|Harto : |
The Irish Times
by Aidan O’Sullivan (16/1/1998, p.14)
Dr. John Roche, the Galway-born Oxford university lecturer who earlier this week disclosed details of the religious organisation Opus Dei to the London Times, has commented on its Irish branch.
A senior member of the organisation for 14!/2 years, Dr. Roche now lectures at Linacre College Oxford, and said that the Irish wing of Opus Dei numbers its membership at more than one thousand with about 30 priest-members...
He said that organisation, largely a lay Catholic one, is widely dispersed throughout the country, from its initial base in Galway and Dublin, where its Irish branch was founded in the 1950’s despite some opposition initially from the late Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. John Charles McQuaid.
Dr. Roche is no longer a member of Opus, and said that he is writing a book about the organisation which originated in Spain. He said that when it became known some years ago that he was taking notes on how Opus Dei operates, a superior ordered him to hand over his documents, but that he had copies of the originals which were given back when he was on holiday in Galway. He said that Opus Dei was easily able to recruit university students here in the 1950’s as there was little intellectual stimulation in the university atmosphere at that time, and that the organisation offered some stimulus and leadership in comparatively apathetic times.
However he was critical of the organisation on several grounds, particularly its secrecy, adding that even after all his years of membership he was unsure how many members made up the Irish branch and he was unaware of the identity of most of the members. He said that few ex-members ever talked about the organisation, an indication of the conditioning imposed by the rules.
The internal structure of the organisation too, is a carefully guarded secret he said, as are some of the practices. Some Irish members whip themselves daily with a leather whip impregnated with metal, and Dr. Roche said that he has produced this whip for journalists to see over the last few days. Other practices include curtailment of personal freedom, and some women members sleep on bare boards.
A spokesman for Opus Dei in Dublin said the organisation was very hurt about Dr. Roche’s allegations, but it would not be replying to them, saying that this was not appropriate at the present time. He said that the members of Opus Dei had visited the editor of the London Times over the last few days, asking The Times to apologise for its story on Dr. Roche’s disclosures, adding that they caused deep hurt to the organisation.
The university hostel operated by Opus Dei, such as Nullamore in Dublin and Gort Ard and Ros Geal in Galway, are really recruiting grounds for the various degree of Opus Dei membership, Dr. Roche alleged. So too are its youth clubs, run under the St. Raphael banner. He quoted extensively from the works of Opus Dei’s founder Monsignor Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, which this out clearly to Opus Dei members emphasising that recruitment is the prime drive of the organisation.
Added that he is a concerned Catholic, and that his aim has been to reform rather than damage Opus Dei R. Roche said that eventually he was expelled from the organisation when it became clear that he was making a study of its internal working and was sceptical of its recruitment techniques particularly involving teenagers , some as young as 15, who were told that if their parents disapproved, they should not confide membership to their families.
Opus Dei funds its Irish operations, Dr. Roche said, by having some of its members give up part of their salaries to the organisation. He also said that Opus Dei members asked acquaintances they felt could afford it, for support.
As an organisation, he said it exerted considerable political influence, and most probably had members or sympathisers highly placed in Irish politics, not to mention the media, business, banks and the professions, particularly medicine. Most people associated with Opus Dei, apart from a few, denied membership, or any association, and this tactic is fully approved by Opus Dei as a matter of course. In this, Opus Dei has been linked to the Masons, on which it is reputedly modelled.
Moving to the structure of Opus Dei in Ireland, he said that its headquarters are at Harvieston, Cunningham Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin. Here the priest members live, while it also has an information centre at 9, Hume Street, in Dublin.
It has vertical and horizontal degrees of membership involving both clergy (including diocesan clergy) and lay people.
Numerarii, he said, were the top people, taking private vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, from which hunchbacks, the one-eyed and stutterers were excluded. Dr. Roche said that such exclusions were common at certain levels in the Church until recently.
Next came Supernumerarii, which made up most of the membership, and were mainly married lay people, offering their first loyalty to Opus Dei, not their spouse, and who supported the organisation financially to some extent.
Associates came next, and are intellectually inferior most often to the high ranks, while the Numerarii are almost always graduates.
Cooperators have been more of a helping role, mostly financially. Freemasons and Communists are excluded, while membership of Opus Dei generally is open to all religions, but in Ireland is mainly Catholic.
Pope John Paul II, Dr. Roche said, was a Cooperator of Opus Dei prior to his election as Pope, but was obliged by the nature of the Papacy to relinquish all ties with religious orders. Opus Dei’s influence in Vatican circles, and in Ireland, has increased recently as Opus Dei members took up key Vatican advisory positions.
Dr. Roche said that he knew of no members of Opus in Ireland who had seen a full list of members or a list of any category of membership.
Publicado el Miércoles, 02 marzo 2005