CRYPTOJUDAISM AND OPUS DEI
9. Jesuit influences in Opus Dei
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Escriva received a Jesuit influence through a double bond. His initial
confessor from whom he received "the first stimulus for the
construction of the Work was given to José María by a
member of the Society of Jesus", (186) Father Valentín
Sánchez. The relationship between the young Escrivá and
his spiritual advisor, the Jesuit Father Sánchez, was at first
intimate, cordial, fluid, and in full rapport. From Father Sanchez he
would receive advice and teaching that he would never forget. The
friendship between the confessor and the priest lasted until 1940, when
there was "a stormy encounter, after Father Sánchez read the
documentation that Escrivá intended to submit to the bishop's
study, and he harshly criticized some articles of the Statutes and
dismissed Escrivá unfriendly. (187) That year
Escrivá changed his confessor, from Sánchez to Portillo.
The second link of inspiration for Escrivá that he received from
the Jesuits was the discovery of a text first published in Paderbon, in
Westphalia in 1661, known as Monita Secreta, which contains the secret
instructions of the Jesuits. It was one of his favourite texts, he knew
it very well, he studied it, he devoured it, he was inspired by it. One
might think that the two books that most decisively shaped
Escrivá's will in the annals before the foundation of Opus Dei
were Jacob Brafmann's The Book of the Kahal and the Jesuits' Secret
Many volumes have been written about the Jesuits, but perhaps an
exhaustive study of the Jewish concomitances within the Society of
Jesus has yet to be written; Julio Caro Baroja in the second volume of
his work Los judíos en España, writes "It is known that
in the 17th century the children of the converts and even Judaists
often studied with the Jesuits in the various cities where the latter
had schools and that they produced men who on the one hand had a solid
Talmudic education and on the other hand had a profound scholastic
knowledge, like Isaac Cardoso, the apologist of Israel. (188)
The famous anthropologist continues to tell us how "between Jesuits and
Jews there were hidden and close relations and that in short, the
so-called Jesuit morality was a Talmudic morality". (189)
It should not be forgotten that according to Father Miguel Marcos -
back in 1593 - of the 27 Jesuits who had signed memorials against the
current organization of the Society, no less than 25 were new
Christians, including Acosta, nor, in this regard, should it go
unnoticed that the second "Black Pope", the "General of the Society of
Jesus" after Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Father Laínez, was of
From the Jesuits Escriva took the pattern for his work by wanting to
create in his likeness a passive and obedient instrument that would
spread throughout the world for his rule, that like the Jesuits, in his
future organization all its members would walk at the voice of his
command, like disciplined soldiers.
For Escrivá it was a great revelation to learn about the primer,
known only to the superior members of the Jesuit order, and this after
ensuring that nothing of its contents would be communicated to anyone
and that it would be renounced if it suited the Society, called the
The manual of the secret instructions was never printed, it was a
manuscript and was found, by profane hands, for the first time in
Paris, in the Jesuit convent, written by the hand of the scholar
Brothier, who was the librarian of the Society. Its text is entirely
consistent with the one that would later be found in the Ruremonde
house in Belgium and that was deposited at the Court of Justice in
Brussels when the Jesuits were expelled from the country... The unity
of the text of these secret instructions, known only to the principal
members of the Society, removes any doubt as to their authenticity. Ch.
Sauvestre would publish in France, in 1861, an edition of the Monite
Secréte with very interesting and curious comments.
In Spain it was first published as an appendix to the Historia resumida
de la Compañía de Jesús written by Fernando
Garrido and published in 1880.
In the Library of Rio de Janeiro there is a manuscript copy that was
found in the school of the parents of the Society of Jesus when they
were arrested in 1720.
The definitive wording is attributed to Father Claudio Aquaviva, fourth
General of the Jesuits and reformer of the Society based on the
recommendations received from his predecessors.
These instructions were possibly a source of inspiration and an
invaluable tool in Escriva's hands. Let us select some of the
provisions that are applied and taught in Opus Dei:
To seek the benevolence, mainly of ecclesiastics and lay people in
authority, that they may one day need.
- That all seem to be inspired by the same spirit and that they learn
to have the same manners.
- Let them buy property in the name of faithful friends who lend only
their name and who keep the secret. In order that our poverty may be
better seen, it is good that the lands held by any school be in the
name of others who are far away, thus preventing princes and
magistrates from knowing how much the income of society is.
- Let our people only go around the rich cities with the intention of
- The old widows must be made aware of our extreme poverty in order to
get as much money as possible out of them.
- Let only the provincial know how much our income is; but let the sum
of the Society's treasure in Rome be a sacred mystery.
