|Credit: San Josemaría Escrivá, the Founder of Opus Dei. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Attribution: Oficina de Información de la Prelatura del Opus Dei en España, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
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Opus Dei- formally known as The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, is an institution of the Catholic Church which teaches that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. Opus Dei has around 85,000 members worldwide and about 500 members in the UK. Members are encouraged to promote their faith through their professional work and their everyday lives. Joining Opus Dei is a long process and takes over five years. A person’s commitment to joining has to be renewed each year before a lifelong commitment is possible. There are three types of members of Opus Dei: numeraries, associates and supernumeraries. I have summarised these on the next page.
“Prelature of the Holy Cross and the Work of God”, known as Opus Dei, was founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá (see below, right) on 2nd October 1928. Opus Dei (“Work of God,” in Latin) is a hierarchical institution of the Catholic Church, a personal prelature. Its purpose is to contribute to the evangelising mission of the Church. Specifically, it educates people about the universal call to sanctity and the sanctifying value of everyday work.
Opus Dei (Latin for “the Work of God”) claims to be one of the most conservative orders in the Catholic church. Founded in Spain, Opus Dei is especially influential in Latin America because of the relationships it has cultivated in political and business circles. Members and sympathisers of Opus Dei hold high-level positions in various governments, which is claimed to be one of the main forces supporting conservative activities in the region. It vehemently opposes promoting and providing a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services. Opus Dei rejects the concept that sexual and reproductive rights are individual freedoms and calls people to actively fight against these ideas, which Opus Dei members do daily in many countries worldwide.
Opus Dei was featured in The da Vinci Code, the 2006 American mystery thriller film directed by Ron Howard, written by Akiva Goldsman, and based on Dan Brown’s 2003 novel. The film stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno and Ian McKellen. The film financing company I was working for at the time helped put the finances together with support from a large number of British taxpayers.
Membership of Opus Dei
The information below is derived from Wikipedia and other sources, as stated. Opus Dei comprises several different types of those faithful to the Catholic Church. According to the Statutes of Opus Dei, the distinction derives from the degree to which they make themselves available for the official activities of the Prelature and for giving formation according to the spirit of Opus Dei. You can access the English translation of the 1982 Statutes of Opus Dei on the Odan website. There’s also a copy of these Statutes (The Code of Particular Law of Opus Dei) at: https://sites.google.com/a/realcatholiconline.org/the-opus-dei-guidebook/statutes-1/1982-opus-dei-statutes.
Opus Dei’s policy is to keep private the identity of their members. Accordingly, they do not publish the names of their members, nor do many Opus Dei members make their membership in the organisation public.
- Supernumeraries, the largest type of members, currently account for about 70% of the total membership of Opus Dei. Typically, the supernumeraries of the Opus Dei Prelature are married men and women who have secular careers and lead traditional family lives. Supernumeraries devote a portion of their day to prayer, attending regular meetings and participating in activities such as retreats. Due to their career and family obligations, supernumeraries are not as available to the organisation as the other types of members, but they typically contribute financially to Opus Dei, and they provide other assistance as their circumstances permit. Unlike other types of members, supernumeraries are not required to be celibate.
- Numeraries, the second largest type of members of Opus Dei, comprise about 20% of the total membership. Numeraries are celibate members who give themselves in “full availability” (plena disponibilitas) for the official undertakings of the Prelature. Because they are making themselves fully available to do whatever needs to be done for the undertakings of the Prelature, numeraries are expected to live in special centres run by Opus Dei, and the question of which particular centre a numerary will live in depends upon the regional needs. Both men and women may become numeraries in the Opus Dei prelature, although the centres are gender-segregated, with only minimal contact between male and female numeraries. Numeraries generally have jobs outside of Opus Dei, although some are asked to work internally full-time, and many modify the way that they go about pursuing their professional work goals to be available for the Prelature. According to Opus Dei’s 1982 statutes, potential numeraries ordinarily “ought to have a civil academic degree or professional equivalent, or be able, at least, to obtain one after the admission.”
- Associates are faithful of Opus Dei who make themselves fully available to God and others in apostolic celibacy and stably take on at least one (sometimes more) apostolic assignment(s) from the Prelature in giving doctrinal and ascetical formation and/or coordinating activities. They differ from numeraries in not making themselves “fully” available to staff the official undertakings of the Prelature, instead giving themselves in additional social realities, such as through their profession or to their own families. Because of this difference in availability for the official activities of Opus Dei, unlike numeraries, the associates do not live in Opus Dei centres but maintain their own homes. Some of their family life (emotional and social support) comes from the centres of Opus Dei, some from other associates of Opus Dei, and some from their families and friends; the precise ratio of this distribution depends upon the circumstances of the individual associate.
