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The Vatican and Saints

Rightly or wrongly, anti-clericalism often takes the form of attacks on Catholic orders. There is a long tradition of blaming the Jesuits for all kinds of evils; my own, non-Catholic opinion is that the attacks were exaggerated. In the 30s they lost this dishonorable status to the Opus Dei, which in my academic experience was accused of trying to take over universities. Its declared intention of getting professional people to carry on "the work of God", i.e. to operate professionally according to God's ethics, would seem admirable. No one could claim that Enron executives were carrying out God´s work. The problem with Opus is its secrecy; secrecy is also the reason for much traditional anti-Masonic feeling. Pope John Paul II is said to favor the Legionaries of Christ (or is it Legionaires?).

John Heelan writes: " Only a few scant years after his death, the Vatican is about the sanctify [more correctly, to canonize] Monsignor Escrivá de Balaguer ,who founded Opus Dei in 1928. Opus De is a quasi-Masonic, lay Catholic organisation with an ultra-conservative, elitist philosophy. Secretive in nature, with lay and clerical members, its avowed goal were/are the conquest of centres of state power for an authoritarian brand of Catholicism. It is no surprise that Opus Dei achieved prominence during the Franco regime, providing many ministers to Franco's ruling hierarchy. [Many members of the Acción Popular party are said to belong to the Opus Dei].

Further, the Spanish ecclesiastical hierarchy is seeking sanctification of Isabel la Católica, which, should it happen, would justify the depredations of the Inquisition and expose the Church's ecumenical lie regarding Jews, Muslims and other non-Catholics. It seems that the politics of organised religion politics have as little ethical justification as the politics of nations".

My comment: "Elitist" is a politically correct insult. "Lie" is a strong word. I believe Pope John Paul II is sincere in his attempts.The real problem is that canonization supposedly requires three miracles, and the Pope waffles on that. There is supposed to be an advocatus diaboli, a "devil's advocate" whose job is to disprove allegations of miracles. If he exists, he is doing a pretty poor job. What miracles are attributed to Isabel la Católica and Escrivá? In fact, this miracle business has historically done great harm to the Catholic Church. If we evaluate religions, their absence in Islam is a plus. Protestant churches abandoned the cult of saints, but mostly keep silent about them, but the Episcopalians still speak of "the communion of saints". What about the cult of saints in the Orthodox Church?

Ronald Hilton - 3/6/02