LETTER : Beer and dogma with Opus Dei

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The Independent Online
From Mr Derek Wright

Sir: I read with interest your article on Opus Dei of 22 May ("What in the name of God is going on here?") as one who has been subject to the overtures of this movement for over a year. As an undergraduate at Oxford (the location of an Opus Dei centre), I was friends with more than one person who was a member of Opus Dei and, through whose contact, after leaving university, I became known to members of the movement in London.

Among other sweeteners, I have been generously encouraged to take part in such hearty activities as games of cricket and invited on a three-week stay in Spain where I would teach English to students.

Being less impressionable than they imagined, I was mindful of the fact that as a guest among friendly young men in Spain, it would be hard to escape from the ritual which punctuates their day and that I would come back from Spain a member, at least in action.

I am not even a Catholic and, therefore, am highly wayward in their view. But their desire to recruit, against the odds, yet another clean-cut graduate (they are all such people) is a demonstration of the opposition to liberation theology which your article mentions. As members are mainly professionals who donate their earnings to the movement, Opus Dei is a wealthy organisation which is attractive to those who are potentially unemployed or who are averse to such ardours as their own washing and cooking, since they can remain so.

The commitment to daily ritual has bred a narrow type of member of Opus Dei whose demonstration of being "good" is to phone one incessantly with the scintillating prospect of supper in Pizza Hut followed by a beer and dogma.

Your sincerely,


London, SW9