We experienced the strange behavior of an Opus Dei Lieutenant (Left tenant in the UK). He came to our Fundamental Bible believing King James ONLY church, and he sang our praises and pulled our line. When he was discovered and run off by a Holy Spirit led country boy shortly after we left the church, the Opus Dei operative ran straight over to an Evangelical Free church which used the NIV and had an unsaved pastor. The OD boy got real cozy at once. Why? He was "on assignment."
You can benefit by what we learned, or you can find out for yourself. Learn the hard way, and you could end up in absolutely any kind of mess, including blackmail and accusations of virtually any kind. We were delivered by the mercy of God, but we feel that we were VERY close to having a bomb dropped on us as we left Michigan.
As the Amish say, "Ve get too soon olt, und too late schmart."
Subject: Opus Dei : a first installment
A bit later than promised, but here comes my info on OPUS DEI.
I'll translate parts of the book into English (since it will probably never be translated officially : quite a bit is of interest to Belgium only). What I don't translate, and still is interesting, I'll paraphrase. If you've got any questions, just ask, and I'll look it up.
Note : any notes between round brackets () are from the original wri ter, any notes between square brackets  are mine.
goes : Opus Dei
Growth of Opus Dei [part 1 Chapter 5 in the book]
Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer y Albas Marquis of Piralta. Although born of 'ordinary' parents-his father had a chocolate&linen-shop, de Balaguer assumed nobility titles. This preference for the -preferably- nobility elite already shows up. 'El Generalissimo' Franco made him member of the Order of St Raymond of Perraforte (founder of the Holy Inquisition of Aragon). Besides, the growth of Opus Dei coincided with the rule of dictator Franco; non-coincidental parallels in ideological views created the right climate for his rise.
In October 1943 de Balaguer obtained the statue of 'nihil obstat' from the Holy Chair, so that Opus Dei officially became a 'diocese'[don't know the translation for this one]. With this reinforcement the Opus Dei could form it's own priests. Februari 1947 was a very important date for the Institute [another name for the Opus]. Pius XII gave the Opus Dei as first organization [i.e. no one got it before] the statute of secular Institute (or worldly institute, contrary to the closed convents). This means in the first place a papal recognition of de
Balaguer's work. From now one you had to treat the Opus Dei with respect. Because of this recognition the Opus Dei prides itself to be the forerunner of the second Vatican Concile [?is this the right translation?], that decided that not only priests, but laymen too could belong to sainthood. The opening to more Marxist-oriented tendencies-- another element of VaticanumII- is naturally not being shared by the Opus Dei [see later]. Thus the regular praising of the resolutions of VaticanumII by the Institute should strongly be eyed critically [does the word 'relativated' exist in English ?].
On 16 june 1950 Pius XII signed the decree 'Primum Inter'. It gave Opus Dei the right to count even non-christians in its ranks. The next step was to get the title of 'personal prelature'. With this, the Opus
Dei could become independent of the local church hierarchy; only the pope himself would be able to interfere with its affairs. Officially the Opus Dei would have to justify itself to the Congregation for the Bishops (that is now being led by Bernadin Gatin, member of Opus Dei).
The obtaining of this statute didn't go all that easy. Neither pope John XXIII (1958-1963) nor pope Paul VI (1963-1978) had ears for the wishes of de Balaguer. The second Vatican Concile, convoked by John XXIII,-that brought an opening to more marxist views-, stood miles apart from the ideas of the Opus. Although dozens of Bishops protested, mainly from France and Italy,
Don Alvaro Del Portillo Y Diez de Sollano-de Balaguer died in '75- got what he wanted. In August 1982 it started : pope John Paul II, sympathizer with the institute [I think I just hit the English language in the face with a neologism] [about his sympathy more later], gave the Opus Dei the statute of personal prelature, a sort of international diocese without territory. A historical happening within the Church, because it was the first time such a statute was given to a catholic organization. According to a letter from the current leader
Alvaro Del Portillo to cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, of which the contents leaked to the Madrid newspaper El Pais, the statute of personal prelature would imply following changes :
A number of members of the congregation of bishops, between whom the prefect at that time, cardinal Eduardo Piranio, were against the new statute of the Opus. At this moment the top position in the congregation is held by Gatin, so the criticism on the Institute can surely not be heard all that clearly any more. When the statute was granted, the Osservatore Romano [Vatican Magazine] wrote in Capitals :'a victory for the whole of the Church'. In a Jesuit Magazine on the contrary one could read :'a victory for the Church in the Church'. [the Jesuits have lost their power in the Vatican to the Opus. More of that later].
