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This article is about the Trinity Universe organization Opus Dei. For the real-world organization, see Opus Dei.

Opus Dei ("Work of God") is an ultra-conservative organization within the Roman Catholic Church sometimes called the "Holy Mafia." They are opponents of the papacy of Benedict XVI and do not regard novas as human.

HistoryEdit

Josemarie Escriva founded Opus Dei in 1928. Escriva, a controversial figure even now, died in 1975,
but not before turning Opus Dei into a force of reckoning. Their mandate sounds innocuous enough: to spread faith into all sectors of everyday life and expand Christianity’s influence across the world. They target affluent and educated people and espouse an ultra-conservative point-of-view.

Beneath the surfacem Opus Dei looks more like a cult. They are the only recognized Catholic  organization, aside from the Holy Roman Church itself, that believes it was inspired directly by God, in this case through Escriva’s visions. Out of 40,000 members, half are celibate; each member is required to wear a cilice (spiked thigh chain) every two hours and encouraged to engage in corporal mortification. Approximately a quarter of them live in Opus Dei communities where a “director” moderates their activities and influences their opinions. He opens their mail and even encourages members to drop their former associations.

Opus Dei is answerable to itself alone. Members are not required to list their financial statements or affiliation, and they only report to the Pope every five years. Opus Dei claims poverty, even though 30 percent of its members are university graduates who tithe generously to the organization. The remaining 70 percent hold partial associations with Opus Dei and hand over a portion of their salaries as well. After that, there are over 700,000 cooperators, or supporters, who also contribute with donations or volunteer work. This isn’t counting the over 64 cardinals and 1,300 bishops who supported Escriva’s beatification.

From 1928, Opus Dei gained power on both a secular and a political front. Specifically, thanks to John Paul II, it enjoys unprecedented freedom. During his tenure, the former Pontiff raised the number of seats within The Sacred College of Cardinals from 111 to 166, seemingly ensuring a conservative successor at the next Conclave. He made Opus Dei Autocephalous in 1982, turning it into a personal prelature not tied down to any diocese and independent from other bishops. Just before he died, John Paul II elevated Opus Dei Archbishop Juan Luis Cipliani to cardinal.

On a political front, Opus Dei has been heavily involved with Spain’s government from Franco’s regime up to the current administration under President Sabatini. This isn’t counting its extensive influence in Argentina, Peru, San Salvador, Austria and France, where Opus Dei either occupies cabinet positions, is courted by the ruling elect or maintains an archbishop or two in positions of primacy.

Additionally, outspoken critics of Opus Dei have a way of dying. Cardinal Giovanni Benelli, who publicly opposed it, died of a "heart attack" a month before John Paul II turned the organization into a personal prelature. Cardinal Roderigo Alta, Benedict XVl’s closest advisor, a known Opus Dei sympathizer and an opponent of Ad Dei Lucem, also suffered a suspicious "heart attack."

The Nova AgeEdit

When John Paul II died in 2001, Luciano Camparelli pulled strings withing the College of Cardinals to prevent Cipliani from being elected Pope. Instead, the more liberal Mario Bardi was elected and took the regnal name Benedict XVI. In 2010, members of Opus Dei tried to frame Benedict as a Mafia dupe in order to undercut his authority, incurring the wrath of the Camparelli-Zukhov Megasyndicate, among others. The incident lead to increased friction between Opus Dei and the crime syndicate.

ReferencesEdit