Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Catholic extremist appointed to combat Islamic extremism

Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities (who thought that one up?), and member of Opus Dei, has been appointed to deal with what is termed ‘Islamic extremism’. It is ironic that a religious extremist is dealing with the matter of religious extremism – one might almost say it takes one to know one. For those who don’t consider Opus Dei to be ‘extreme’, see here, and here, or here.

Many Muslim leaders met with the Secretary of State, and the messages were stark:

1) ‘If you want to combat extremism - whatever that extremism is - you have to remove the ingredients that feed it and foreign policy is one of them.’
2) ‘We need the government to think about ways that we get young Muslims to feed into the policy process.’
3) ‘You have young people who perceive that our foreign policy is a war against a religion. Anybody knows that if you try to fight a religion it will only get stronger.’

The first of these appears to be a demand for a right to veto the foreign policy of a democratically-elected government; the second is a request for Muslims to have some sort of input into its formulation, above and beyond the mechanisms available to the rest of the population; the third is the tacit threat, that if these concessions are not made, their bombs will get bigger and better.

The Secretary General of the Union of Muslim Organisations requested holidays to mark Muslim festivals, and Islamic laws to cover family affairs which would apply only to Muslims. The UK would therefore holiday at Christmas, Easter and Eid, and, if you live in Bradford or Oldham, you will be able to beat your wife or divorce her by simply saying so three times. They did not request the stoning of homosexuals, or the amputation of limbs of criminals (yet). Most concerningly, the Secretary of State did not reject outright this request for the implementation of Shari’a law in the UK. Amazingly, she said she would ‘look sympathetically at the suggestion’. If she finds sympathy with such an agenda, one can only assume that it is already latent within her.


Anonymous nadim said...

These Muslim 'representatives' do not speak for the majority of Muslims. Many are self-appointed and have their own power agendas. I, for one, do not want any aspect of the Shari'ah in the UK. Muslims can live side by side with indigenous populations, and adapt.

15 August 2006 at 10:11  
Anonymous Lena Mouse said...

Look SYMPATHETICALLY at the suggestion?! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!

It is insulting to women, and affront to reason, and antithetical to the Christian traditions of the UK. Why didn't she say 'No'? Why did she leave them with a glimmer of hope that there was a possibility of this? Doesn't she realise that once it is permitted in law, it cannot be reversed for fear of accusations of racism and discrimination? The woman is a fool.

15 August 2006 at 10:23  
Blogger istanbultory said...

No doubt Mrs. Kelly will look sympathetically at the issue. Sharia law in the UK? Yes it could be on the agenda. The province of Ontario, Canada, has already authorized the use of sharia law in civil arbitrations, if both parties consent. The arbitrations will deal with such matters as property, marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance. See:

Don't imagine "it couldn't happen here"....

15 August 2006 at 10:39  
Anonymous Lena Mouse said...

This is appalling. I had no idea Canada had already submitted itself to such demands. How did they get a majority to vote for it? This surely couldn't happen in the UK, or at least until there is a majority of Muslims in parliament?

This is my first visit to this blog, and I am very very very concerned by what I read. Thank you Cranmer for sourcing it all. It seems less less urgent when it's an article in a few newspapers, and ignored by the BBC completely. When it's all presented together, the religious 'agenda' is clear. This country is Christian, its traditions are Christian, its laws are Christian. How can any minority be allowed to upset what has developed over centuries?

15 August 2006 at 10:52  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Luckily the Sharia proposal was overruled by the provincial premier of Ontario at the last minute....but the issue will return.

15 August 2006 at 10:53  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Ms Lena Mouse,

Firstly, His Grace apologises if he has your gender wrong, though he has foregone guessing your marital status. Secondly, he welcomes you to his learned blog, and thanks you for your comments. Free speech on religio-political issues is permitted here, provided, as always, that it is intelligent and erudite.

