SECTS AND OPUS DEI
14. Judas in Action
Judas the Iscariot has gone down in history not because of his possible
virtues as an apostle of Jesus Christ, but because of the secret
denunciation he made of his Master that led
to the arrest of the Messiah. In such a compact and hermetic circle as
Opus Dei is, everyone wants to be an informer, a public and private
accuser, a snitch, a confidant of their own closest brothers and
sisters. There are various reasons for this, including the fact that
informing on the truth in Opus Dei is a practice and a "virtue" so
that the followers always live in an atmosphere of mutual
and reciprocal distrust, fear, insecurity and isolation, all of which
are extremely important for keeping the sect member in chains, in a
Opus Dei pays careful attention to what it calls constant and
persistent spiritual direction, which binds and marks each and every
one of its members. This is complemented, on a weekly basis, by
what it calls "sharing of
which helps to configure a rigid
hierarchical-spiritual order. (151)
On the other hand, the denunciation of the brother by the brother, the
embarrassment and shame of being singled out by one's nearest neighbor,
is a rule and an obligation laid down in the statutes and regulations
of the Work itself. It is a common and habitual practice, fomented,
encouraged and praised by those in charge of the organization.
"The weekly sharing of confidences"
compulsory talk between the member and his
in which the member must open up fully and express
without scruples or reservations his inner dispositions, while at the
same time giving an account of all his actions. It is an act of
solidarity and docility. With the passage of time, many members are
suffocated by this practice, which is parallel to confession. All of
it is strengthened by the tactical prohibition to go to confession
"outside the house" and even
with another priest of the Work who is not
the one designated for each house or center.
This "sharing of confidences"
practiced equally between the priests and the lay
live together in the house. A lay person will be in a position to
listen to the personal confidences whispered to him by a priest; a lay
be the depository of the intimacies of a lay person or of a religious,
or vice versa. A note issued by the Fifth General Council of Opus Dei
from Rome considered that the role of the priest was not necessary for
the "sharing of confidences",
and, since then, the director or another
local council, and sometimes a select member of the house, are in
charge of hearing the "confidences
"sharing of confidences"
does not exempt one from participating in the Sacrament of
Reconciliation in which the
participation of the priest is obligatory.
For Opus Dei, the "sharing of
besides making known the faults of
the member missed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also serves as a
that shapes the character of the individual and serves to
increase "the spirit of the Work".
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, on
the other hand,
serves for the forgiveness of sins and the settlement of the offense.
Former members of the Work have revealed that the numerary priest
performs the functions of a spy and an overseer (155) “by improperly
using the Sacrament of Reconciliation to reveal secrets of the faithful
that are of interest to the Work”... Numerary members of Opus Dei know
that their confessors reveal what they say in the confessional if
superiors consider it convenient.
"The sharing of confidences"
and the Sacrament of Reconciliation with
the leaders of
Opus Dei must be
"savagely sincere" (156)
because, the leaders of the Work argue, to
achieve sanctity one has to talk about worries at work, in one's
family, about one's internal affairs, and about what happens in the
world of politics or the intelligentsia.
It is an admitted fact within Opus Dei that the spiritual guide and
confidant, in a meeting with the leaders, analyze the dispositions and
problems of each of the numeraries and supernumeraries under their
Opus Dei's priests are instructed to be discreet so that they only
tell the director of the member or the highest ranking hierarchy within
the Work what they should know for the "good of souls".
Many members have broken with Opus Dei by suffering great
disappointment, once they learned of the violations of secrecy of what
they revealed in sharing of confidences.
We cannot resist not transcribing an exceptional testimony, a genuine
sharing of confidences, loud and clear, made by a person who was
immersed in Opus
Dei for years: (157)
learned something almost when I was
determined to leave the Work, and it contributed very especially to my
realization that this was not my place. To have gone through that would
have meant losing all my dignity as a person. I learned that both the
talks you had with your director and those you had with the priest of
the Work (you always have to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation with
priests of the Work
under threat of expulsion) were exchanged. This means that the two tell
each other the things that the numeraries have told them to see if they
coincide and to follow a joint strategy. In addition to such
manipulation of a person's most intimate secrets, the director sends a
report of the member's activities to the delegation every week. Based
you've revealed, the director types up the report - to be read by
probably doesn't know you at all - the sharing of confidences
discovered that when I went to the director's room to get something.
She wasn't there and as the paper, half-written, was sticking out of
the machine I wasn't able to overcome the temptation to read what was
seemed to me”, she continues, “the
most crude, ignoble and
anti-Christian thing I had ever seen. What right do you have to
manipulate the intimacies of each person when, in order to live well
the spirit of the Work, you have no other choice but to do so, because
that is what is commanded by the "Father"? The slightest ethical
whether you are a Christian or not, obliges you to respect the secret
of a "confidence".”
can one call something the Work of God when it falls so low? Only
knows what reports they have on me in the archives in Rome. After
having passed my sharing of confidences through so many dirty hands
didn't even know me since the center goes to the Delegation, from
the Delegation to the regional council and from the regional council to
the central council, which is in Rome. At this moment, whatever could
unite me to the Work was definitely broken.”
“To hide something personal from the
directors” - according to
Escrivá de Balaguer - “was to
have a pact with the devil", and in
the Work that "something" includes everything from the most divine to
the most human. (158)
Another former numerary confirms that the members of the Work have
the serious duty of being savagely sincere with their directors: they
must tell them their most intimate desires, their anxieties, their
defects, the most fleeting notions, the most hidden thoughts. It is the
duty of duties, whatever the cost. But this duty does not presuppose,
does it need, a counterpart. One must be very sincere, one must say
everything, one must open one's heart wide (these are all commandments
of the "Father") but one must do so in the face of directors who are
of reservations, who do not have to explain or reason about anything
that does not seem convenient or of interest to the subject who is
opening his conscience to them.
