1. The Suspicion is Confirmed

None of them consider themselves as such (1). Nevertheless, we are in a position to make a clear and categorical statement regarding Opus Dei. It is one of the most powerful and mysterious sects in the history of the 20th century. (2) Raimundo Panikkar himself, one of the pioneers in the development of the initial nucleus, a member of the founders, who attended the prologue of Opus Dei, says that “what began as a small group, more or less charismatic, which slowly, as a result of circumstances on the one hand and what was latent in the spirit of the founder, became what is sociologically called a sect.” (3)

We live immersed in a process of social crisis that has created a market of credulities. Cults proliferate, expand, penetrate, install themselves, affect and culminate their unavowable purposes infiltrating like smoke the social tissues, destroying and annihilating many for the lucrative benefit of a few.

The news was front-page news. The headlines offered no space for hesitation. The body that disseminated the information was a nationwide media. The headlines of the newspaper read: “Members of Opus Dei treated with deprogramming techniques in Barcelona clinic” (4). The content of this surprising news confirmed that an undetermined number of young aspirants and active members of Opus Dei had been treated in Barcelona in recent months with mental deprogramming techniques. The clinical treatments were applied at the request of their relatives who were trying to correct, in this way, emotional disorders.

The news added that the assistance techniques offered by Asociación Pro Juventud ("Association for Youth") and the technical team of the Center for Recovery, Orientation and Assistance to the Sectarian (CROAS) are known generically as deprogramming and consist basically of a process of information and criticism of the beliefs and behavior of the organization to which the affected person belongs.

The first clinical treatments with deprogramming techniques for members and followers of Opus Dei were carried out in November 1987.

About 20 families of Opus Dei members, from various parts of Spain, had approached Asociación Pro Juventud asking for information and collaboration to “recover their children” or to treat them clinically.

Those in charge of Asociación Pro Juventud - the news concluded - believe that the dogmatic attitudes of some of the members and followers of Opus Dei are similar to those held by members of harmful sects. The secrecy and proselytism or apostolate of Opus Dei are, in the opinion of the members of Asociación Pro Juventud, some of the most negative and criticized characteristics of the Prelature.

The note ended by indicating that “in the first international congress on the harmful effects of sects, held last November in Sant Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona), some allegedly harmful and negative aspects of Opus Dei were discussed and debated.” (5)

The feeling that we are dealing with a pernicious sect is gaining ground in Spanish public opinion. In a survey carried out among a large number of young people, the statistical results of which were made known by the first channel of Spanish Television on July 23, 1990, during the broadcast of the second edition of the Daily News ("Telediario"), the majority of those interviewed cited three well-known sects in Spain, most of them saying that Opus Dei was a “destructive sect”. (6) Two years before this event, the writer Vázquez Montalbán, in an article entitled "El Opus que no cesa", also said “that an informative television program in which some of the internal contradictions of Opus Dei were expressed, for example the need for some of its members to "deprogram" as if they were members of sects not homologated by established Christianity, was enough to cause the corral of the Catholic hierarchy to be disturbed once again”. (7)

Now we can explain better that recommendation which, as early as 1983 and with the statement “Beware of Opus Dei”, referred to the initiative and caution taken by some American high schools that organized trips for their students to Spanish universities and that, before leaving for Spain, gave them some rules and instructions about what they should eat or the products they should abstain from, the places of tourist or cultural interest they should visit, the environments they should avoid at the risk of being robbed or attacked. And among the recommendations they gave to the young people who came to Spain to follow the courses for foreigners, they warned them also to be careful with an organization called Opus Dei. (8) The news deserved a place in the press and was a symptom of the possible intoxication of the sect, which tries to recruit its followers mainly among the university community.

Yvon le Vaillant, in his book document entitled "La Santa Mafia", published in Mexico in 1985, tells us that in Italy a famous doctor, known in the international psychoanalytical media, when she learned that the son of one of her patients had been admitted to Opus Dei, revealed to her that she had several patients who had managed to leave Opus Dei and that these were neurotic, adding that “this is a crime. They are under a spell.” (9)

The picture that said book describes about these people is that “when you look at them from the front, you are surprised to realize that they are not really them, that they are not themselves, that they seem to live next to them, as if deprived of their own personality. It is that they are empty of body and soul, tied hand and foot to an absorbing organization: 'The Work'”. (10) It is the archetypal picture presented by people who are caught in the nets of such a sectarian spider's web. The magazine Spielgel speaks of a "mousetrap".

In a wide-ranging report published under the title "El Opus Dei, el verdadero poder en España" ("Opus Dei, the real power in Spain"), in the magazine Tiempo, perhaps the one with the largest circulation today, which is not at all sensationalist and covers a large area of general information, it was stated that “more and more parents are not resigned to the legal impotence to get their children out of what they consider to be brainwashing. In Valencia” - the report continued - “there is a psychiatrist who has specialized in deprogramming young people who have been captured by Opus Dei.” (11) It is precisely proselytism, the daily activity for most of the numerary members of Opus Dei, that is their first commandment, according to John Roche, professor of History of Science at the University of Oxford and a member of the Work for 14 years, “Today they are beginning to capture children between the ages of 8 and 9... a file is being prepared in which little by little data is being collected: age, studies, hobbies, social environment, family, attitude towards religion and towards Opus Dei, contacts with people in the Work...”. (12)

Among the conclusions of the report was that the power of Opus Dei in Spain is so hidden that 38% of Spaniards are convinced that the Institute, founded by Monsignor Escrivá de Balaguer, is “a sect, a pressure group, an economic mafia or a political group”. (13) The director of the weekly magazine, José Oneto, himself wrote in an editorial in connection with the report that was published, that “Opus Dei today continues to be immersed in mystery in our country, and we wanted to clear up some of that mystery, some of that hidden power. The survey, carried out by OTR and Emopublica with 1200 interviews from all over Spain, is significant in itself: quite a few Spaniards think that Opus Dei is an "economic mafia" or a "pressure group". Moreover, many Spaniards (35%) are convinced that the fundamental aims of "the Work" are to influence politics as a pressure group or to achieve certain economic ends.” (14) With difficulties, with much effort and work, with arduous investigations, light was being seen at the end of the dark and gloomy tunnel.

This book, prepared after several years of exhaustive dedication to the collection and comparison of irrefutable data and contrasting sources, may be the trigger for the implementation of the "providential death" for those who write it, so the warning goes ahead with a dart taken from the very bowels of The Way, the maximum 340 that reads: “Do not be afraid of the truth, even if the truth brings you death”.


1. Julián García Hernando. "El fenómeno de las sectas". Cuadernos de realidades sociales, Nos. 35/36, p 27 (Madrid: Instituto de Sociología Aplicada, January 1990)
2.  "El Opus por dentro" p 33, in Area crítica No. 2 (July 1983)
3. Alberto Moncada, "Historia oral del Opus Dei", p 131 (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1987)
4. "El País" Newspaper, p 4 (July 11, 1988)
5. Ibid. "El País" Newspaper, p 4 (July 11, 1988)
6. "El País" Newspaper, p 50 (July 25, 1990)
7. Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. "El Opus que no cesa". Interviu (January 14, 1988).
8. "Diario 16" Newspaper (October 3, 1983)
9. Yvon Le Vaillant "La Santa Mafia: El expediente secreto del Opus Dei", pp 69-70 (Mexico: Edimex, 1985)
10. Ibid, p 213.
11. Article "El Opus Dei, El verdadero poder en España" Tiempo magazine (April 11, 1988)
12. Ibid, p 15.
13. Ibid, p 10.
14. José Oneto, Tiempo magazine (11 April 1988)

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