Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Pope’s planned trip to Britain and Opus Dei’s money
From Damian Thompson, who is not a liberal
Jack Valero did a good job of countering media misrepresentations of Opus Dei during the controversy over Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’, which ludicrously caricatured the organisation. (I happen to think that the truth about Opus is quite creepy enough without inventing stuff, but that’s just my view.)

But one thing is for sure: Opus has the money and the discipline to organise PR campaigns efficiently, whereas the Bishops of England and Wales famously do not.

I should make it clear that I don’t know Valero, though I’ve seen him gliding about at countless Catholic social events. He has a reputation as an assiduous cultivator of promising and influential people, which is no bad thing in a media man, I suppose: John Paul II had an outstandingly successful Opus press officer.

Here’s what I’d like to know. The visit of Benedict XVI is going to cost a fortune, and the Church is broke. Opus is very rich. How big a piece of the action does it want? “Very big,” says a leading church source. I’m not saying that the Holy Father will be surrounded by albino monks when he arrives, but watch out for smooth operators wearing expensive suits and well practised smiles.
It’s long been my impression, and I’ve met Opus Dei people, that the group are snobbish Novus Ordo neocons, probably with a good deal of crossover into the GOP and Beltway conservatism, working for their own corporate greater glory, or yeah, they’re orthodox but so what? The disgraced Legionaries of Christ were Mexican Opus wannabes. A clique far removed from Arturo’s traditionalism or mine.

Thompson and others report that thanks to immigration (tied into the Brits and Irish contracepting and aborting themselves like much of the rest of western Europe?), RC in the UK is not so much Opus or the local liberals but more and more... Polish, more like Arturo’s and my religion? BTW there are far fewer RCs proportionally there than in the US. More than 20 years ago I found you could be orthodox high church among them (the Brompton Oratory for example, which has done all along what Pope Benedict is now doing) if you were looking for it.

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