Walled in by the secrecy that - they
say - their position imposes on them, they can say that they do not
know the data with which they have been working five minutes before;
they can remain silent when faced with a direct question; they can
promise a silence that they know beforehand they will not keep.
"The weekly sharing of confidences"
kind of spiritual balance sheet, while at
the same time providing detailed information on various activities.
Where does the boundary between religious life and apostolic activity
on the one hand and professional and public life on the other pass in
such colloquia? Here is a question that must remain unanswered. Among
the practices of the Work, the "weekly
meeting" does not cease to be
one of the most disturbing.
But if sharing of confidences can be disturbing, no less so is public
the evidence in which they must also, weekly, leave each other, like
Judas, but in this case the reward is not thirty denarii of silver, but
holiness and heaven in eternity. Public accusation and repression is an
unavoidable and inexcusable duty, as laid down in the very
Constitutions of Opus Dei which, in article 270, stipulates that “The
numerary members and the Oblates will meet every week for the brief
circle where defects are corrected, where the means of apostolate are
proposed and where everything that can guide our spirit and our
specific action is dealt with in a familiar way”. Every member
submit or be called to order.
We read also in the Constitutions of the Work, in article 195, that “The members have the obligation to inform
their superiors when the
activities of other members threaten to harm the effectiveness of the
Institute”. The concern for the effectiveness of the Institute
is great and the respect for individuals insignificant, who are pushed
to the point of denunciation (159)
and denunciation among companions
for the greater good of the Institute.
If by chance someone fails, he or she will be subject to fraternal
correction. They must conform to the rules or be expelled. The spirit
mistrust is total. Your best friend can be your most sadistic enemy;
you must be, in turn, ruthless towards those you show your sympathies
In Opus Dei, fraternal correction is a genuine form of formation. (160)
If a member of the Work learns of a fault committed by another
of his "brothers", he should immediately go to a member of the house's
executive council to explain the case and have the council decide
whether or not it is appropriate to correct him. If the member's
decision is affirmative, the member of the Work will make the fraternal
correction to the other member, the one who committed the fault. The
spirit of the Work forms wasps' nests with the sting always ready to
inject the poison into our fellow men.
It has been published (161)
that in the weekly collective talks the
sympathetic members were urged to "compete" in telling their sins
publicly, although in most cases they were simple, such as not having
said the regulation prayer at the time or having fallen in the face
of a temptation. Most accused themselves of the sin of pride or lack of
humility, which was the most appreciated.
Guilt has its profitability in the sharing of confidences and the
fraternal sharing. Guilt is usually a source of internal tension with a
contained emotional charge, which needs to be relieved in order to be
balanced. This is why the pernicious sects establish the ritual where
the follower is asked to confess all his inner self, to empty himself.
technique used differs according to the characteristics of
the group, and may consist of a friendly talk in which the most
intimate experiences are recounted.
The techniques of sharing of
confidences and of
fraternal correction are acts of
self-surrender that involve the moral punishment of public humiliation,
which generates a perpetual interior emptiness from the feeling of
being at fault, as someone who has no other right than that of obeying.
A characteristic fact (163)
is that after having confessed and purged
the sin, the follower becomes a fanatic accuser and punisher of his own
companions, forgetting that shortly before he also took his place in
the sadomasochistic bench in the name of God.
But betrayal can lead to greater heights. It is symptomatic that the
then Nuncio of His Holiness, Monsignor Riberi, stated (164) that he
felt rigorously watched and that he could not do or say anything
without Opus Dei knowing about it. The fact that all the service
personnel were from Opus Dei led to the joke of calling the nuncio's
house the "Opustolic Nunciature". It is symptomatic that Opus Dei has
many centers spread all over the country for the formation of the
household, which are schools for domestic service that constitute an
excellent business of placement agency for its service followers, and
in the houses of the ruling classes, which are the ones that can afford
the luxury of admitting maids and servants, without realizing that they
are being placed under surveillance.
It would be very interesting if at least part of the monumental archive
that is so jealously guarded in the Roman house of Bruno Buozzi were
opened to science and public knowledge. There, with the Constitutions
and the successive editions of the Instructions for Government, are the
collection of notes and notices that exemplify, year after year, a
style of governing and the ideas that Escrivá had about what was
happening or should happen in the Church, in politics, in public and
private morality and above all “in the houses and lives of his
The networks of the intelligence and information services could not be
more sophisticated, more rude or more miserable.
151. Wast, Jesuits, "Opus Dei y
Cursillos de Cristiandad", p. 62.
152. Moncada, "Historia oral del
Opus Dei", p. 149.
153. Ynfante, "La prodigiosa
aventura del Opus Dei" ("The Prodigious Adventure of Opus Dei"),
154. Ibid, p. 121.
155. Magaña, op cit, p 236.
156. Ibid., p. 236.
157. "Marie Claire" magazine
158. Moreno, "El Opus Dei, anexo a
una historia", p. 147.
159. Le Vaillant, op cit, p. 233.
160. Ynfante, "La prodigiosa
aventura del Opus Dei" ("The Prodigious Adventure of Opus Dei"),
161. "El Opus por dentro"
("The Inside of Opus Dei") in Area
Crítica, No. 2, (July, 1983) p
162. Rodriguez, "Esclavos de un
Mesías" ("Slaves of a Messiah"), p. 100-101.
163. Moreno, pp 84-85.
164. Carandell, p 163.
165. Moncada, "Historia oral del
Opus Dei", op cit.
Index of Chapter I