Original language: English

Translation: Cristina Lizarbe Ruiz

Year of publication: 2022

Valuation: Alright

When one has had some contact, from several fronts but almost always indirect, with the Work, having a North American author come to talk to us about the matter produces a strange effect. Because the Opus Dei (the Opus, for friends) seemed like something very local that I at least located quite close, in the University of Navarra and in the hooks that tried to attract students here and there, in those slightly strange acquaintances who greeted my parents with smiles and suspiciously generous invitations, or in those episodes in the history of Francoism related to technocrats, stabilization plans and things like that. I have even seen with my own eyes, I swear, a copy of Camino, the guide book of the factotum of the invention, Josemaría (sic) Escrivá. But hey, it is not unusual for foreign scholars like our author today to investigate our domestic things.

But in addition, this impression of closeness turns out to be quite erroneous because, for example, in his day John Paul II converted the Work into a personal prelature, which apart from being one of those strange classifications that saturate the institutional framework of the Church Catholic, it must be something of some importance (although at the same time Francis has degraded them again, anyway). And, furthermore, and the book illustrates this, it seems that the Opus acquired a relevant importance in Latin America, to the point of significantly influencing the trajectory of various authoritarian regimes (that of Pinochet, the best known). So yes, all this had a much broader scope than one thought.

As for its hallmarks, the text highlights those that are perhaps best known:

  • The iron conservatism in sexual matters: the secular members of the sect order are in principle celibate, to later open the circle to married men with traditional families (women found their place later thanks to a divine revelation that Josemaría had, and this is not a joke). Of course, the sex/procreation link is inalienable, which is why large families proliferate.
  • The assumption of the methods of monastic discipline (always under the gaze of the spiritual director), applied in both the private and professional spheres
  • Its elitist character. The Work is only interested in attracting people of high economic level or, at most, brilliant professionals or brainiacs who stand out in different subjects. Individuals capable of leading different areas are required to lead them on the right path.
  • The most curious thing is its connection with the world of economics and business. Someone says in the book something like ‘your altar is your work table’. Through work he sanctifies himself, and by being scrupulous and impeccable, the Work of God is made known. By the way, I say, we maintain a good relationship with capital, which is always a good thing, and with certain types of rulers with whom we have things in common, which is also a good thing.

The book explains all this, logically delving into collateral issues: the social doctrine of the Church from Vatican II, the theology of liberation, the relations of the Opus with certain neoliberal currents, its contribution to the maintenance (or birth) of regimes. authoritarian, the curious coincidence with Harvard in the use of Thomistic casuistry… quite a few questions on which Moreton rambles for a good number of pages, and from which the data must be extracted, synthesized and organized.

Because indeed, I had not said it yet, we are faced with a somewhat strange text, without a meaningful chronological or thematic order, where there is a lack of information about the origin of the Work and, for example, about its impact on Francoist politics (says the author who ‘many Spanish readers will have much greater knowledge’ on the subject, what a man), while going on for no understandable reason about the evolution of the Church even before Vatican II, or about complicated nuances of neoliberalism and its influence on business schools. Come on, something that seems quite out of balance with what the object of the work was supposed to be. In reality, taking into account the very extensive bibliography that is handled, it gives the impression of being a kind of preparatory work for something of greater magnitude, or a kind of self-review of very voluminous materials or, I don’t know, a specific order to publish something about this organization.

Something that, as I say, forces us to recycle the information and systematize it, a task even more complicated if we have before us, as is the case, sometimes unnecessarily far-fetched prose (a very American tendency to adorn itself with somewhat absurd technical megaconcepts) and a very questionable syntax. that the translation has not been able to correct. It is a pity all this series of obstacles, which hinder the understanding of a text that seems to have a very solid argumentative basis, but for some reason, or perhaps several accumulated reasons, is not capable of transmitting all that information in an effective way.

Source: https://unlibroaldia.blogspot.com/2024/01/bethany-moreton-entre-dios-y-el-capital.html

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