of your founder." Address to Theological Study Convention on the Teaching of Blessed Josemaria Escriva, October 14, 1993.

Benedict XVI, three years before becoming Pope, said "the theocentrism of Escrivá...means this confidence in the fact that God is working now and we ought only to put ourselves at his disposal...This, for me, is a message of greatest importance. It is a message that leads to overcoming what could be considered the great temptation of our times: the pretense that after the 'big bang' God retired from history."

Cardinals and bishopsEdit

Many Cardinals and bishops support Opus Dei. According to Messori, one-third of the bishops around the world petitioned for the canonization of Escriva, an unprecedented number, he says.

Here are some examples of the comments of some of the Cardinals. Franz Cardinal König, Archbishop of Vienna, who, according to Messori "is considered one of the leaders of the so-called "progressive current," wrote in 1975:

"The magnetic force of Opus Dei probably comes from its profoundly lay spirituality. At the very beginning, in 1928, Msgr. Escriva anticipated the return to the Patrimony of the Church brought by the Second Vatican Council. For those who have followed him, Escriva has recalled with much clarity what the position of the Christian is in the midst of the world. This is opposed to all false spiritualism which amounts to a negation of the central truth of Christianity: faith in the Incarnation."
"The profound humanity of the founder of Opus Dei reflected the shape of our epoch. But his charisma, by which he was chosen to realize a work of God, projected that work into the future. He was able to anticipate the great themes of the Church's pastoral aciton in the dawn of the third millennnium of her history."
In La Vanguardia, 8 January 2002, he wrote: "Escrivá was aware that there were two separate worlds which coexisted, the religious life and professional life, which should in fact walk together. What he preached then was an absolute novelty. But, even if these ideas are now found in the documents of the Magisterium of the Church, it is still being received slowly. As always, when a new thing comes up, a certain scepticism immediately appears....It is not easy to be understood by people who entertain negative doubts."

Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, archbishop emeritus of Milan, S.J., called the "up-to-date and human face of the Church", says:

"The spiritual fecundity of Msgr. Escriva has something of the incredible in it...Someone who writes and speaks as he does manifests to himself and others a sincere, genuine sanctity."

Sebastiano Cardinal Baggio, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, wrote a month after the death of Escriva: "We who are his contemporaries do not have the necessary perspective to properly evaluate the historical weight and range of the doctrine, in many aspects revolutionary and ahead of the times and of the incomparably effective pastoral activity and influence of this remarkable man of the Church. But it is evident even today that the life, achiements, and message of the founder of Opus Dei constitutes an about-face, or more exactly a new original chapter in the history of Christian spirituality." Rome, 27 July 1975.

Ugo Cardinal Polleti, in the Decree Introducing the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Msgr. Escriva, 1981: "For having proclaimed the universal call to holiness since he founded Opus Dei in 1928, Msgr. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, has been unanimously recognized as the precursor of precisely what constitutes the fundamental nucleus of the Church's magisterium, a message of such fruitfulness in the life of the Church.

Joseph Cardinal Frings, Archbishop of Cologne from 1942-1967, wrote to Paul VI and described the founder of Opus Dei as a pioneer of lay spirituality who had clearly perceived the necessities and dangers of the times, and predicted that the Work would be of decisive importance for the future of the Church. (Berglar, p. 189)

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, addressing a packed Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, referred to Msgr. Escriva's message and commented:

"It is essential to the vocation of Christians in the world that they carry on Christ's mission in and through their involvement in the secular order, contributing to its sanctification, to the restoration of all things in Christ...Msgr. Escriva was an innovator, but he also stood firmly and squarely with the Christian tradition. His message was a call to return daily to the roots of the Christian way of life and to live it creatively and courageously in our contemporary world."

John Cardinal O'Connor:

“I believe it critical to dispel the notion, a notion with which you are familiar, which borders on calumny, that Opus Dei is concerned only about the wealthy and the well educated…. I wish the myth about Opus Dei could be expelled forever. I want it to be clear to all of you that I consider the Archdiocese of New York to be privileged by your presence.” From a homily given at St. Patrick's Cathedral, June 26, 1998.
"The kind of life Opus Dei offers as an ideal is the life of holiness to which everyone is called." [5]

Camillo Cardinal Ruini, Milan June 1992:

"The message --with such intense evangelical flavor--of Blessed Josemaria Escriva is without doubt among those which has given new dynamism to the Mission of the Church."

John Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster:

"One of the proofs of God's favour is to be a sign of contradiction. Almost all founders of societies in the Church have suffered. Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer is no exception. Opus Dei has been attacked and its motives misunderstood. In this country and elsewhere an inquiry has always vindicated Opus Dei."

Edward Cardinal Egan (New York):

"It is with great pleasure that I express my appreciation for the work of Opus Dei here in the Archdiocese of New York for over forty years. Whether through programs for the needy in our inner-city or through spiritual counseling in retreats and individual spiritual direction, Opus Dei has encouraged, and continues to encourage, the faithful to live the Gospel where they find themselves in the world, in their families and in their place of work." May 3, 2004.

Bishop Wilton Gregory (President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops):

"I consider my many Opus Dei friends a wonderful gift to my episcopal service in the Church. I respect and admire the many activities in which Opus Dei serves the needs of the Church and advances the work of evangelization and the sanctification of God's People." April 3, 2004.

Bishop Joseph Fiorenza (Galveston-Houston):

“I have been associated with Opus Dei for twenty years and can testify that the priests and members are fully dedicated to living the gospel by integrating its message into their daily work. They incarnate the universal call to holiness in their teaching and pastoral care. Their mission is to help those whom they serve to live holy and faith-filled lives. The Opus Dei priests and members are faithful to the teachings of the Church and to the Popes and Bishops. Their fidelity is a strength for the Church but at times is viewed as negative and suspicious by those who do not understand such fidelity to God and the Church. The Diocese of Galveston-Houston is blessed to have Opus Dei staff our downtown chapel and minister to the workforce and shoppers in that area. Their work is well-received and greatly appreciated.” December 29, 2003.

Archbishop Charles Chaput (Denver):

“Opus Dei has always encouraged active lay leadership and service among Catholics. It prefigured some of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council by decades. Its members are motivated, faithful Catholics and an extraordinary blessing for the believing community. Opus Dei – along with the other new charisms, communities, and movements renewing today’s Church – is very welcome in the Archdiocese of Denver.” December 20, 2003.

William Cardinal Keeler (Baltimore):

“The church and the world need the message of holiness in ordinary life preached by St. Josemaría.” From a homily at a Mass for St. Josemaría Escrivá’s first feast day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on June 25, 2003.

Archbishop John Myers (Newark):

“How difficult it is for this consciousness of the call to holiness to sink into our minds and act upon our wills. I think that is why, among so many worthy institutions, old and new, God wanted Opus Dei.” From a homily at a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of St. Josemaría at St. Mary Major in Rome on October 8, 2002.

Cardinal Justin Rigali (Philadelphia):

“I see Opus Dei throughout the world really trying to fulfill the first pastoral guideline outlined by the Holy Father John Paul II in his apostolic letter on the New Millennium: the search for personal holiness…. Looking at the work of Opus Dei in this Archdiocese I would like to express my gratitude to the women and men of the Prelature for their loyal service and continual apostolate according to the spirit of their Founder.” From a homily at a Mass in celebration of the Centennial of St. Josemaría’s birth, at Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis on January 12, 2002.

Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo (Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the United States):

“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Msgr. Escrivá, we could give him no greater gift than to follow the great way and teaching that he has given to the church.” From a homily at a Mass for the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. Josemaría Escrivá at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on January 12, 2002.

Francis Cardinal George (Chicago):

“The spirituality of [Saint] Josemaría is a true Christian humanism. For Opus Dei respects every area of human endeavor: the life of the mind and life of the heart and the life of the hand.” From a homily at a Mass for the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. Josemaría at St. Mary of the Angels in Chicago, January 9, 2002.

James Cardinal Hickey (Washington): “The members of the Work [Opus Dei] have found a way of really making their work something joyful, something that you want to be a part of.” From an interview, September 9, 1998.

Msgr. Paul Yoshiyuki Furuya, Bishop of Kyoto, 1975: "I have no doubt that Josemaria Escriva was a man specially chosen by God to maintain the fidelity of many Christians during these troubled years in the Church and in society."

