What is Opus Dei?

Front Cover
Collins & Brown, 2005 - Conspiracies - 256 pages
1 Review
Following publication of 'The Da Vinci Code', the 2002 novel by Dan Brown, a worldwide audience is now aware of the existence of the mysterious cult of Opus Dei. However, very little is actually known about this secret Catholic organisation. In successive chapters, the book investigates the conspiracy theories behind the movement from its inception in 1928 to the present day. Including Opus Dei's movements in Spain where the movement's founder, Escriva, allied his group with Franco's regime - leading to several Opus Dei members occupying key positions in his government; and in Nazi Germany and in particular how at the close of World War II, many leading Nazis escaped through the Knights Of Malta and the Vatican 'rat run' to the Americas. Chapter Three explores Opus Dei's various political involvement in several South American countries - the most important and famous being the movement's involvement in Augusto Pinochet's Chilean Junta. Their links with the Vatican are equally alarming. John Paul II gave the movement a unique status in the church making it a 'personal prelature' strengthening its area of influence in the appointment of a future Pope. which were founded around the same time. Ronald Reagan's appointment of several high profile Opus Dei members is discussed, as is the arrest of double agent Robert Hanson in the 1980s and the Waco Siege. Continuing the 'US' theme, the following chapter assesses Opus Dei's suspected involvement in the death of Roberto Calvi (including the links with the Mafia and the usd1.3 billion missing from the Vatican banks). Spreading the net wider still, Chapter Seven looks at Opus Dei's influence across the former Eastern Bloc in countries like Hungary, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Kazakhstan. The final chapter looks at the present day state of Opus Dei, especially in light of 'The Da Vinci Code'. To conclude there is a further brief look at how Opus Dei is still working behind the scenes in many governments today...

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This book is fairly lax in attributation of facts and shows a low degree of diligence in verifying quoted facts. An example is taking a quote from Arthur Jones of the national catholic reporter that states "10 out of 19 new ministers in Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's 1969 cabinet" were members of opus dei. We then have a statement that only eight cabinet members in the entirety if all Franco 's cabinets were opus dei members. There is no attempt to identify the reasons for disparity. This is just one example among many, though the statement that during the Yugoslav conflict "naturally, the Vatican feared Serbia - as a predominately Muslim nation.. " beggars belief - maybe the author could have checked the serbian flag beforehand - the coat of arms with cross replendent on it helps clarify things. Knowing anything about the conflict would also clear things up. Fact is, you learn a bit about what rumours there are about opus dei and a bit of history but almost nothing about what the title purports to elucidate. What is opus dei? Read the back, you'll learn as much hard, considered information as you will find in the book.  

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About the author (2005)

Friedlander is a freelance sports journalist.

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