David Gallagher on Opus Dei
Date: April 25th, 2011
The Da Vinci Code, both the book and the movie of the same name, brought the Catholic organization Opus Dei to the attention of the general public. Unfortunately, the Hollywood depiction of this organization does not fit with what the organization really is and what it does. David Gallagher, Director of Communications at Opus Dei in New York City and former tenured professor of philosophy of Catholic Univeristy in America, joins our show to discuss the history, organization, and public image of the movement. We learn that the movement was created in 1928 by the Spanish priest Josemaría Escrivá, who received sainthood in the Catholic Church in 1992. The intent of Opus Dei was to emphasize the importance of holy living in one’s daily life and promote a deeper spiritual lifestyle amongst the Catholic laity. Whereas the movement began with a rocky start due to the Spanish Civil War and the anticlericalism contained within that conflict, Opus Dei took off in the late 1930s and has grown to a membership of approximately 90,000 individuals worldwide, the vast majority who are laity. We look at the organizational structure of Opus Dei, discuss the various membership roles (including supernumeraries, numeraries, associates and cooperators), and examine what is expected of membership. Relations between Opus Dei and Catholic dioceses and parishes are also discussed, as are the political, social and theological views of the members. While members of Opus Dei tend to be theologically “conservative” (adhering closely to official Catholic doctrine), the political views of those within the movement can vary substantially. Dr. Gallagher, a numerary, recounts how he joined the movement and what his role as Director of Communications entails. We close the podcast with a discussion of how Opus Dei dealt with its portrayal in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Recorded: April 15, 2011.
Opus Dei website (in English).
Opus Dei: An Objective Look behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church by John L. Allen, Jr. (The book mentioned by Dr. Gallagher in the podcast.)
Louis Bolce on the Media and Anti-fundamentalism.
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