Opus Dei

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Opus Dei

(ō`pəs dā`ē) [Lat.,=work of God], Roman Catholic organization, particularly influential in Spain, officially the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by a wealthy lawyer turned priest, José María Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás, who objected to the liberal, secular atmosphere at the Univ. of Madrid. As a Catholic institution, it emphasizes that ordinary Christians can achieve holiness and change society for the better through how they live their everyday lives. Opus Dei gained national importance in Spain after the civil war, when it received support from goverment of Francisco FrancoFranco, Francisco
, 1892–1975, Spanish general and caudillo [leader]. He became a general at the age of 32 after commanding the Spanish Foreign Legion in Morocco.
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. In the 1950s and 60s it replaced the FalangeFalange
[Span.,=phalanx], Spanish political party, founded in 1933 as Falange Española by José António Primo de Rivera, son of the former Spanish dictator.
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 as the most important conservative political and religious force in Spain. Its influence there, however, has waned since the early 1970s.

Receiving increased support from the Vatican since the late 1970s, the organization has grown to more than 85,000 members in more than 80 countries. In 1950 the Vatican recognized it as a secular institute; in 1982 it was given the status of "personal prelature." Its membership is now, therefore, considered a separate diocese with its own bishop.

Believing that a Catholic can lead a holy life without taking religious vows, lay members pledge to serve God in worldly vocations; roughly a third of the members live communally and celibately in Opus Dei centers. The movement seeks to promote traditional Catholic values and teaching and to oppose liberalism and immorality, and is noted for its emphasis on preaching to government officials, professionals, intellectuals, and business executives. Opus Dei has been controversial among some Catholics because of its secretive nature, its emphasis on discipline, its conservatism, and its historical association with the Franco regime in Spain. This controversy became pronounced in 1992 when the Vatican, under John Paul II, beatified Escrivá; Escrivá was canonized in 2002.


See M. del C. Tapia, Beyond the Threshold (1997); J. L. Allen, Opus Dei (2005).

References in periodicals archive ?
Hasta ese momento el fundador del Opus Dei no habia celebrado una Misa al aire libre ante una gran cantidad de pueblo (se calculan que estaban presentes unas 30.
He moved to Rome in 1970, where he collaborated with the Opus Dei founder.
Josemaria from the very beginning was that Opus Dei was mainly about "formation": its passion had to be to instruct people on good, clear doctrine and to prepare them to do likewise to others.
Ademas, el interes aumenta para el canonista que considera fundamental el estudio de la genesis y la vida de las instituciones juridicas, cuando viene a saber que los antecedentes de esta figura se encuentran en los iniciales documentos juridicos redactados para el Opus Dei por su fundador san Josemaria Escriva, y que se van perfilando a lo largo del ya conocido como <<itinerario juridico del Opus Dei>> (2).
It was unfortunate that the Associated Press writer of the article in the Telegram & Gazette, rather than write about his substantial contributions to the Second Vatican Council, to other Vatican commissions, his encouragement of social service projects to alleviate poverty and suffering, as well as his responsibilities as head of Opus Dei for 19 years, chose instead to related old errors and misrepresentations, as well as Dan Brown's fantasies.
I had just started to live the plan of life in Opus Dei in earnest, when he died suddenly, just 17 hours after he celebrated Mass at the Cenacle.
Obeying the orders of founding priest, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer y Albas, the first group of Spanish women associated with Opus Dei arrived in Mexico in March 1950.
The source added: "Madonna has never been one for sticking to convention and has always been intrigued by Opus Dei.
Si, pero basada en la mas extensa red de escuelas de negocios de America Latina y Espana: la que conforman 10 escuelas de negocios afiliadas al Opus Dei, una prelatura catolica de origen espanol caracterizada por una fuerte inclinacion conservadora y alta valoracion del trabajo.
The primary purpose of this article is to consider these conferences as markers of a "new global grammar" to which the most dogmatic Catholic entities, particularly the Vatican, its representatives in the hierarchy and its colleagues like Opus Dei (see box), had to adapt and react.
The appointment puts the pastorally minded Mexican-born archbishop, a member of Opus Dei, in line to become the first Hispanic cardinal of the United States.
Un jesuita, un dominico y sacerdote del Opus Dei, ademas del secretario de la Comision Pontificia Ecclesia Dei, conforman la comision que establecio el Vaticano para dialogar con los miembros de la Fraternidad de San Pio X, fundada por el arzobispo Marcel Lefebvre.