Msgr. Willy Onclin, dean of the Faculty of Canon Law (Louvain University), and secretary of the pontifical Commission for the Review of the Code of Canon Law:

"It is impossible to exhaust the rich contributios made by Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer to the Church. Schools, universities, centres for workers or countryfolk, social projects of every kind have been established everywhere thanks to his enterprise. But the 'revaluation' of the layman's role, assigning to him the autonomy and responsibility that are his by the fact of being baptized, well deserves a whole chapter to itself." ('La Libre', Belgique, Lovaine, July 2, 1975)

Msgr. Ugo Puccini, Bishop of Santa Marta (Colombia), El País (Cali, Colombia),June 25, 1990:

"Today Opus Dei is known in the whole Church, as a beloved part of Her, which has made Opus Dei a personal Prelature, putting into practice for the first time this juridical figure which the Second Vatican Council instituted for the improvement of the apostolate of the Church."

Pierre Mamie, bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg:

"In our preceding discussions with the Opus Dei I reminded them to be attentive to the traditions and the "local religious culture". For the Opus Dei, which has some great merits I cannot deny, did look too often, with us and in other places, like an "imported" religious movement. It would win by being "more transparent" in all its intentions, ressources and activities. Moreover, if the Opus Dei wants to create a foundation and a centre in our diocese, it should answer to certain objections which were made in these days, so everything can develop in peace."(Evangile et mission, 22 june 1989) (French)

During his centennial in 2002, many bishops spoke about St. Josemaria and Opus Dei:

Francis Eugene Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago, USA. St. Mary of the Angels Church, Chicago, January 9:

"A hundred years ago today, Josemaría Escrivá was born—a man who fell in love with the Lord, whom he recognized in faith as our Savior and the Savior of the world, a man who was called by Jesus to the work of a preacher of God’s Word, and a fisherman—an evangelizer."

Cahal Cardinal Daly, archbishop emeritus of Armagh, Ireland. Church of the Holy Rosary, Dublin, January 9:

"The truths brought out by Josemaría Escrivá are as old as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet as new as the so-called post-modern age of the new millennium. They are wide-ranging, but one may single out some of the core principles. Josemaría reiterated the New Testament teaching that every Christian, in virtue of his or her baptism, is called to be a saint."
"Josemaría, indeed, often spoke daringly and unconventionally, to emphasise this point. He spoke, for example, of the need to 'materialize' the quest for holiness; one might say, the need to 'earth' holiness in ordinary tasks, whether these be what are called 'menial' tasks, or more esoteric careers in, say, cosmic physics or biochemical research."

Archbishop George Pell of Sydney, Australia. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, January 4:

"Blessed Josemaría worked to help people know God more and better. For him, the work of Opus Dei was a great catechesis. Catechesis is what he did all his life, with a skill that brought to doctrine the newness of the Gospel, which is always old and always new (Mt. 13:52)."
"Blessed Josemaría considered himself an 'inept and deaf instrument', saw himself when an old man 'as a stammering child'. I pray to the good God that he will raise up among us many other men and women, who are equally inept and deaf, and who allow God to work in and through them as He wishes."

Archbishop Adam Exner of Vancouver, Canada. Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver, January 9:

"The saints are not people who plan and map out for themselves a way of life and perfection, and carry it out to the letter by themselves. Saints are rather people who love and trust God so much that they are willing to let God lead and direct them wherever He wishes them to go.… Blessed Josemaría was willing to let God lead him and shape his life. Throughout his life, the theme of his prayer was 'May that which you want and I do not know, come about.'"

Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor presided at a commemorative mass in Westminster Cathedral, London, on January 16:

"I deeply feel that Blessed Josemaría is a special gift to the Church and to the world of our times. I believe that his charism is particularly relevant for our world of today."

Jaime Cardinal Sin, archbishop of Manila, The Philippines. Cathedral of Manila, January 9:

"But perhaps more important than these and the many other physical miracles, are the countless interior conversions attributed to his intercession. So many people were moved by Blessed Josemaría's message of discovering God in the ordinary circumstances of life. Blessed Josemaría is indeed a powerful intercessor before God - I encourage you to turn to him for your spiritual and material needs."

Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger archbishop of Paris, France. Church Saint-Honoré d' Eylau, Paris, January 8.

"Josemaría Escrivá is one of those figures that crosses the centuries and indicates in some way, to the attentive observer, what the Spirit is carrying out in the Church. It would be possible to say that in the past century God has stirred up men and women —such as Escrivá and many others— who anticipated what the Spirit would make clear in Vatican Council II. The precise task that Providence entrusted to Blessed Josemaría coincides with one of these messages: to find in work a calling of holiness for all Christian people."

