LETTER: The happy, open reality of Opus Dei

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From Mrs Elizabeth Goonesena

Sir: What Paul Vallely does not state ("What in the name of God is going on here?" 22 May) is that the vast majority of Opus Dei's 80,000 members are ordinary married men and women leading humdrum lives with their own families in their own homes. All members try to become good Christians through prayer, sanctifying their work and spreading the good news of Christ. Hardly wacky cult stuff, this!

The central message and reality of Opus Dei is indeed acceptable to the vast majority of Christians and non-Christians of good will. The only "hidden agenda" of its numerous social and charitable works is that all participants try to act for the greater glory of God.

As a member of Opus Dei I have never come across coercion of any type. On the contrary, it has always been made clear that the door is open for those who may wish to leave. I am a wife and mother with a professional career. My non-Opus Dei, non-Christian husband has always found my vocation to Opus Dei entirely compatible with a happy, fulfilled and "coercion- free" family life. Which rather calls into question the grim picture painted by Mr Vallely.

Yours faithfully,




23 May