15. Abandoning the Work of God: Harassment of Fugitives and Social Death

The biblical curse, according to the "Father", will be heavy on any of his members who cease to belong to the sect. Escrivá said: “He who leaves the Work abandons the boat and goes into darkness”. (166)

The dissidents of Opus Dei are persecuted, slandered, and an effort is made to of isolate them so that they cannot tell what they have seen, and, if they do tell it in spite of everything, so that no one will listen to them. (167) The media, which are largely run by or dependent on banks that can be reached by the Work or are afraid of Opus Dei, have paid almost no attention to these testimonies.

The Work, says Alberto Moncada, makes use of the best resources to keep the rebel ones in check. It is also the time to open the  box of thunders and suggest that not persevering in the sect can lead to eternal damnation, (168) threatening the dissident's accomplices or the neutrals ones with the idea that the dissident has committed a grave sin.

The departure from the Work is a curious phenomenon because, suddenly, you feel how little you matter to some people who have witnessed years of your best efforts. You are a file for the archives. It's over. And the fewer signs of life you give, the better. Because you are a burning reminder of their failures.

However, divine wrath has a genuine outlet in the persecution to which, in many sects, they subject their former members. There are already many published denunciations, backed by the credibility and/or evidence of their authors, which place Opus Dei, its men, at the center of persecution campaigns against its former members of certain social weight. (169) In this way, through the many resources that the obedient men of Opus Dei control in society, the lives and professional careers of some of the defectors from the Work have been ruined by their excessive loquacity. Anyone investigating the surroundings of Opus Dei always encounters a clearly verbalized constant: fear of speaking.

María Angustias Moreno has written that leaving the Work is not easy. If you are, and stop being, you become part of the group of those who are absolutely marginalized. You become despicable. Overnight, all relationships and interest in the person who is leaving are over. The same people who said they loved him so much that they were willing to give their lives for him, who took advantage of his best possibilities, ignore him, forget him completely. They no longer care about what they may need, they don't care how he will rebuild his life. He has stopped counting for everything, they don't want to know anything anymore, they would rather not cross paths with him in the street anymore. It is a tangible demonstration of how little an individual really matters to them!

The same people who, some time ago, would have been very interested in you because you belonged to the Work, later ignore you and avoid you because you no longer are. "Those who leave are as if they had died". (171)

For those in Opus Dei, leaving the Work is an unmitigated desertion, a betrayal. A consent and pact with the diabolic temptation. From this it is logical to deduce that whoever leaves goes to the abyss and is hopelessly lost. His efforts are no longer of any use. I believe - Maria Anguishes continues - that somehow they understand that those who leave have an obligation to condemn themselves.

It is enough to leave Opus Dei to lose one's holiness.

Another numerary was being pressured, and the advice she was given to get rid of the idea of leaving was the following: “Anyone who leaves the Work betrays and sells Jesus”, “No one who has left the Work has been happy”, “Hell awaits you”. (172)

People find it hard to leave. A Colombian Jesuit even reported suicides. (173) So did John Roche, who claims to know directly of a suicide in Opus Dei in Kenya and who has heard of two more women in London, one of whom threw herself from the fourth floor of an Opus Dei house.

“When you leave you become a non-person, and no member is allowed to help you”, says Maria del Carmen Tapia.“When a person leaves Opus Dei they are on the street, financially, spiritually and psychologicall.” (174)

Susana Crepi's father hugs his daughter and kisses her on the forehead. “Calm down, you're free now”, he muses. “I am, Dad, but they're not”, replies the young woman, referring to those who still remain in the darkness of Opus Dei, in the blindness of the sect. The priest adds: “Fortunately we have recovered Susana, but we feel the need to explain to people what Opus Dei is all about and why it is so difficult to leave the organization. My daughter was persecuted for months to get her back. And the reality is that in Opus Dei there are three categories of members: the masters, the waiters, and the dogs.”