Archbishop Kaname Shimamoto of Nagasaki, Japan. Cathedral of Nagasaki, January 9.

"The best congratulation we can give to Blessed Josemaría on the centennial of his birth is making the resolution to follow his spirituality with fidelity. We can also endeavor to inspire an awareness of God in the depths of the conscience of today's society, in that of our contemporaries. In other words: let us manifest our purpose of dedicating ourselves to the new evangelization."

Frédéric Cardinal Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo. Cathedral of Our Lady of Congo, Kinshasa, January 9.

"The centennial of Blessed Josemaría's birth occurs in a time of conflict in the world, and particularly in our country. Violence and division are frequently caused by intolerance and rejection of difference. It would behoove us to discover and live Blessed Josemaría's message: a constant call to learn to live and work together, without regard for race, ethnicity, religion, social status, political views.... On the occasion of this anniversary, we ask God to grant us, through the intercession of Blessed Josemaría, peace for our souls, peace for our country, peace for the Church and, finally, peace for the world."

Miguel Cardinal Obando Bravo, archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua. Cathedral of Managua, January 9.

"The emphasis on doctrine in Opus Dei's apostolate has always impressed me. Opus Dei's work is in truth a continuous catechesis, a noble task of spreading good doctrine. Msgr. Escrivá de Balaguer always followed Jesus' example of doing and teaching. The imprint of his personality has left a deep furrow in the life of the Church: across the world, his words and deeds have stirred up a renewed Christian spirit, expressing itself as service to others with authentic and practical charity."

Adrianus Johannes Cardinal Simonis, archbishop of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Gerardus Majella Church, Utrecht, January 19.

"The distinguishing features of the parents can be seen in the children. With his spiritual children, the faithful of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá has been able to speak several times over. In this sense I am able to say that have known the founder through his children in Opus Dei. In them –priests and laity– I see a desire for holiness and apostolate."

Giacomo Cardinal Biffi archbishop of Bologna, Italy. Cathedral of Bologna, January 9.

"The human, Christian, and priestly adventure of his life —an adventure both extraordinary and direct— is framed entirely by the 20th century. If we learn to interpret events with the penetrating vision of faith, it is not difficult to see in this marvelous existence the merciful answer of God to the harsh interrogations of one of the most tragic and most complicated centuries of history."

Audrys Juozas Cardinal Backis, archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania. Cathedral of Vilnius, January 9.

"The saints are friends of God, that is to say, our friends. They help and they advise, they bless us from heaven and they fortify us in our weaknesses. They especially show us the way with their example. Blessed Josemaría is rightly famous for his book The Way, which many people cherish and in which many find strength and beautiful reflections on Christian life in the middle of the world."

László Cardinal Paskai, archbishop of Estergom-Budapest, Hungary. Matyas-Templon, Budapest, January 9.

"We have heard in the Gospel the words of Jesus: 'Put out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch.' The Holy Father placed his emphasis on these same words at the end of the Holy Year in his apostolic letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte. His desire was that we would not return after the enthusiasm of the jubilee to the gray of every day, but that we would instead have inside us the enthusiasm of the apostle Saint Paul, who wrote of himself: 'I strain forward to what is before, I press on towards the goal, to the prize of God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus.'"
"This evangelical teaching of Jesus, these proposals of the Holy Father, were fulfilled in an extraordinary way in the life of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá, Opus Dei's founder. He was an outstanding sacerdotal personality of the twentieth century, who throughout his life worked for the spiritual renewal of the Church. His beatification on May 17, 1992, was the recognition of his holiness of life."

Antonio José Cardinal González Zumárraga archbishop of Quito, Ecuador. Cathedral of Quito, January 9.

"Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, in fulfilling the mission God entrusted to him, contributed to the spiritual renewal of the Church – teaching and spreading the doctrine of the universal call to holiness, of the sanctifying value of work and of the calling of the faithful Christian to do apostolate."

Antonio María Cardinal Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain, Cathedral of the Almudena, Madrid, January 9.

