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The Opus Dei: Mexico
Opinions about the Opus Dei vary. David Crow, who lived for years in Mexico, writes:
I worked as an English teacher at an all-boys elementary and secondary school in Mexico City run by the Opus Dei. My estimate is that the vast majority of the students parents' would have been in the top 5% of the national income distribution curve. Students' treatment of teachers ranged from polite diffidence to condescension. Some of the disciplinary methods included having students hold heavy books in their outstretched arms for as long as they could or making them do pushups on their knuckles with their feet resting on one of the higher shelves of a bookcase. (To be fair, these methods may have been those of a particularly sadistic teacher; in any event, he was never castigated by school authorities.)
The teachers' lounge was often infiltrated by "spies" (teachers of religion classes) and those who told the odd blue joke were made to appear before the headmasters. Once, the teachers organized an outing to a local strip joint (I didn't go, having been ill that day). The administrators found out not only exactly who went, but who had requested private table dances. All were warned that if they did so again, they would be summarily dismissed.
Opus Dei is certainly not Communist. Rather, its origins are Fascist. Founder José María Escriva Balaguer was a prominent supporter of the Franco regime. Apparently, the legacy lives on in Mexico. Here are more favorable views from Mexicans. Juan Pablo Senosiain says the Opus Dei is elitist rather than secretive. Bernardo Naranjo says:
"Remember that Opus Dei, as any other organization, is integrated by many individuals who may share a mission (that makes them an organization) but who does not share exactly their opinions in politics or in the means to achieve their goals. I know many people from Opus Dei and, believe it or not, there is variety, but in general are good, committed people. Yes, from middle class or higher, but that does not make them bad or evil. The fear of the family about their son is understandable, but like most fears, they reflect the need of that family to understand such organization. PS: I do not belong to Opus Dei!!"
My comment: Both accounts can be true. Incidentally, I notice that Bernardo is from Naucalpan, which has been very much in the news recently: I wonder what he thinks of events there.
Ronald Hilton - 3/15/00