- Numerary Assistants are a type of numerary in the Women’s Branch of Opus Dei. Their full availability for the Prelature is lived out as full availability for doing a specific kind of work, namely looking after the domestic needs of the conference centres and the residential centres of Opus Dei. Hence, they live in special centres run by Opus Dei and do not have jobs outside the centres.
- Priests of Opus Dei comprise about 2% of the membership. They always come from among the male numeraries and associates and have typically lived as lay members for several years before their ordination. At their ordination, they are incardinated into the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, meaning the Prelate of Opus Dei becomes their bishop. Priests of Opus Dei observe the same disciplines as numerary and associate members, including living in Opus Dei centres. The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross is an integral part of Opus Dei and not a separate entity simply associated with Opus Dei. Part of the society is made up of the clergy of the Opus Dei prelature—members of the priesthood who fall under the jurisdiction of the Opus Dei prelature are automatically members of the Priestly Society. Other members of the society are traditional diocesan priests – clergy who remain under the jurisdiction of their diocesan bishop. Technically speaking, such diocesan priests have not “joined” Opus Dei membership, although they have joined a society that is closely affiliated with Opus Dei.
The Cooperators of Opus Dei are those who, although not considered members by Opus Dei, collaborate in some way with Opus Dei—usually through praying, charitable contributions, or by providing some other assistance. Cooperators are not required to be celibate or to adhere to any other special requirements. Indeed, cooperators are not required to be Roman Catholic, or even Christian in their beliefs. Cooperators may attend the educational and training activities provided by the Opus Dei. Many cooperators are relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours of the members of Opus Dei. Religious communities as a whole can also become cooperators of Opus Dei. It is said that there are currently several hundred of these communities who pray for Opus Dei daily.
Membership Admission and Incorporation
To become a member of Opus Dei, one has to receive a divine calling or a vocation, a calling which requires practising the modes of the Opus Dei Prelature. For this purpose, the directors of Opus Dei will have to discern if someone does have the vocation before allowing them to be incorporated into the Prelature. Incorporation (induction) into Opus Dei is done through a contractual bond between the person who has the vocation and the Prelature.
Some key procedures need to be followed for someone to become a member of Opus Dei:
- Freedom: To join Opus Dei, a person must freely ask to do so, in the personal conviction of having received this divine vocation. He may find this out through his prayer and usually with the help of a spiritual director.
- Adulthood: Under canon law, no one may be juridically incorporated into the Prelature until they have reached 18 years of age. Nevertheless, from the age of 14 years and six months, a young person can show interest in the organisation and begin to participate in its activities: recollections, retreats, seminars, spiritual direction, and apostolate.
- Written request: The membership request must be made in writing.
- Acceptance by the Prelature: The request needs to have been accepted by the authorities of the Prelature, and admission is granted after a minimum of six months. After a period of at least a year, the interested person can be incorporated temporarily into the Prelature by means of a formal declaration of contractual nature. This is known as an oblation and is renewable annually.
Membership: Admission and Incorporation
Admission is granted after a minimum of six months (presumably from the date of application). After an additional period of at least one year since the moment of their admission, the person can be temporarily incorporated into the prelature (oblation) through a formal declaration of a contractual nature, which is renewable annually. After a minimum of five more years, the incorporation can become definitive. This step is called Fidelity, which ties to perpetuity to the member of the Opus Dei. If the member wishes to leave the prelature, they need a dispensation which only the Prelate can grant.
If anyone, before incorporation as a Numerary or Associate, is seen to lack suitability for that, they may be retained as a Supernumerary, as long as they have the requisite conditions.
Content of the Incorporation and Contract
- On the part of the Prelature: The Prelature is committed to providing the member with the formation in the Catholic Christian faith and in the spirit of the Work, as well as the necessary pastoral care from the priests of the prelature.
- On the part of the person to be incorporated: incorporation means the commitment to remain under the jurisdiction of the prelate in all that concerns the aim of the prelature: sanctity and apostolate in the middle of the world. He is also to observe the norms by which the prelature is governed and to fulfill the other obligations of its faithful.