"The history of the saints is the history of 'Christ who passes by' – to use a beautiful phrase from one of the books of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. Let us 'be' Christ as he passes through the times and spaces of history…. This is true of Opus Dei's founder. Through him and his Work, Christ passes through history again in our time, through the history of the twentieth century. We give thanks to the Lord for him, and we ask that if God wants, the day will arrive this year – the sooner the better – when the Church will finally travel the canonical road to recognition of Blessed Josemaría's holiness. May the Lord grant that the Prelature, its priests and faithful, and all the Church will celebrate this event in a way that makes him visible among us again as Christ who passes by."


Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Canberra. 26 June 2003, at St Mary Star of the Sea, West Melbourne:

"What St Josemaría knew in the depths of his being, as all the saints before him have known, is that the Word is made flesh and dwells among us. Escrivá was and is one of the greatest of contemporary witnesses to the Incarnation — it’s as simple and magnificent as that. He was raised by God as that kind of witness at a time when the Incarnation, the fact of the Word made flesh, was being denied implicitly and pervasively as it is today, a time when people felt in their hearts, as they still feel today, that the Word was not made flesh, that God remains in some distant heaven far from the ordinary business of human work, human family, the mess of human affairs. This leads inevitably to a sense that you have to deny or escape from your human affairs in order to find the life of God who is spirit. That’s what I mean when I speak of the denial of the Incarnation, and that’s why the witness of St Josemaría goes to the heart of an enduring contemporary crisis."

Archbishop Christopher Pierre, nuncio to Uganda. Christ the King Church, Kampala, January 9.

"We are grateful to God for the existence of Blessed Josemaría, founder of Opus Dei. We are grateful for his life, for what he has offered us – a big challenge! Remember what the Pope said at the beginning of his pontificate: 'Do not be afraid, do not be afraid of the call to holiness.' This call to holiness is for me, for you, for each one of us. We are all invited to be members of God's family; we are all invited to enter into the Church, and to be active members of this Church, the living presence of God in our lives, in this world: do not be afraid to be called to holiness."

Józef Cardinal Glemp presided at a commemorative mass in St. John the Baptist cathedral in Warsaw

"Like Blessed Juan Diego and so many of our sisters and brothers who enjoy eternal beatitude, Blessed Josemaría joins a diverse crowd of saints who are not special people – super-men – but ordinary and normal beings like us, distinguishing themselves only in having been faithful instruments of God."

Archbishop Józef Zyciñski of Lublin, Poland Cathedral of Lublin, January 9.

"Sanctifying work, sanctifying oneself through work and sanctifying others through work – this has been Blessed Josemaría's primary message. And these are not merely pretty words; he practiced them in his own life. Just as Christ not only spoke of the Cross but, above all, died on the Cross for us, so our Blessed not only spoke of holiness in work but carried it out in his life, being holy and sanctifying others."

Bishop Armindo Lopes Coelho of Oporto, Portugal. Trinity Church, Oporto, January 9.

"In celebrating the centennial of Blessed Josemaría's birth – 'duc in altum!' (Put out into the deep!). Holiness should be your ideal. Our providential God will open before you the way of happiness and optimism on the path to holiness. Be not afraid. The Teacher goes in front of us and he says continuously: duc in altum! Have hope, you are a son of God, be not afraid. Strive, dare…. In celebrating the birth of the Blessed, we give thanks to God for his life, writings, work, and example. We ask him to intercede for us before God."

Auxiliary Bishop Peter Henrici, S.J., of Zurich, Liebfrauenkirche, January 10.

"I have said that I consider Blessed Josemaría one of the most important figures of Catholicism in the twentieth century, and I owe an explanation. Blessed Josemaría was one of the first ... to recognize the importance of the laity in the Church. And he proposed a spirituality appropriate for the specific needs of the laity. In this he was a pioneer.... In fact, he has had the merit and also the grace of being probably the first one traveling this road. We pray therefore that his Work may continue to be guided by his spirit, and that many laity may find their vocation in daily life."

Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius of Kaunas, Lithuania. Cathedral of Kaunas, January 8.

"This year marks the beginning of Opus Dei's work in Kaunas, which I have received with great happiness and pleasure. My hope is that Opus Dei will bring the benefits of holiness that come to all the countries where the Prelature works. I am convinced that the Catholic Church in Lithuania needs the spirit of Blessed Josemaría that is embodied in his children, who uphold the authentic Magisterium of the Church…. The faithful of Opus Dei, fulfilling the desire of their Founder and following in his steps, grasp the essence of and faithfully respond to the invitation of His Holiness John Paul II – 'Put out into the deep!'"