His Grace considers it his duty to trawl through media reports daily, and condense dilute allusions into the concentrate. Only then, as you rightly observe, does the 'agenda' become more apparent.

15 August 2006 at 11:01  
Blogger istanbultory said...

The Sharia debate in Sweden:

The Sharia debate in Denmark:


The Sharia debate in France.

The Sharia debate in the Netherlands.

The Sharia debate in Norway:

Please do glance through some of these links and see what we are now up against.....

15 August 2006 at 11:10  
Anonymous Rick said...

Ruth Kelly used to work for The Guardian, I suspect their loss is not our gain. She has passed the exams and acquired the credentials but is singularly unintelligent, dogmatic, and condescending.

Last night on Radio 4 she sppke of "Muslim -" and "Non-Muslim" people in this country. I am not a Dhimmi in my own country, and if Labour continues in this vein - Kelly is MP for Bolton West where her majority shrunk from 13.4% to 5% - no doubt her Muslim voters can be instructed by some local worthy to fill in postal ballots in the mosque.

If Labour continues there will be an eruption in this country that will sweep away these cardboard cutout parties and their hologram politicians - we might even get a new Lord Protector to instill Puritanism into the nation

15 August 2006 at 11:22  
Blogger istanbultory said...

rick said,
"If Labour continues there will be an eruption in this country that will sweep away these cardboard cutout parties and their hologram politicians - we might even get a new Lord Protector to instill Puritanism into the nation"

One can but live in hope of such an eventuality....

15 August 2006 at 11:24  
Anonymous david aberdeen said...

I was brought up in Spain and became part of the Christian evangelical minority, so I'm well aware of Opus Dei, Lumis Dei etc... and of the Catholic tendency to encourage discrimination or outright persecution of other faith groups.

However I still think that a comparison between Opus Dei and fundamentalist muslims that think is perfectly fine to blow people up is slightly mischievous, don't you think?

15 August 2006 at 11:41  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

However I still think that a comparison between Opus Dei and fundamentalist muslims that think is perfectly fine to blow people up is slightly mischievous, don't you think?

If you lived in Ulster, and saw things through my eyes, you wouldn't think so. There is constant interference in politics from the Catholic Church, in the name of 'equality', and some (by no means all) Catholics have sympathies with IRA bombing campaigns and the 'punishment beatings' which are still going on. Terrorism has many religious guises.

15 August 2006 at 12:05  
Anonymous Rick said...

There were once lots of Protestants in Southern Ireland who made their refuge in the North away from the Southern Theocracy.............still the small Church of Ireland is administered by a rather odd bishop in Dublin

15 August 2006 at 13:07  
Anonymous david aberdeen said...

I believe that the Catholic Church's interference in politics is more than well established wherever they are, as for 'equality', in Spain (and plenty of other places) when it comes to other faith groups... they certainly don't believe in that!

However I still believe that in fairness -however much I disagree with them- Opus Dei specifically are in a 'different league' from islamic suicide bombers or those that promote them.

Most Opus Dei members that I've met are sincere in their beliefs and would not approve in the use of violence, such as bombings or indeed punishment beatings, though I must admit that there are quite a few loose canons [I'll see whether I can find a quote from the former Mayor of Madrid Alvarez-Del-Manzano on what he would like done to protestants!].

Still I concede that terrorism has many different guises and that Opus Dei, let alone other Catholic groups, is hardly blameless.

15 August 2006 at 15:07  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

All this can be summed up in a word that word is TREASON,and the "thinking about it" is purely to test the water to gauge the reaction.I and many of my countrymen are "sick and tired"of hearing what the muslims want,consessions just breed more demands, it is time that we English people asserted ourselves and made some demands of our own,we live in a Christian democracy,we live in our country it is called England,we have our own culture,our own values,they knew that before they came, if they do not like it ,we would be delighted if you left,the sooner the better.

15 August 2006 at 15:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your grace,

Such craven weakness shown by our elected ones.
It is a jolly good show they were not around before the second world war.

