Betty Clermont on the Opus Dei Influence in the Church of Pope Francis


William D. Lindsey

As a footnote to what I posted yesterday (citing Colleen Baker) about how influential Opus Dei folks have leapt to the defense of Pope John Paul II as critical questions have been raised about his abysmal handling of the abuse crisis when it broke wide open under his papal leadership: I want to recommend very highly Betty Clermont’s recent essay on how Opus Dei influence has risen to the very top of the Vatican under the current pope, Francis.

Everything Betty writes is exhaustively researched, and densely packed with valuable citations. A brief teaser excerpt from any of her essays does not by any means do justice to the essay — to all that a reader will find there, when she/he grapples with the essay in its complexity.

So I’m offering the following introductory paragraphs to readers here as an encouragement to all of you to go to the essay itself and read it through — you will not be disappointed if you do so:

Opus Dei, an official institution of the Catholic Church, at the top is a secret society of international bankers, financiers, businessmen and their supporters. Their goal is the same as other plutocrats – unbridled power – except they use the influence of the Catholic Church and its worldwide network of institutions exempt from both taxes and financial reporting requirements to advance rightwing parties and governments.
A year after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s elevation as head of the Church and his many appointments, the dust has settled. Three cardinals have emerged as the most powerful in this papacy; all have close ties to Opus Dei. Two now control all Vatican finance.

When the history of this perplexing period of Catholic institutional life, in which reform seems to become anti-reform and decentralization becomes more concerted centralization — all attended by Opus-Dei directed media spin and glitzy circuses that divert our attention from the inversion of values* we’re seeing with our own eyes — is written, right at the very center of the text will be the words “Opus Dei.” The influence of that rich, secretive, reactionary, and very powerful movement at the heart of the Catholic church from the papacy of John Paul II right through to today cannot be overestimated.

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