In summary, all the faithful of the prelature commit themselves to seeking sanctity and to carrying out apostolate according to the spirit of Opus Dei. It involves, principally, growing in spiritual life through prayer, sacrifice, and receiving the sacraments; using the opportunities that the prelature provides for acquiring a deep knowledge of the doctrine of the Church and the spirit of Opus Dei; and taking part in the task of spreading the Word carried out by the prelature, according to the circumstances and situations of each person.
Cessation of the Bond and “Lawful” Departure
At the end of the contract term with the Prelature, the bond with the Prelature of Opus Dei ceases. It can also end earlier if the member requests so and is in agreement with the directors of the Opus Dei. If permission for departure is given, it is considered a “lawful departure” (“exitus legitimus” according to the currently applicable Latin version of Opus Statutes).
When someone leaves the prelature lawfully, there is a cessation or end of mutual rights and duties. Opus Dei does not return any goods or money received during membership.
Relevant Laws of Opus Dei:
|Number||Text of Law|
|29||“During temporary incorporation or when the definitive [incorporation] has already been made, for anyone to voluntarily leave the Praelature, he needs a dispensation which the Prelate alone can grant, after hearing from his own Council and Regional Commission”.|
|30 P1||“The faithful, either temporarily or finally incorporated into the Prelature, cannot be dismissed except for serious causes which, if it is a question of final incorporation, always ought to proceed from the fault of the faithful person, himself”.|
|30 P2||“Bad health is not a reason for dismissal unless it has certainly been established that it was deceitfully concealed or dissembled before temporary incorporation”.|
|34||“The person, who for whatever reason says farewell to the Prelature or is dismissed by it, can demand no recompense from it for services rendered to it, nor on account of what, whether by [his] industry or exercise of his own profession or by any title or manner might have been paid him”.|
In other words, no departing member of Opus Dei may receive any compensation of any kind for the contributions [presumably, financial] that they may have made to Opus Dei during their time in the organisation: this applies to all categories of membership. When someone leaves the Prelature unlawfully (i.e. without the permission of the Prelate), they are said to have committed a mortal sin.
The Holy Office and the Prelate of Opus Dei
The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) is the oldest among the departments of the Roman Curia. Its seat is the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the Catholic Church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine.
- the Dicastery was formerly called the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition;
- between 1908 and 1965, as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office; and then
- until June 2022, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF; Latin: Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei).
The Dicastery is still informally known as the Holy Office (Latin: Sanctum Officium).
A Prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy, such as a cardinal, abbot, or bishop, who has authority over the lesser clergy. Both Catholic and Protestant religions have Prelates in their ranks. The Prelate of Opus Dei since 2017 is Fernando Ocáriz Braña – a Catholic Church priest – who is the fourth person to head Opus Dei since it was founded in 1928. He is widely published in philosophy and has been a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1986.
Opus Dei Information Handbook 2020
The Information Handbook is a publication of the Information Office of Opus Dei and is published to help journalists and other media professionals. It contains a summary of the nature, history and organisation of the Opus Dei Prelature, an institution of the Roman Catholic Church. Heavily copyrighted, it is available online.
Pope Francis modifies Opus Dei’s relationship to Curia, highlighting its ‘charism’
Saying he wanted to highlight the spiritual gifts of Opus Dei and its contributions to the Catholic Church’s evangelising activities, the Catholic News Service reported on 22nd July 2022 that Pope Francis has said the Church will now work with and answer to the Dicastery for Clergy, rather than the Dicastery for Bishops:
“… In the apostolic letter ‘Ad Charisma Tuendum’ (‘For the protection of the charism’), released by the Vatican on July 22, Pope Francis also said the head of the personal prelature of Opus Dei ‘will not be made, nor will he be able to be made’ a bishop. Pope Francis said his decision was meant ‘to strengthen the conviction that, for the protection of the particular gift of the Spirit, a form of government based more on charism than on hierarchical authority is needed.”
The Catholic News Service also reported:
“… In his letter, issued “motu proprio,” or on his own initiative, Pope Francis said that when St. John Paul II established Opus Dei as the first personal prelature in 1982, he did so to safeguard its charism, particularly its contributions to the church’s evangelising mission by ‘spreading the call to holiness in the world, through the sanctification of work and family and social commitments.’
“… Unlike a diocese or territorial prelature, a personal prelature unites clergy and laity committed to the same missionary or apostolic work. It can have its own seminaries and priests, as Opus Dei does.”
