To learn about this movie and see previews from it, There Be Dragons (2011) – The Movie Database
So, what were my questions?
Who did they support during the Spanish Civil War? The Communists or the faithful Catholic Franco? In the movie it showed none of this, but Josemaria’s friend was with the Communists. The entire movie was odd, it was when the errors of Modernism swept into Spain and how he hid as a lay man and his female members, he had to pretend to be married, those who helped him form Opus Dei, they seemed weird as well. I mean, it’s a good action movie with themes of Catholicism, but a very modernist Catholicism.
Let me go through this article by Canon Lawyer Nicolas Dehan and he will speak on this.
“For over sixty years, “God’s Work” has labored very discreetly, so much so that some of its opponents – and it does have some – have defined it as clerical Freemasonry.
Josemaria Escriva, who died in 1975, hurtled over the various stages of the beatification process and was pushed up to the altar with amazing speed: 17 years. Certainly, the media seized upon this sensational aspect of the event, so rarely seen in Church history. For instance, think of the time it took – 170 years – to define the heroic virtue of an authentic popular apostle like Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort.
Thus, logic based on Church history prompts attempting to discover a reason justifying the urgency surrounding the introduction of Msgr. Escriva’s beatification process, and its acceleration. His cause was opened in 1981, six years after his death.
During the years of the process, the Opus Dei, which has no media antennae of its own, and conforming to its principle of discretion, reached its affiliates in the intellectual and professional classes through an annual Information Bulletin, addressed to select cadres. This private publication exalted the Spanish priest’s deep interior life and his apostolate; it reviewed and commented on his written and social work; it informed readers of the progress of his cause in the Roman Curia; and gave a brief overview of the Opus Dei’s expressions and its international activities. Although not much, this was enough to get and keep the attention of the Bulletin’s readers, who might be curious about, or interested in, restoring the social order upon spiritual foundations. Nothing written in this publication, a priori, arouses any suspicion of an orientation deviating from the traditional teaching of the Church. Thus, the reader faithful to Church teaching remains trusting.”
“The same Bulletin also serves as a remembrance for those who knew the apostolate and work, some decades ago, of another Spanish priest, Rev. Fr. Vallet.
Information on the Opus Dei leads to comparing the two works, as well to deducing two facts:
- an obvious similarity in style of apostolate of Rev. Fr. Vallet’s work, founded in 1922, and that of Fr. Escriva in 1928.
- a coincidence of the dates of the suppression of Fr. Vallet’s work, his expulsion from Spain at the hierarchy’s order, and the birth of Fr. Escriva’s work only a few weeks later during the same year, and supported by the same hierarchy.
The grand silence maintained by the Church on the missionary and social work of Jesuit Fr. Francois de Paule Vallet and, over these many years, the great amount of discretion enveloping Fr. Josemaria Escriva’s work, is enough to whet the curiosity, to incite lifting the veil by investigating all documentation on these works. Let us begin with what the Conciliar Church today exalts.”
In the 1920’s, the Jesuit priest, Fr. Francois de Paule Vallet (1883-1947), having discovered the power of conversion possible through the 30-day Ignatian Exercises, made them available to more people, especially laity, by condensing them into a 5-day format.
In 1928, Fr. Vallet founded the Parochial Co-operators of Christ the King with the express purpose of presenting this abbreviated form of the Exercises to laity, who for reasons of time, money, and physical and mental capacity found the 30-day regimen too difficult. The 5-day retreat was an “adaptation to modern man” while still preserving the masterpieces of the original 30-day format.
The Cooperators’ apostolate went international, and in France and Spain spawned “La Cite Catholique,” a network of lay cells in France and Spain which studied Catholic doctrine and worked practically to restore Christ as King over society. (Some 5,000 former retreatants died fighting for a Catholic Spain against the Communists in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39). Edited from the Verbum
“Opus Dei’s spirituality: sanctification through work
On October 2, 1928, Fr. Escriva de Balaguer knew the will of God in all its implications… The light received was not a general inspiration, but a precise illumination; he knew from the outset that The Work was not a human one, but a great supernatural undertaking; …the founder was able to describe it, presenting its total newness: all men are called to holiness and to apostolate, “without leaving the world, on the condition that they supernaturalize, above all, the temporal realities in which they are immersed: professional work, family and social responsibilities.”
If this proposition is not false, it is essential to know how to interpret this phrase:
provided that he supernaturalize the temporal realities above all.
“What took shape was a veritable pastoral phenomenon,” writes Dominique Le Tourneau. In the 1920’s, the wind was favorable to novelties, echoes of which were found at all ecclesiastical levels. In the beginning of the century, modernism was condemned but not neutralized. Taking refuge in clandestinity, it flourished, fostering a climate of return to novelties, or of a favorable reception to them: liturgical change, pastoral novelties, the marriage of the Church and the world.