Edward Michael Cardinal Egan

"It is with great pleasure that I express my appreciation for the work of Opus Dei here in the Archdiocese of New York for over forty years. Whether through programs for the needy in our inner-city or through spiritual counseling in retreats and individual spiritual direction, Opus Dei has encouraged, and continues to encourage, the faithful to live the Gospel where they find themselves in the world, in their families and in their place of work." May 3, 2004.

Bishop Wilton Gregory (President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops):

"I consider my many Opus Dei friends a wonderful gift to my episcopal service in the Church. I respect and admire the many activities in which Opus Dei serves the needs of the Church and advances the work of evangelization and the sanctification of God's People." April 3, 2004.

Archbishop Charles Chaput (Denver):

“Opus Dei has always encouraged active lay leadership and service among Catholics. It prefigured some of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council by decades. Its members are motivated, faithful Catholics and an extraordinary blessing for the believing community. Opus Dei – along with the other new charisms, communities, and movements renewing today’s Church – is very welcome in the Archdiocese of Denver.” December 20, 2003.

William Henry Cardinal Keeler

“The church and the world need the message of holiness in ordinary life preached by St. Josemaría.” From a homily at a Mass for St. Josemaría Escrivá’s first feast day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on June 25, 2003.

Archbishop John Myers (Newark):

“How difficult it is for this consciousness of the call to holiness to sink into our minds and act upon our wills. I think that is why, among so many worthy institutions, old and new, God wanted Opus Dei.” From a homily at a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of St. Josemaría at St. Mary Major in Rome on October 8, 2002.

Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali

“I see Opus Dei throughout the world really trying to fulfill the first pastoral guideline outlined by the Holy Father John Paul II in his apostolic letter on the New Millennium: the search for personal holiness…. Looking at the work of Opus Dei in this Archdiocese I would like to express my gratitude to the women and men of the Prelature for their loyal service and continual apostolate according to the spirit of their Founder.” From a homily at a Mass in celebration of the Centennial of St. Josemaría’s birth, at Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis on January 12, 2002.

Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo (Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the United States):

“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Msgr. Escrivá, we could give him no greater gift than to follow the great way and teaching that he has given to the church.” From a homily at a Mass for the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. Josemaría Escrivá at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on January 12, 2002.

Francis Eugene Cardinal George

“The spirituality of [Saint] Josemaría is a true Christian humanism. For Opus Dei respects every area of human endeavor: the life of the mind and life of the heart and the life of the hand.” From a homily at a Mass for the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. Josemaría at St. Mary of the Angels in Chicago, January 9, 2002.

John Cardinal O'Connor:

“I am very grateful for the work all of you do for the Church universal, for society at large, and certainly for the Church here in New York…. I thank all of those who do their very best to advance the work of Opus Dei. I am with you unconditionally.” From a homily at a Mass in celebration of Josemaría Escrivá at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, June 26, 1998.

James Francis Cardinal Stafford, (President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity):

“The ministry of Opus Dei is one of continually reminding the faithful of the Church that every aspect of daily living, no matter how seemingly insignificant or outwardly extraordinary, is an opportunity for the proclamation of Christ’s love for all.” From a homily at a Mass in celebration of St. Josemaría Escrivá on June 26, 1995.

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

“We praise and thank God for all the wonderful things he has accomplished through [Saint] Josemaría and those who have followed in his footsteps.” From a homily at a Mass in celebration of Saint Josemaría Escrivá at the Holy Name Cathedral, July 1, 1992.

Aside from these words of encouragement and praise, a number of Church authorities have also issued words of caution. For example, Basil Cardinal Hume.