Similarly the lack of leadership on the moral grounds by the leaders of the Church of England is an absolute disgrace.

They are more concerned with homosexuality within and women bishops than what is happening in the real world.

Ladies get prepared to wearing sheets over heads and bodies...They never brought in #kommunity# leaders during any other time in our history as often as they do with this minority.

Who is speaking up for the Christians, Cranmer?

15 August 2006 at 16:00  
Anonymous Rog said...

Instead of removing the ingredients that feed extremism, why not simply remove the extremists?

15 August 2006 at 16:04  
Blogger Mercian Crusader said...

Your Grace,

Doesn't 'When in Rome do as the Romans do' mean anything anymore?

I wouldn't dream of trying to get my adopted country (if I emigrated)to change to suit my needs and customs. Rather I would change to suit their needs and customs.

Last time I looked this is a CHRISTIAN country, with CHRISTIAN values, laws set down by Government and a separartion of church and state. More importantly we are free to do, think, eat, drink, dress, see, marry what we will unless the law forbids it.

This is a western country in the 21st century with all that goes with it. If that offends then perhaps this country doesn't want you.

Any MP or party that tried to adopt a medieval and barbaric law such as Sharia would surely have to be tried for crimes against humanity?

15 August 2006 at 16:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Doesn't 'When in Rome do as the Romans do' mean anything anymore?"

Not if you're from Arabia...

When it becomes

...when you're not in Arabia carry on as exactly as if you were and demand everybody else conforms to your customs.

15 August 2006 at 16:52  
Blogger Mission Impossible said...

Another year or two on our present trajectory and there will be such a tidal wave of hatred and animosity ready to crash down on these New Labour Politicians and their various apparatchiks that once we have unceremoniously rejected them, some will literally need to consider a hasty emigration in order to ensure their own physical safety.

A well organized, mass refusal to pay the Annual Licence Fee should take care of the Pravda-BBC once and for all.

15 August 2006 at 16:54  
Anonymous Rick said...

Such craven weakness shown by our elected ones.
It is a jolly good show they were not around before the second world war.

They were !!!!

Anglo-German Naval Agreement 1935 which allowed a country prohibited at Versailles from having a Navy to build Bismarck in 1935 - the most powerful battleship afloat - and Tirpitz and Scharnhorst and start the aircraft carrier Graf von Zeppelin (now discovered at the bottom of The Baltic 2006).

The interwar period was characterised by just such leaders as today

15 August 2006 at 16:58  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Mr. Mission Impossible,

Hear!Hear! "New Labour" can collectively sling their hook to Iraq and claim political asylum from the enlightened democracy they have installed in that benighted land. I agree with the substantive point you raised- a backlash is evolving. The silent majority is beginning to stir against our discredited political class.

15 August 2006 at 17:00  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Compare and contrast:

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!... Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities — but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith…”

The River War, p. 248-50, (1899) SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

“Christians would be fascinated to know how much of the Quran deals with Jesus, Joseph and Mary and the virgin birth and how revered Christ is within the Muslim religion. True Islam is immensely tolerant and open. Fundamentalism in Islam is no different from the Protestants who will go on the streets of Belfast and shoot a Catholic, any Catholic. We've all had our fundamentalists.”

'Newsweek' (3/12/2001), TONY BLAIR

How times have changed……

15 August 2006 at 17:17  
Anonymous Rick said...

how much of the Quran deals with Jesus, Joseph and Mary and the virgin birth

and The Resurrection which Cherie and I omit from our Catholic Mass and thus refuse the Eucharist............yes I Tony Blair have a strong Universalist Faith in a Jesus that was not crucified nor resurrected............my ignorance of the Bible is what allows me to read the Pengiun Koran and think i am intellectually advanced

15 August 2006 at 17:52  
Blogger Thomas Fuller said...

The Penguin Koran? Mein Gott, are penguins converting to Islam now as well?