The Opus Dei refutes 10 centuries of Tradition
One of the next chapter’s subheadings, “The religious concept,” is instructive:
In the lives of the early Christians, work was not seen as something “good in itself” and, above all, was considered an ascetic means for combating pride… Among the Fathers of the Church, St. John Chrysostom, who paid great attention to work, was the last prominent Churchman to speak of the sanctification of the ordinary life in the same terms as Vatican II. After him, one gets the impression that the ordinary Christian is not called to fully live the Gospel. This prevailed up to the fifth century; regarding apostolate, it does not seem to have been part of the Christian’s obligations. In the Rule of St. Benedict, it is more the monastery than the monk who carries out apostolate.(!)
After this quotation, which inspires amazement and uneasiness, the author outlines the horizon where he wishes to lead the reader:
The appearance of the mendicant orders brought with it an emphasis on preaching, with preacher-monks traveling from city to city. This did not imply any affirmation of the value of professional work. On the contrary, above all, it seems to have increased the distance from it… The theologians of the mendicant orders did not reflect much upon the fundamental dimension of work; they affirmed the non-obligatory character of manual work. St. Thomas presents the secular occupations as an obstacle to contemplation. St. Bonaventure and others express a similar opinion.
Some other institutions more directly present in the world (military orders and medieval guilds) furnished scant ascetic and doctrinal preparation favorable to an awareness of the need to sanctify work.
Over the course of subsequent centuries, attention was deflected from work. The author of The Imitation of Jesus Christ judged work even more negatively than had the Desert Fathers. But the polarity that they erected between work and pride underwent a basic distortion in that work was seen as a constraint upon the effort implied in the ascetic struggle. This is the conception of Cisneros8 in his Exercitatorio and of St. Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises.
The Opus Dei: liberalism’s new antenna
After having disposed of the Church’s tradition, the Opus Dei prudently sets forth its doctrine’s spirit: The Opus Dei’s theologian’s following quotation sums it up:
A certain positive evolution was begun during the Renaissance by some men like Thomas More and Erasmus (…) However, the Catholic theology of the Renaissance and of the Baroque eras were in part contaminated by the ideas of an aristocracy which, by way of a narrow and badly founded moralism, held manual labor in contempt…“
Vasquez de la Prada, in El fundator del Opus Dei, says the same thing, recognizing that the spirit of the Opus Dei formerly qualified as being innovative and heretical, but is today ratified by Vatican II. He writes:
His [Escriva’s] collaborator and successor – Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo – [recently deceased – English Ed.] – who is faithful to the Council, and who contributed to its development, made this comment, “On many occasions during the approval of conciliar documents, legitimizing them while speaking with the founder of the Opus Dei, I repeated to him: ‘Congratulations: Because what is in your soul, and what you have unfailingly taught since 1929 has been solemnly proclaimed by the magisterium of the Church‘”…
This doctrine which thirty years ago would have been considered to be folly and heresy has been invested with official solemnity.
This is an unvarnished admission of the upheaval of the Church’s traditional doctrine. The Opus’ new doctrine was ratified yesterday by the Council and glorified today by the beatification. Because we are not fools, [we must say that] the beatification is the integration of Opus’ principles into the conciliar Church’s doctrine.
Opus members know, and have no compunction about this destruction of Tradition. In the book, Estudios sobre camino [Studies on The Way – Ed.], in a chapter titled, “A Silent Revolution,” José Miguel Ceja makes this comment:
The novelty of the teachings of Msgr. Escriva consisted not only in being a new way of making an apostolic task practical, this being more or less similar to what, in previous times, the Church undertook through the concept and praxis of apostolate…, [Rather], The Way represented a quasi – and even non-quasi – scandalous novelty.
Ordinary Christians in the World: What does the Opus Dei say about itself?
While Opus Dei is people far more than it is institutions, there are a certain number of institutions conducted by members on their own initiative, which in one way or another embody the spirit and purpose of the organization.
Although these institutions – universities, schools, study centers, student residences, conference centers, and professional or vocational training institutes of various kinds – have an apostolic purpose, they are not officially ‘Catholic,’ since members of Opus Dei conduct them on their own and in collaboration with others who are not only not members of Opus Dei but, in many cases, not even Catholics. Opus Dei itself takes responsibility only for the spiritual and doctrinal aspects of the programs of these institutions, not for their practical and professional management…
In addition to the members of Opus Dei and the priests associated with the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, there are also ‘Cooperators’ who help through their prayers, work, and financial assistance. In return, they benefit from the prayers of members and other spiritual helps. If they wish, they can participate in various spiritual and educational activities. Non-Catholics as well as Catholics can be Cooperators. (Opus Dei was the first Church institution to have non-Catholic Cooperators.)
(Taken from Ordinary Christians in the World. What is Opus Dei? pp. 12, 14. Available from: 99 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY 10804)
The houses of Opus Dei are inter-confessional residences where ‘students of all religions and ideologies live.’ (Conversaciones con Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, Conversations with Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, Rialp, p.117).
The affirmation of pluralism for Catholics in the first years of the Opus was an incomprehensible novelty to many, because they had been formed in a totally opposite direction. (Ibid., p.311).
The Work was the first association of the Church which opened its arms fraternally to all men, without a distinction as to their creed or confession” (Tiempo de Caminas, Ana Sastre, Rialp, p.610).