During their time in Opus Dei, they are exposed to fear and guilt and to the spiritual survival of their own members outside, in the open, in the world. Its purpose is to ensure that members are not tempted to leave the closed space of the organization, the enclosed area of the sect. That is why they make the existence of their members dependent on the group, leaving them destitute, to avoid the temptation of returning to normality.

Nor should we dismiss the fear that many followers may have of the sect itself, when it comes to considering abandonment.

In the Work it is assured that everyone who leaves is because he has stopped living practices of piety - which they call "rules of the plan of life" - or because he has been preoccupied by personal, selfish problems. Other causes they also adduce are insincerity, lust or pride. With these arguments they calm and temper those who, remaining within, might fall into the weakness of leaving.

When Covi Carcedo G. Roces left the Work, he was told that “he would disappear”, that “they would water the streets of Oviedo with his blood”, but he says that “they do everything cowardly, not with the courage that is born of honesty and truth, but with the cowardice that is born of profit”. On his departure he filed a complaint against Opus Dei for fraud. (176)

They try to fill you with fear, explains MRS. “They repeat that you will be condemned, that they are the truth, and that the others are traitors.” (177) “These are the classic arguments of moral blackmail.” (178)

Usually those who leave are traumatized by the experience

Some examples are provided by Alberto Moncada.....

Miguel Fiscac, the well-known architect who entered Opus Dei at its earlier stages, left it because of the moral conflicts he himself has related, when he married Ana María Badell and today he does not want to know anything about the Work of God, nor about its partners.

Antonio Pérez, a rising star in Opus Dei, had to suffer one of the most tenacious persecutions when he left the Work as part of a painful journey of self-enlightenment...

Maria del Carmen Tapia went from being the director of Opus Dei to being a prisoner in the same institution, in an abrupt change of heart.

Raimundo Panikkar was the other star, the intellectual, of that first group of postwar opusdeists who dramatically moved away from the institution.

Francisco José de Saralegui, an old Christian, had an important role in the economic activity of the Work until his departure... (179)

Jesús Ynfante tells us that Antonio Pérez Hernández de los Granales was number one in the race to become a lawyer for the Council of State, a companion of Amadeo Fuenmayor and a very brilliant man for those who knew him; he had been ordained a priest and entered the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross in 1948. He was also the rector of the house on San Justo Street in Madrid. One day he left everything and disappeared with what he was wearing, that is, his suit and shoes. Located in Mexico, they try to convince him to return with negative results. Then Opus Dei forced him to change his name and he promised not to return to Spain for the rest of his life. (180)

In general, when an adept leaves a sect, such as Opus Dei, he or she presents the following psychological picture: 1) Depression; 2) Feeling of loneliness; 3) Negative self-evaluation; 4) Guilt complex; 5) Low level of autonomy in adapting to daily behavior; 6) Reduction in mental acuity; 7) Tendency to fall into altered states of consciousness; 8) End of the chosen complex; 9) Aversion towards the sect because of the traumatic experience; 10) Fear of the sect.

In order to rehabilitate some members and get them back to the notion of reality and frein many cases it is necessary to deprogram them to regenerate and make them forget the bitter nightmare.


166. "Área Crítica", op cit.
167. Ibid.
168. Moncada, "El Opus Dei: Una interpretación", p. 116.
169. Rodriguez, "El poder de las sectas" ("The Power of Cults"), p. 75.
170. Moreno, "El Opus Dei, anexo a una historia", pp 84-85.
171. Ibid, p 87.
172. "A. L. M. N.," Opus Dei member.
173. Walsh, p 183.
174. Ibid. p 183.
175. "Interviú" magazine.
176. Covi Carcedo G. Roces, "Tiempo" magazine (July 21, 1986).
177. Newspaper "El País" (May 1, 1988).
178. Carandell, op cit, p 30.
179. Moncada, "Historia oral del Opus Dei", p. 11.
180. Ynfante, "La prodigiosa aventura del Opus Dei", p. 353.

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