“… Pope Francis noted that his new constitution on the Roman Curia gives the Dicastery for Clergy responsibility for relations with personal prelatures, ‘of which the only one so far erected is that of Opus Dei.’”
“… Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, who was elected prelate of Opus Dei and approved by Pope Francis in 2017, said that while the first two prelates of Opus Dei were bishops, ‘the episcopal ordination of the prelate was not and is not necessary for the guidance of Opus Dei.’”
Criticisms and Rebuttals
Church and State is a news website and Network for Church Monitoring (N4CM) initiative, a non-profit organisation founded in 2011 in London. It addresses the world’s formidable challenges in the 21st century, including overpopulation, environmental sustainability, and social stability. Network for Church Monitoring’s commitment to women’s reproductive health, rights, and empowerment is critical of the Catholic Church’s opposition to population growth control. It says this about Opus Dei (in an article titled Opus Dei: Neofascism Within the Catholic Church, published on 19th February 2012, via Daily Kos:
“… And so courageous men that fought a military dictatorship and died in exile are forgotten while Escriva is the sainted founder of Opus Dei. Racist. Fascist. Holocaust Denier. Despite the fact that we know about his writings, his views, his pretension to political power, and his support of Franco, all of these facts surrounding the man have been referred to as “Black Myths.” Catholic authorities deny that any of this happened, and call anyone who dares point out indisputable facts “anti-catholic.” Just like those laws about birth control.”
“… [The founder of Opus Dei], Saint Escriva, has been accused by catholic priests who knew him of Holocaust Denial, and many recall statements by Escriva defending Hitler. Saint Escriva has said that Hitler couldn’t have killed 6 million Jews, and that ‘Hitler against the Jews’ really meant ‘Hitler against communism.’”
An earlier paper (2006), titled The Catholic Right: An Introduction To The Role Of Opus Dei, focused again on Opus Dei:
“… It is no accident that Opus Dei coalesced in Franco’s Spain. Even today, rumours and stories persist about its involvement with Francisco Franco’s forces from 1936 through 1939. This should be no surprise since Iberian Catholicism has constantly flirted with extremism. It was fanatical enough to produce the Spanish Inquisition whereby all dissent was brutally stifled. It built and controlled a global empire that lasted until 1898. The Spanish monarchy had applied its particular brand of Catholicism with continued zealous fervour in its New World colonies. Native Americans who refused to accept conversion were often maimed and brutally murdered.”
According to Church and State in a paper titled The Vatican: Opus Dei and the Extreme Right Wing, the Vatican is the only country in the world that denies having its own intelligence service. The Pope and all highly placed Catholics deny this and reject even the slightest espionage activity or connections of the Holy Throne with international intelligence. Inter alia, it cites:
“… In his book The Vatican Papers, the well-known Italian publicist Nino Lo Bello claims that the Vatican has the world’s most efficient and widespread spy network. This network is known as Sodalitium Pianum. Sodalitium Pianum was formed in 1909 by Pope Pius XII to monitor and report to the Holy Office any deviations from orthodoxy. At first, they were merely busy with the silencing of less orthodox theologians by prohibiting publications and by removing them from teaching positions.”
“… Some time ago, the Belgian parliament placed the Opus Dei on a list of ‘dangerous religious sects’, which it had to subsequently withdraw due to the uproar of Opus Dei numeraries and supernumeraries from around the world.”
Worth reading too is an article on ABC News titled Controversy Over Opus Dei, the central theme being:
“… Opus Dei’s central theme is that people can be holy in everyday life through prayer, discipline and generosity toward others. The group is unique in the church in that most of its members are lay persons, and many of them, called ‘numeraries’ and ‘associates’, make commitments of lifelong chastity.”
“… Numeraries contacted say they lead fulfilled, happy lives. Opus Dei’s national spokesman, Brian Finnerty, a numerary member himself, says the group respects the freedom of its members and potential members. He says members are free to choose whether or not to join and remain in Opus Dei and to submit to its practices, such as having their mail read by superiors and signing over their salaries.”
A Wikipedia website (Controversies about Opus Dei) provides what seems to be a balanced perspective taking both criticisms and the objections to critics into account.
Women represent 57% of the membership of the Opus Dei Prelature. Although Opus Dei and its supporters reject any suggestion their policies are inappropriate, the role of women in Opus Dei has not infrequently been a source of criticism for the organisation, such as:
- Unmarried male and female numeraries are segregated, with only limited contact between genders—male and female numeraries live in separate centres and attend separate classes and retreats. A criticism is that there are separate entrances for men and women, but this is not so: there are separate entrances to the men’s house and the women’s house, but men and women can enter either house through the appropriate entrance.
