John Allen’s Word From Rome previews the Synod on the Eucharist, beginning next week.

A UK Tablet review of Allen’s forthcoming book on Opus Dei

The method Allen follows is to take the case against Opus Dei and sift it. Thus, he takes an article published in the magazine America in 1995 which says the statutes of Opus Dei are secret. Next he interviews the article’s author. Then he finds that the statutes are all in a book printed by an Opus Dei affiliated publisher, and there is a translation on the internet too. He also quotes a prohibition of secrecy in the statutes of Opus Dei themselves, approved by the Vatican in 1982.

Though struck by the “startling ferocity” of criticisms by a proportion of former members, Allen concludes that Opus Dei is no Gothic horror. One of the funniest passages comes when he investigates what he has been told by a hostile ex-member is the “Opus Gulag”, housing “mad numeraries” on the notorious fourth floor of a clinic at the Opus Dei-run University of Navarre. Instead, the author finds a mild-mannered psychiatrist of international standing who shows him round and tells him that of the 25 men and women presently being treated at his clinic, none is in Opus Dei.

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