CHAPTER II


THE HIDDEN LIFE OF JOSE MARIA ESCRIVÁ DE BALAGUER


1. The Merciless Lie



The biographies about the "Father" grossly fail in their account of the worldly and outrageously outlandish behavior of the charismatic leader of Opus Dei: the falsehood and the lie as a rule, the concealment of essential information and the many references of his life which reflect his true personality. We have been presented with a portrait of Escrivá that is quite far from reality; it presents a heavily retouched, sweetened, false and misleading image.

It is impressive, of course, the capacity of  this man for all kinds of deceptions. Deceptions that, undoubtedly, have made him appear "great".  That he is the "Father" is the masterpiece of his deceptions. (1).

The machinery of propaganda and publicity that Opus Dei has at its service, with ample means at its disposal, is responsible for disseminating and publicizing many of the manipulated shades of Escrivá's profile, highlighting with passion - and with extreme overtones - a curriculum vitae custom-made for the unwary and the naive. Some allegedly prestigious details are highlighted and underscored, enlarged to unimaginable extremes, while "important details from his biography, information of great significance for the prosecution of the Work he founded, is concealed". (2) Exhaustive mention is made, with great pomposity, of aspects that would be positive signs for the credit of any human being, knowing well that they are lying shamelessly and without mercy.

In the flattering biographies circulating about the "Father's" character, his academic preparation is highlighted, attributing to him a series of studies and titles without any justification. For example, among the most widespread lies are those that attribute to him that "he was superior of the Francisco de Paula Seminary in Zaragoza", a lie. That he was "Professor of Canon Law and Roman Law in Zaragoza and Madrid", a lie. That he "reached the degree of Graduate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of Zaragoza", a lie. That he "taught General Ethics and Morals (Deontology) at the School of Journalism in Madrid", a lie. In particular, it is curious and shocking that he claims to be a Doctor of Law from the University of Madrid without ever having set foot in a university in his entire life (3) - thanks to the doctoral thesis that was apparently written entirely by Father Bugar, the confessor of General Franco.

But the lies and the farce about Escrivá are not limited to the studies that he never pursued. They also try to secure a lineage for him, going so far as to write that "he was of ancient and clean lineage on both branches of the family tree", a lie, a hoax and a tale.

"At the age of 15 he had already learned of his 'divine' choice to found Opus Dei", is an invention. That "our Lady had appeared to him with a rose in her hand asking him to found Opus Dei", is a lie. That "Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by divine commission", is a lie. That "he carried out intense pastoral work in rural parishes", is a lie, or that "from 1927 he began intense pastoral work among the poor and sick in the extreme suburbs and hospitals of Madrid", is just another lie and a hoax in order to create a persona that never existed. These lies have been fabricated and repeated with insistence to give them the mark of absolute truth, based on the fact that a lie repeated a thousand times will be considered as an unquestionable truth.

The reason for the  misrepresentations and the false biographical data is, therefore, uncovered when they try to prove that Escrivá did everything: seminary superior, village parish priest, lawyer, etc. (4). All the efforts of these pseudo-historians of Opus Dei are focused on offering - for the internal consumption of the "Work of God" and for some other unwary people - a clerical, scholarly and secular prefabricated figure of the founder of Opus Dei, all the while Escrivá himself being the first firmly interested in maintaining the lie of his own life.

While, on the one hand, uncertain facts, stories and hoaxes about the life of the "Father" have been propagated, there are others, the authentic, genuine and true facts that have been kept in the strictest secret. There are very important issues that have been jealously guarded in secrecy, preventing them to be known, such as Escrivá de Balaguer's Jewish ancestry, the crypto-Jewish roots of his doctrine, his own short intellectual development up to his conception of Opus Dei, his hidden inspirations, Escrivá's apparent homosexuality, his connections with certain ramifications of subversion and, of course, the real and ultimate goal of the foundation whose fuse he was lighting.