Basil Cardinal Hume, London:

“[St. Josemaría’s] words, seventy years ago, anticipated the Vatican Council’s decree on the place and the role of the laity in the world.… It is my conviction that it’s only slowly that we’re coming to understand what the Spirit was trying to say to us through the Council. But the Spirit goes on calling.… And surely the Holy Spirit is calling us in our day to a greater degree of holiness, to deepen our spiritual lives. And it has been the role of the movements [and] of Opus Dei to provide support and guidance on that road to holiness.” From a homily on October 2, 1998, at a Mass of thanksgiving in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Opus Dei.
"I have made known to those responsible for Opus Dei in this country what I consider to be the right recommendations for the future activity of its members within the diocese of Westminster. I now wish to make public these four recommendations. Each of them arises from one fundamental principle: that the procedures and activities of an international movement, present in a particular diocese, may well have to be modified prudently in the light of the cultural differences and legitimate local customs and standards of the society within which that international body seeks to work. These recommendations must not be seen as a criticism of the integrity of the members of Opus Dei or of their zeal in promoting their apostolate. I am making them public in order to meet understandable anxieties and to encourage sound practice within the diocese. The four recommendations are as follows:
  • No person under eighteen years of age should be allowed to take any vow or long-term commitment in association with Opus Dei.
  • It is essential that young people who wish to join Opus Dei should first discuss the matter with their parents or legal guardians. If there are, by exception, good reasons for not approaching their families, these reasons should, in every case, be discussed with the local bishop or his delegate.
  • While it is accepted that those who join Opus Dei take on the proper duties and responsiblities of membership, care must be taken to respect the freedom of the individual; first, the freedom of the individual to join or to leave the organization without undue pressure being exerted; secondly, the freedom of the individual at any stage to choose his or her own spiritual director, whether or not the director is a member of Opus Dei.
  • Initiative and activities of Opus Dei, within the diocese of Westminster, should carry a clear indication of their sponsorship and management. From Guidelines for Opus Dei within the Diocese of Westminster, 2 December 1981

Leaders of Catholic organizationsEdit

When the founder was canonized, figures from Focolare, Communion and Liberation, Catholic Action, Missionaries of Charity and the Curia expressed their happiness:

Carla Cotignoli, Focolare Movement:

"We share the great joy of Opus Dei at the canonization of Msgr. Escriva. As the Pope has said so many times, 'charisms are a gift of God and a hope for mankind.' The charism of the founder of Opus Dei, that of seeking sanctity in ordinary life, in work, is becoming even more a patrimony of the whole Church.
"Precisely at the beginning of this new century, when the Pope in Novo Millennio Ineunte has strongly reaffirmed the need to live 'ordinary Christian life at a higher level, to live holiness, there shines with greater clarity the beauty and the timeliness of this gift of the Holy Spirit, so that together with the other charisms which have been brought forth in our time, the laity can contribute effectively to the renewal of the world of work, of politics, of economic life, of art, and of communication, and bring the soul back to the various social environments."

Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity:

"The announcement of the approaching canonization of Blessed Josemaria Escriva has aroused in me a strong feeling of gratitude. He has been a father and teacher to many along the path to holiness and apostolate – an untiring advocate of the apostolic responsibility of all of the faithful, and especially of the lay faithful, in all the environments and activities in which they are involved. His companionship and his intercession have enriched the whole Church and helped to renew everywhere a fruitful impetus of holiness and apostolate for the greater praise of God and service of mankind."

Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., Postulator of the cause of canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

"It is remarkable how different the charisms and characters of the saints in the Church are. At times they even seem to be opposed to one another, but when you come to know the life and spirit of each one deeply, one ends up perceiving the common denominator that unites them: that of being a reflection of Christ’s way of being, the saint par excellence. This is the case with two of the great personalities of the Catholic Church of the 20th Century: Blessed Josemaria and Mother Teresa. Among those points in common I cannot fail to point out their great love for the Church, for the Pope, for sacramental confession; or their undisputed faith in the value of prayer as the point of departure for all apostolic activity; and so many other aspects, such as their capacity to undertake ambitious initiatives in the service of others.
"Among many others I would like to comment on a point which is particularly characteristic of the charism of Mother Teresa: her love for the poor, for the sick, for the dying; in short, for those most in need of help. In them, Mother Teresa saw Christ himself.
"In the life of Blessed Josemaria we also encounter a great commitment to help Christ present in those who are suffering need . . . a great effort of social commitment to improve the conditions of all human beings. . . . The poor, the sick, the abandoned were the weapons he used to win the battle of getting Opus Dei underway. In both cases, in that of the founder of Opus Dei and in that of Mother Teresa, the root of this commitment is found in faith, which made them see Christ in every person."