- Similarly, there is a sub-group of female numeraries in Opus Dei known as “assistants” who perform the cooking, cleaning, sewing, and other household tasks as their professional work and to serve the others (presumably males).
- Members emphasise that the numerary assistants clean both men’s and women’s centres, but critics argue that while women clean for men, men never clean for women.
Other negative commentary includes:
- Opus Dei is like a Cult.
- Critics accuse Opus Dei of being secretive and elitist, but members wholeheartedly reject this.
- Theologically conservative, Opus Dei accepts the teaching authority of the church without question and has long been the subject of controversy; it has been accused of secrecy, cultlike practices, and political ambitions.
- In The Secret World of Opus Dei, the author Michael Walsh thinks that Opus Dei is part of a vast financial and political conspiracy that is trying to take over the Church and secular governments.
- The Maria Auxiliadora Prayer Group aims to make known Opus Dei characteristics – starting with the idea that they believed deceit is a common practice in Opus Dei. They claim to have used serious and documented sources. They say ‘the sect works indeed as a secret lodge. Good-willed persons were attracted and suffered undesirable experiences. Christ is truth and not manipulating secret lodges.’
On the website of Saint Pius X (SSPX), in an exclusive English translation of an article appearing in Le Sel de la Terre (No. 11), Nicolas Dehan probes Opus Dei and its beatified founder, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer. This ‘dossier’ concludes with a response from Opus Dei, Dehan’s counter-response, and a commentary regarding the approbation of Opus Dei by the Catholic Church. Worth reading. It’s available online at: https://sspx.org/en/opus-dei-a-strange-pastoral-phenomenon-josemaria-scriva
Italian journalist Vittorio Messori writes off any criticism of Opus Dei as coming from malcontents and unorthodox Catholics, ignoring the fact that many devout believers, including bishops, have voiced concern about the organisation’s recruiting methods, its treatment of women, and the use of spiritual direction as a means of mind control (see Maria del Carmen Tapia, Beyond the Threshold, p. 788). Messori’s uncritical approach serves only to reinforce the authoritarian image of Opus Dei and perhaps raises more questions than it answers.
Undeniably, Opus Dei has received a lot of bad press. First and foremost, it is not the nefarious secret society portrayed in The Da Vinci Code film. Originally, maybe the negativity came about because of the prominence of some of its members in Franco’s cabinet toward the end of his regime in Spain, maybe because it has also been accused of, inter alia, obsessive secrecy, an authoritarian ethos, being in bed with right-wing forces in Latin America, accumulating an enormous amount of wealth, and brainwashing its members – all of which allegations Opus Dei deny.
Many Catholics in Europe and the US regard Opus Dei as politically reactionary, extreme in its spiritual and worldly ambition, and devious. The group’s methods of “recruiting”, especially college students, have been criticised as overbearing or worse. There is even an organisation, the Opus Dei Awareness Network (ODAN), dedicated to exposing the group’s methods. But Opus Dei has admirers who see it as a defender of traditional moral values, especially of the family, as well as a providential source of evangelical enthusiasm, orthodoxy, and unquestioned loyalty to the Holy See in Rome. Chief amongst those admirers was John Paul II, who presided over the speedy canonisation of the movement’s founder. Critics, however, saw Escriva’s 2002 canonisation as a sign of the organisation’s egregiously amassed wealth and malign influence – critics say Escriva’s authoritarian temperament and sometimes violent behaviour were never fully investigated by the Church.
In judging Opus Dei, its methods and aims, its critics and admirers, one must not fall prey to what is known as the Rashomon Effect– where people give significantly different but equally believable details of the same event. It describes a situation where the people involved in the same incident give conflicting and contradictory interpretations or descriptions, yet everyone’s interpretation seems perfectly plausible, wherein lies confusion and dilemma.
I confess that the foregoing is strong stuff, but are the criticisms fair? Whether yes or no, I express no opinion on the above, one way or the other. It would be best to read the articles and form your own views.