Who was the inventor of the biographical novel that has been provided through Opus Dei in order to confuse us? It is Escrivá himself who, aware of the sectarian tactics, has drawn an image about himself which is not even the shadow of the harsh reality. His self-invention, suggested to his conspired supporters and spread by them, has resulted in the misleading mythification of a vulgar and, in many ways, despicable figure.

There is a duplicity and a dilemma in Escrivá's personality. The authentic and the false; the real and the mythical; the fabricated and the flesh-and-blood; the friendly face and the bitter face; the opposites; the one who they want to sell us with self-praise and publicity and the one who was in reality; the superficial and the hidden; the public one and the one behind the scenes.

The creation of the myth, the "divinization" of his figure is one of the techniques used in all sects to turn it into a cult of worship, an inaccessible point, an exalted reference for the hooked and followers of the charismatic leader. With adequate brainwashing, their thinking and their feeling will be obsessively focused on the figure of the leader, who manipulates them for the purpose of exploitation.

In the biography of the "Father", fiction is mixed with reality, intentionally confusing facts with fiction and, above all, claiming on many occasions exactly the opposite of what is objectively a fact.

The deception is often achieved by the manipulation of semantics, emptying the words of their original meaning and filling them with other content, as was the case with Escrivá, who used Christian terminology in the conception of his work to introduce, surreptitiously, a selfish and Judaeo-Talmudic sense into our society.

His biography is so artificial that he even hides and denies his real name: Escriba. The real name of his birth which appears in his birth certificate in the Civil Registry, the surname of his father which etymologically means the "doctor and interpreter of the Law among the Hebrews" (5) - has been replaced by another - Escrivá de Balaguer - which was not and is not, his real name.

Opus Dei can only be explained through the understanding of the figure of the "Father". This means that, in order to understand the spiritual structure of Opus Dei, it is necessary to understand the spiritual structure of its founder.

José Ortega, professor of Criminal Law, was right when he responded to a journalistic interview on June 26, 1975: "I read a biography of Don Josemaría Escrivá. Then, I thought about the man, and I came to the conclusion that Don Josemaría is not biographable". (6)

The obtuse personality of the "Father" is inaccessible to normal understanding, which is why he is not understood in his exact dimension as a counterfeiter. The analysis of his personality requires a background of anthropological, historical and characterological studies and knowledge that entails a remarkable intellectual effort.

The authentic biography of the "Father" is one of the taboo questions that are hidden and that is out of circulation. The literature available to us on this subject either silences or conceals the great facts that are unquestionable: That the essence of Opus Dei is one person (the Work is the "Father") and that his personality is the cornerstone on which the whole edifice of the Work stands.

This is why we have imposed upon ourselves, following the directive of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical "Humanum Genum" (1884), to demystify false myths and unmask deceptions, which may be an appropriate motto to introduce us to the intimate and hidden life of this simulated and enigmatic character, who is the promoter of Opus Dei.

Florentino Pérez Embid, an official biographer of Escrivá de Balaguer, repeats with suspicious insistence that "the development of the Work in all its aspects is the very biography of its founder", and also "the history of Opus Dei is the very biography of its founder". (7)

At that point, the most important keys required for objectively researching into the reality of Escrivá and his Work were and are still unknown. (8)

Yvon Le Vaillant writes that "one often wonders whether the leaders of the Work, beginning with the founder, have decided once and for all to mock the world" (9). And it is the curling of this pharisaic smile that we will try to unravel.


REFERENCES

1. Moreno, "Opus Dei, anexo a una historia" ("Opus Dei, Addendum to a History"), p. 139.
2. Carandell, p 165.
3. María Angustias Moreno, "La otra cara del Opus Dei" ("The other face of Opus Dei") (Barcelona: Planeta, 1970), p 34.
4. Ynfante, "La prodigiosa aventura del Opus Dei" ("The Prodigious Adventure of Opus Dei"), p 7.
5. Encyclopedic Dictionary CODEX, p 504.
6. Bernal, p 9.
7. Ynfante, pp 9-10.
8. Moreno, "La otra cara del Opus Dei" ("The other face of Opus Dei"), p 25.
9. Le Vaillant, p 9.


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