Structure of Opus Dei [part 1 Chapter 6 in the book]
The Opus Dei is structured following a strong hierarchic pattern. The absolute top and power is held by the president-general. Since the death of de Balaguer it is Alvaro del Portillo. The president-general is chosen for life. He is seconded by a secretary-general and advised by a general council of priests from different countries. There are 3 categories of these.
First of all the Societas Sacerdotalis Sanctae Crucis [priestly society of the Holy Cross, ed.], who contain the members-priests of the Opus Dei. This section includes the priests formed by the Opus itself (the so-called presbyterium) as well as the priests trained in other dioceses that took to the Opus Dei doctrine only later. Further- more there are two laymen-sections : one for men, one for women.
The female branche consists primarily of what is called 'numerarii sirvientes' [this could be a typo in the book. IMHO it should read servientes. But I can't be sure] or auxiliares. They are to serve the other members. They do the manual and the homekeeping work in the institutions of Opus Dei. Women should not be learned, dixit de Balaguer. [the complete quote is this, followed by : they should just be intelligent. This will follow in a later article]. The three sections each have their headquarters in Rome, on the Via Bruno Biozzi, nr 73. In each country or region a vicar-general is named as representative of the prelate -the president-general-.
Stature of the members.
At the top are the numerarii, being both priests or laymen. They have to be celibate, to have fulfilled university studies [in other words to have academic degrees] and have to be bodily 'unreproachable'. This means according to secret constitutions that bodily malfunctions such as limping, being a hunchback or even stuttering are impediments to becoming numerarii.
Also important is that numerarii should by preference entertain broad social relations. Some of the numerarii are chosen by the prelate to be inscripti, who are destined for leading functions. Others he names 'choosers, voters' They have amongst other things the right to choose a new president- general. The numerarii generally live in Opus Dei homes and take the vows of poverty, obedience and chastity.
Under the numerarii are the oblates or associated members. They don't have to possess academic titles but have to give themselves completely to the Work [=Opus Dei]. Here also celibacy is obligatory.
Then we have the class of the supernumerarii : laymen -married or not- who fulfill 'worldly' functions. They have to carry out the idea of the Opus Dei within their work environments, and embody the worldly influence of the Institute. It's their task to provide the necessary funds.
The supernumerarii do not have to take any vows, but have certain religious duty such as regular confession with an Opus Dei priest and having discussions with a spiritual leader.
The last class is the one of the cooperadores or cooperators. They are not really members of the Opus Dei, but sympathizers whose support is more financial. Cooperators don't have to be Christian and don't ful- fill an active role in the Opus.
The priests-numerarii, who fall under the Societatis Sacerdotalis San- ctae Crucis, have the real power. That their authority can not be doubted, we learn from 'The Way', the '[untranslatable. substitute very important and unique to the movement']' book of Opus Dei. [see also later.
I might translate the Chapter that contains some references and quotes. They are quite important as it represents the doctrine of the Opus]. Number 61 from 'The Way' tells us 'When a layman presents himself as a master in morals, he often is mistaken; because laymen can herein only be disciples'. Thus, the absolute top of the Opus Dei consists of - according to the secret constitutions - of an intellectual and corporeal [?] elite. An idea as an other.