John Paul II’s partner saint St. Josemaria buys Hollywood
Opus Dei founder Escrivá to receive Hollywood treatment
Opus Dei, the controversial Roman Catholic society accused of secrecy, is to be given the Hollywood treatment with a film about its founder, Josemariá Escrivá de Balaguer.
By John Bingham
Published: 9:48AM BST 08 Jun 2009
Josemariá Escrivá: Opus Dei founder Escrivá to receive Hollywood treatment
Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva founder of the Catholic group named Opus Dei Photo: REUTERS
Roland Joffé, the twice Oscar-nominated British director, is to recreate the life of the Spanish priest who was canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
Mr Joffé, whose past work includes The Killing Fields and The Mission, has been given rare access to the society's archives for his research.
Opus Dei cartoon and TV series to boost image
How Opus Dei ruined saint-making
But claims that the organisation provided funds for the project have been denied.
The film, to be shot in Argentina and Spain, is reportedly set to star Charlie Cox, the British actor.
It will focus on the early years of St Josemariá Escrivá's career as a priest, charting his progress through the Spanish Civil War.
But it is around the organisation's ambiguous links with the Franco regime in Spain after the civil war that much of the controversy centres.
The organisation denies having "supported" Franco, although several of his ministers were members.
Opus Dei was portrayed as a sinister sect in The Da Vinci Code but enjoyed a surge of interest in its activities as a result.
Last year it sponsored a children's cartoon in Italy to help improve its image.
In Britain, the Ruth Kelly, the former Transport Secretary, is among the best known members.
John Paul II’s saint-factory ruined by Opus Dei
John Paul II went on to beatify and canonize more than 1,500 dead persons and he did not spend one minute with one of the 12,000 American victims of his John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army. John Paul II did not have the charity of Mother Teresa of Calcutta but Opus Dei is showing - his photo with her - as if they have the same charity. That shows the deceptive ways and means of Opus Dei. John Paul II and St. Josemaria Escriva did not have the charity of Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Pope John Paul II was one of the greatest men of the 20th century and a very strong candidate for canonisation. But I can’t get excited about his fast-tracking to sainthoodÂ because I’ve lost confidence in the whole saint-making process. Why? Two words: Opus Dei.
Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva
Sadly, it was Pope John Paul who “reformed” the canonisation procedures in ways that made them easier to be manipulated. And one thing Opus Dei is very good at is manipulation.
The founder of this movement, a pious but power-obsessed Spaniard named Josemaria Escriva, died as recently as 1975. He was canonised in 2002 ie, far, far too quickly for the Church to have assessed his controversial reputation.
Indeed, it didn’t really try. After John Paul II abolished the post of devil’s advocate, it became easier for the promoters of Causes to sweep inconvenient testimony under the Vatican carpet. Which is what happened in the case of St Josemaria, as alas we must learn to call him.
One of the priests who knew Escriva best, Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, left Opus Dei and has since claimed that “the Father”, as he is called, was a crashing snob with Nazi sympathies and also secretly bugged people, Nixon-style. You may or may not believe him, but the fact that he was refused permission to give evidence to the saint-making tribunal is a disgrace.
I admit that I personally dislike Opus Dei. Most of its 87,000 members who try to sanctify everyday life by practising spiritual perfection as they go about their ordinary tasks are admirable people. But the organisation gives me the creeps.
It claims not to be secretive, yet Ruth Kelly will not even confirm that she is a member of it. (She is.) It goes about building influence in suspiciously quiet ways both in the Vatican and, for a time at least, in Archbishop’s House, Westminster.
Fortunately Benedict XVI, although he praises Opus Dei, isn’t nearly as keen on the group as his predecessor was. In this, as in so many other respects, the Church is very fortunate in the Holy Spirit’s choice of Pope.
I find Opus Dei creepy, but I find the subjectivism of Damian Thompson that would hold Church and Holy Spirit hostage to his personal nihil obstat just as creepy.
The Church recognises them it does not make them.-
The church recently announced it will be more vigorous in its
investigations of candidates; this is a s close as you will get to he
Curia admitting that a serious error has occurred.
I also find Opus Dei creepy-
as do one billion Catholic non members.Escriva and Felzmann are happily swapping stories about the Old
add Franco.Judge not, lest one be judged.-
Opusians will do the judging for you and of you.
Not an Opus quality.
If one has nothing good to say about anyone, it is best that one says nothing.-
Garvey: Articles 190 and 191 of the concealed Opus Dei Constitutions require members NOT to reveal their membership or the membership of others to "outsiders."