Opus Dei

Opus Dei
by John Allen

The morning I sat down to write this review the weekly magazine of our daily newspaper plopped through the letter box. It contained an article on Ruth Kelly. As secretary of state for education, she is Britain’s youngest cabinet minister by far, and the mother of three. She is also a supernumerary member of Opus Dei. When she was appointed a year ago, I had to remind myself as I stepped into the limo to be conveyed to the BBC’s Television Centre to be interviewed, whether it was the health of John Paul that I was supposed to be talking about, or the secretive world of Opus Dei. Not that she-or Opus-would admit to her connection with the group. “That is a private matter,” spokespersons insisted.

Tony Blair’s selection of Kelly caused a flurry in the British press about the internal workings of Opus. Similar flurries come at regular intervals. John Allen suggests they began in the Anglo-Saxon world only in 1982, when Opus became the first-and still the only-personal prelature to be established by the Vatican, a kind of diocese without geographical boundaries. But at least in Britain the media had taken an interest long before, when the extent of Opus Dei involvement in the Spanish government in the late 1960s and early 1970s became common knowledge. Opus, and Allen, tend to play down the organization’s foray into Spanish politics. Reading the highly respected historian of contemporary Spain, Paul Preston, on...

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About the Author

Michael Walsh