- We must devote our efforts to win over the courage and the sympathy
of the princes and the most important people so that no one will dare
to go against us.
- The sympathy of the princesses will be won through their wills and
maids; for this it is necessary to obtain their friendship, which is
the means to enter everywhere and to get to know the most secret
business of the families.
- Let ours get from the Bishops the government of the churches and let
the parishioners be subject to the Society, which will get from them
all that it can.
- The prelates are to be influenced when it comes to the beatification
or canonization of our people.
- Let our prelates guide princes and illustrious men in such a way as
to make it seem that they tend only to the greater glory of God and to
austerity of conscience.
- Let the princes and those in authority believe that our Society
contains the perfection of all the other orders, except chant and
exterior austerity, in its manner of living and working.
Ways of conquering rich widows:
-Provide them with a confessor who will direct them so that they
maintain their state of widowhood, affirming to them that in this way
they will have eternal merit and an effective means of avoiding the
penalties of purgatory.
-To keep them away from the conversations and visits of those who seek
- To set aside servants who are not in good standing with the Society,
recommending that they be replaced by individuals who depend or wish to
depend on ours to inform us of what is going on in the family.
- The confessor must have in view no other objective than to induce the
widow to follow him in all his advice, showing her, when he has the
occasion, that this obedience is the only condition for her spiritual
- He has to advise her on the frequent use of penance wherein she
discovers her most secret thoughts and temptations.
- The widow must be induced to make donations, skillfully taking
advantage of her spiritual disposition.
- They are not to be treated with too much rigor in confession so that
they do not hate it: inasmuch as their sympathy could be lost.
- They are to be skillfully prevented from visiting other churches or
attending other religious feasts, repeating often that all indulgences
granted to other orders are accumulated in our Society.
- The widow must be made to dispose of her income in favor of our
Society, so that she may become a saint and be given the hope of being
canonized if she persists to the end.
- If she does not give all her possessions during her lifetime, she
should be given the opportunity, especially when she is ill or in
danger of death, to remind her of the poverty of our schools and of the
many schools which are about to be founded, by inducing her, gently but
strongly, to contribute to these expenses if she wants to enter into
- When something is offered to us, the opportunity to receive it will
not be wasted.
- What was said about widows is useful for merchants, for rich married
people without children, of whom the Society will be heir if the means
indicated are used prudently.
- Devout persons who ardently aspire to perfection are to be induced to
donate all their goods to the Society, in order to achieve supreme
- Even if with prudence, one has to instill fear of hell, or at least
of purgatory, by making them aware that, just as water extinguishes
fire, almsgiving extinguishes sin.
- Those who have scruples about acquiring goods and wealth for the
Society should be expelled from our Society.
How to proceed with those expelled from the Society:
- Before expelling them, oblige them to promise in writing and to swear
that they will not say or write anything to the detriment of the
Society. The Superiors will keep their bad inclinations, defects, and
vices, which they have confessed in the name of conscience, in
accordance with the custom of the Society, and will make use of them,
if necessary, by revealing them to the elders and to the prelates.
- They should write to all the colleges announcing the expulsions,
exaggerating the reasons for them, preventing them from having any
connection with them, saying everywhere that the Society does not expel
any person without powerful reasons, just as dead bodies are thrown
into the sea.
- The domestic exhortations will try to convince all members that the
expelled are unstable individuals, exaggerating the misfortunes of
those who will perish miserably by leaving the Society.
- When any unworthy and reprehensible fact of their conduct is
discovered, it should be disclosed . Both those expelled and especially
those who voluntarily leave the Society must be completely annulled.
- Great care must be taken in choosing men who are talented, handsome
and noble, or who excel.
- They must be made to understand that it is only by special grace of
Providence that they are chosen among so many who attend the school.
- In exhortations, they are to be censured by threatening them with
eternal damnation if they do not obey the divine vocation.
- They are to be effectively warned not to reveal their vocation to any
of their friends, not even to their parents, before being admitted...
In this selection we see how Escriva plagiarized, literally copied,
enforced and consummated the Instructions he had learned in his Secret
Monk's Manual. Without this text it would have been difficult for him
to start Opus Dei.
186. Ricci, Marina, "30 Days" Magazine, No. 5 (May 1990), p 16.
187. Ibid, p 17.
188. Caro Baroja, "The Jews in Spain", Vol II, p 252.
189. Ibid, p 253.
Rene Fulop Miller, "The
Power and the Secret of the Jesuits", pp 216-221
S. Pey Ordeix, "Jesuits and
Jews before the Republic".
Index of Chapter III