Giancarlo Cesana, of Communion and Liberation:

"'All work is an occasion of holiness.' In this phrase of Blessed Josemaria Escriva, which is at the same time both an affirmation and a proposal, one feels all of the attraction and power of Christianity as an experience which transforms and fills with meaning any circumstance of life, even the most routine and ordinary."

Msgr. Domenico Sigalini, Assistant Deputy General of Italian Catholic Action:

"Holiness, as Catholic doctrine has always taught, is a gift of God for everyone. And the fact that there is someone who has succeeded in bringing lay people to make this a living reality in their work, in their professional field, in the midst of their social relationships, in ordinary life—which so many who focus their mind on distraction and diversions feel is a torture —is another great gift of God. It means that Blessed Josemaria Escriva has been able to capture the dreams of God for humanity and has understood that Jesus became man, has suffered, died, and risen precisely so that every man and every woman could be a priest, king and prophet, that is a saint, in their lay state itself. Lay sanctity is something that Catholic Action seeks daily – with joy and gratitude does it open itself to this gift of a new saint whom God has granted to the Church, to deepen and share this vocation with everyone."

OthersEdit

Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things:

“[I]n forming one's approach to Opus Dei, the strong and consistent affirmation of John Paul II cannot help but carry very considerable weight.” “[O]ne cannot help but be impressed by the people who believe that they have found in Opus Dei a way to make an unqualified gift of their lives to Christ and his Church.” From “The Work of God,” First Things, November 1995.

Cornelio Fabro, eminent Italian philosopher and founder of the Institute for Higher Studies on Unbelief, Religion and Cultures, said of Escrivá:

"A new man for the new times of the Church of the future, Josemaria Escrivá ... has restored the true concept of Christian freedom... After centuries of Christian spiritualities based on the priority of obedience, he taught that obedience was the consequence and fruit of freedom.” [6]

Tom Mullelly, Princeton University chaplain:

“[C]ollaboration with the members of Opus Dei has been an enriching experience for me and many other members of this community. It is my hope that the cooperation in the Lord’s ministry, which exists in the Princeton University Community, will continue to flourish and that the collaboration between those who seek to deepen their knowledge of and commitment to the Lord, Jesus Christ, will serve as a model for others who seek to enhance the experience of campus ministry.” Statement, February 11, 2004.

John Raphael, SSJ, Howard University Chaplain:

“My association with Opus Dei extends back to my undergraduate days. I have greatly benefited from their spirituality and their love for and fidelity to the Church. I count some of my dearest friends among their membership. In recent years my own students have collaborated with them in volunteer outreach projects. I have great esteem and respect for the contribution Opus Dei makes to the great task of evangelization that belongs to the entire Church.” Statement, March 23, 2004.

CriticismsEdit

There are also Catholic voices of criticism regarding Opus Dei

Ernesto Cardenal, liberation theologian, politician and mystic said in November 2002 before journalists in Cologne that Opus Dei was the only institution in the Catholic church in which there were exclusively reactionary forces. [7]

Hans Küng, dissident theologian, describes Opus Dei as "reactionary secret political and theological organisation from Franco's Spain, which has been involved in scandals connected with banks, universities and governments . . . which has features characteristic of the Middle Ages and counter-Reformation". (Küng, The Catholic Church: A Short History, 2002)

James Martin SJ, Editor of the Catholic magazine America:

"I would say 95 percent of the stuff that Opus Dei does, is great, I mean, lay spirituality and helping people understand God in their work. I think that's terrific. There is a part of Opus Dei, however, their recruitment techniques, their penchant for secrecy, some of the ways in which they operate in the church that really needs to be looked at." Opus Dei

Donald R. McCrabb, then executive director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association, now at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington:

"We are aware that Opus Dei is present at a number of campuses across the country. I'm also aware that some campus ministers find their activities on campus to be counterproductive. [...] They are not taking on the broader responsibility that a campus minister has. [...] It is my understanding that one of the most controversial aspects is their insistence that their members go to confession only to Opus Dei priests. I think that campus ministers have seen it as a way of controlling, manipulating or coercing a student. That's the worst interpretation. The best is that it is discounting the ministry performed by other priests." in: Martin, Opus Dei in the United States.

External linksEdit

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Opus Dei Official sitesEdit

Sites supporting Opus DeiEdit

Sites critical of Opus DeiEdit

Last modified on 14 April 2014, at 01:30