These are not only words: our Work is the first organization to have authorization from the Holy See to admit non-Catholics, Christians or not. I have always taken the defense of liberty of conscience. (Conversaciones, p.296).
“In the above, there are two questionable, debatable points which are illusionary, utopian and mistaken:
- The Opus Dei is not a type of political party. (Yes, it is! And we shall eventually prove it here.)
- …all of the viewpoints allowed by a Christian conscience.
Since conscience has been lately defined by natural morality as the “interior sentiment by which man gives witness to himself as to the good and evil that he does” (Larousse), the winds of liberalism have completely deformed this ethic beyond recognition. Conscience, still claiming to be Christian, seduced by the world, arrives at its aggiornamento: it is now elastic and permissive. It allows today what was inadmissible yesterday. Examples abound. Thus, the Opus puts Christian conscience on a very long leash by allowing those with every viewpoint, of all religions, and even non-believers in its ranks, and above all, in its “corporate apostolic activities.”
Le Tourneau states:
For the Founder, the Catholic solution to various problems in the world does not exist.
All solutions will be Christian if they respect natural law and Gospel teaching. He therefore does not put the emphasis on the materiality of the solution, but on the spirit which should inspire it.
These sentences are laden with meaning, power, and destruction. It is necessary to stop here. The Catholic solution is cast aside. Thus the door is open to every solution, all vaguely tinged with ecumenical religiosity.
Meanwhile, pontifical documents reveal the solution to the social question, to the problems of work, to the social order, all of which were in circulation during the first years of the Opus Dei. The encyclicals Mens Nostra (December 20, 1929) and Quadragesimo Anno (May 15, 1931) are specific enough. The solution is Catholic. For example, Pope Pius XI declares that the Spiritual Exercises, in conjunction with retreats, are proper means for resolving the social question:
We have declared these to be very useful for all laymen, for workers… In this school of the spirit is formed, through the love of the heart of Jesus, not only excellent Christians, but true apostles for all states of life.
Let us again ask: Why, at the time of these clear pontifical directives, was Fr. Vallet’s work destroyed, especially since it conformed to this teaching? The internal disintegration of the Church had begun. The modernists installed in the Curia successfully surrounded and beat down St. Pius X’s faithful heirs, who were the artisans of the social kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev. Fr. Vallet was among these faithful heirs and his work was an excellent means for “restoring all things in Christ.”
Fr. de Balaguer’s fledgling work took a totally other direction through its being pushed and protected by Msgr. Eijo y Garay. We find this direction defined in our reference work’s Chapter IV, where its nature is presented in paragraph four, under the heading, “Corporate works of apostolate”:
[The apostolate of its own members is primarily] a personal apostolate of friendship and trust. Nevertheless, members of the Opus, joining with their friends, who may be non-Catholics or even non-Christians, sometimes set up corporate works of apostolate. These are always professional and civil in character, radiate a Christian spirit, and contribute to the resolution of contemporary world problems. In any case, these works are not ever official works, nor even officially Catholic… [T]hey are carried out and directed with a lay mentality.
This is aberrant! It is the very apostolic mentality condemned by Popes Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII.
“Moreover,” continues Le Tourneau,
these activities are open to men and women of all backgrounds, without discrimination against their social status, race, religion or ideology. This also applies to The Work’s benefactors, as well as to its administrative personnel… It is in co-existence that the person is formed.
This professional and civil character between people of different religions and ideologies, with the same skills or same business, or in the same association, resembles an organization based on similar interests, such as a sports club, a theater troop, but in no way resembles an apostolic work. It is truly a tissue of contradictions; it is to desacralize apostolate, it is apostolate’s negation, as well as the negation of the propagation of the faith, whose mission is conversion; it is to pervert the very sense of the word apostolate.
In Conversations with Msgr. Escriva de Balaguer, one is not astonished to read: “Long live students of all religions and all ideologies.” In the same document, he says, “Pluralism is not to be feared but loved as a legitimate consequence of personal freedom.”
This passion for freedom prompted Escriva to make some of the Opus’ residences inter-confessional. Thus freedom comes before the truth. The truth is an obstacle. Escriva is really the precursor, the inspiration and doctor of the new world order, whose working model we saw at Assisi.
The Opus Dei is a contemporary modernist manifestation, and, as such, falls exactly under the sentence pronounced against modernism and reiterated by the magisterium, particularly by St. Pius X’s Encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, promulgated on September 8, 1907 and, more precisely, by his August 25, 1910 Letter on the Sillon, condemning these utopias:
At once alarming and saddening are the audacity and the shallowness of spirit of men who call themselves Catholic, who dream of reshaping society… with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions or without any, with or without beliefs, provided only that they forego whatever divides them… The Church, which has never betrayed the happiness of the people by making compromising alliances, has no need to free herself from the past; all that is needed is to take up again, with the help of the social restoration’s true workers, the organisms shattered by the Revolution and to adapt them, in the same Christian spirit that inspired them, to the new milieu created by the material development of contemporary society. For the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators, but traditionalists.”
I urge all my followers to finish reading this report by Canon Lawyer Nicolas Dehan and share it, this important information needs to be shared!