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Sources and Further Reading
- YouTube Video: Is Opus Dei a Catholic Cult, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EXZF7XG_Ck
- Book: Opus Dei: The Truth About its Rituals, Secrets and Power, available at https://amzn.eu/d/dVKEZm0
- Book: The Founder of Opus Dei: The Life of Josemaría Escrivá, Volume I: The Early Years, by Andres Vazquez De Prada, published by Scepter Publishers, 18th April 2011, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Founder-Opus-Dei-Josemar%C3%ADa-Escriv%C3%A1-ebook/dp/B004X7FA1U/
- Book: The Founder of Opus Dei: The Life of Josemaría Escrivá, Volume II: God and Daring, by Andres Vazquez De Prada, published by Scepter Publishers, 19th April 2011, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Founder-Opus-Dei-Josemar%C3%ADa-Escriv%C3%A1-ebook/dp/B004XDWSDM/
- Book: The Founder of Opus Dei: The Life of Josemaría Escrivá, Volume III: The Divine Ways on Earth, by Andres Vazquez De Prada, published by Scepter Publishers, 18th April 2011, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Founder-Opus-Dei-Josemar%C3%ADa-Escriv%C3%A1-ebook/dp/B004X6ZD5Y/
- Book: Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church, by John L. Allen, published by Doubleday Books, 1st November 2005, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Opus-Dei-History-Catholic-Institution-ebook/dp/B06XR2KRVQ/
- Book: Opus Dei: The Truth About its Rituals, Secrets and Power, by John L. Allen, published by Penguin, 4th May 2006, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Opus-Dei-Truth-Rituals-Secrets/dp/0141024658/
- Book:The Way: The Essential Classic of Opus Dei’s Founder, by Saint Escriv a de Bal, published by Image, 9th May 2006, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Way-Essential-Classic-Opus-Founder/dp/0385518293/
- 1982 Statutes of Opus Dei – Latin and English (unauthorised translation).
- Dominique Le Tourneau (2002). What Is Opus Dei? Gracewing – a French scholar’s synthesis.
- Vittorio Messori (1997). Opus Dei, Leadership and Vision in Today’s Catholic Church. Regnery Publishing – an Italian journalist’s investigation.
- Giuseppe Romano (1995). Opus Dei: Who? How? Why?
- Alba House. a study of an Italian essayist.
- Jean-Jacques Thierry (1975). Opus Dei: A Close Up.
- Cortland Press -the first serious study on Opus Dei to be published, written by a French journalist.
 Updated July 2022. Opus Dei counts about 93,400 members, of whom about 2,300 are priests incarnated in the Prelature; another 2,000 priests are associated with Opus Dei but remain attached to their dioceses. Source: https://catholicphilly.com/2022/07/news/world-news/pope-modifies-opus-deis-relationship-to-curia-highlighting-its-charism/
 Explanation: A Personal Prelature is a canonical structure of the Catholic Church. which comprises a prelate, clergy and laity who undertake specific pastoral activities. Sources and further information: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/amp/news/251851/to-guard-the-charism-in-new-decree-pope-francis-makes-changes-to-opus-deiency.com and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_prelature- Wikipedia
 Statutes of Opus Dei 2.9
 Statutes of Opus Dei 2.8
 Statutes of Opus Dei 2.10
 Statutes of Opus Dei 2.10
 Statutes of Opus Dei 2.8 and 2.9
 Presumably by the person wishing to become a member.
 Source: Paper titled: The Vatican: Opus Dei and the Extreme Right Wing, at https://churchandstate.org.uk/2015/03/the-vatican-opus-dei-espionage-death-and-terrorism/
 Available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vatican-Papers-Nino-Lo-Bello/dp/0450056694
 Source: Vecchi, Gian Guido. “Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz è il nuovo Prelato dell’Opus Dei”. corriere.it.
 Source: “Justina and David: As members of Opus Dei, the McCaffreys seek perfection — even in their wedding dresses”. ottawacitizen.com
 The book is available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-World-Opus-Dei/dp/0246125624/
 The book is available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Threshold-Life-Opus-Dei/dp/0826409377/
 Commentary: According to: Medium.com at: https://medium.com/@samazgor/the-rashomon-effect-a-well-known-problem-of-eyewitness-infidelity-2db42c06753e), the Rashomon Effect is a well-known problem of eyewitness infidelity. It is also known as the ‘Kurosawa Effect’. The Rashomon Effect is named after the popular 1950 film Rashomon, produced by Akira Kurosawa. In a similar vein, An Instance of the Fingerpost is a 1997 historical mystery novel by Iain Pears, the English art historian, novelist and journalist: A murder in 17th century Oxford is told from the contradictory points of view of four of the characters, all of whom are unreliable narrators.