15 August 2006 at 18:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Mr Fuller they are being clubbed to death for refusing

15 August 2006 at 18:53  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

But there was a very sensible article in the Telegraph today by the Bishop of Rochester. As a convert from Islam he kinows what he is talking about.

15 August 2006 at 20:03  
Anonymous Rick said...

The Bishop of Rochester is NOT a convert from Islam - he is a convert from Roman Catholicism. His father was a convert from Shia Islam

15 August 2006 at 20:16  
Blogger Mission Impossible said...

Mr amo ... if I haven't already frightened you away ... please explain the meaning and intent of:

Mr. Haras Rafiq, the 'moderate' leader of the newly formed Sufi Muslim Council.

16 August 2006 at 05:31  
Blogger truth serum said...

Cranmar...thanks for the link from the Brussels Journal.

Perhaps you should send a message to Secretary Kelly - lots of them. I can't...as I am an American.

Tell her she should follow Australia's Treasurer, Peter Costello's example when he addressed his country's Muslim population not to long ago:

"Anyone who believes Islamic sharia law can co-exist with Australian law should move to a country where they feel more comfortable."

Or perhaps your own Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commision for Racial Equality:

"He rejected the idea that British Muslims should be allowed to live under sharia law in their communities. "I don't think that's conceivable," he said. "We have one set of laws ... and that's the end of the story. If you want to have laws decided in another way, you have to live somewhere else." Mr Phillips said he wanted to promote a sense of "Britishness" in the UK.


If you begin to allow any groups, religious or otherwise, have separate laws from the rest of the country, chaos will undoubtably ensue

16 August 2006 at 13:31  
Anonymous Rick said...

Yes as was found when certain legislators wanting to let Indian reservations have gambling licenses..........it corrupted not a few politicians.

Here the corruption is more along the lines of........Mrs Gadd - for that is how she should be addressed not by her stage name (no relation to Gary Glitter I assume) .......do you like your $330.000 salary and perks..........you must have seen how your majority of 5000 shrivelled to 2000 in 2005 Election................now in my pocket Mrs Gadd I have a voucher with 2001 votes on it which could be enchashed in your favour if you play ball..................

I believe politics in the United States is much more fair and scupulous than in the United Kingdom and instances of town bosses and vote-rigging are unheard of ?

16 August 2006 at 16:05  
Anonymous Rick said...

Or perhaps your own Trevor Phillips,

Yes dear Trevor - student politics to Weekend World, friend of Jack Straw, Peter Mandelson, John Birt, Shaun Woodward............yes how TV executives can learn the words of The Vicar of Bray..........or as Confucius said: "the grass bends the way the wind blows"

16 August 2006 at 16:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be wise to remember that until Parliament illegally broke the Bill of Rights by coercion (especially of George IV) in 1829 that neither Ruth Kelly, the Papists of New Labour or the mohammedans would be sat in Parliament now.

So while it was 1689 even back then they knew that the threat from Rome would never change.

16 August 2006 at 17:34  
Anonymous Rick said...

Nor would Ruth Gadd have attended university, nor her father have been a civil servant, nor any of them be magistrates, nor would any of them have been permitted to live within 7 miles of a chartered borough (which incidentally is why Birmingham became a centre of Non-Conformism - none of the constituent villages was less than 7 miles to a chartered borough)

17 August 2006 at 05:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Speaking after the meeting broke up, Ms Kelly said she did not accept that British foreign policy should be dictated by a small group of people.

"She said: "What I do accept is that there is a lot of anger and frustration out there in the community that needs to be properly expressed and vented through the democratic process."

(Taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1844424,00.html)

Can you all read "did not accept", "properly expressed" and "democratic process" in the sentences above? What part of these sentences don't you understand? Or it's just that the extremists are you, judging Ms Kelly in advance? You are so pathetic.

17 August 2006 at 11:35  
Anonymous Rick said...

out there in the community

What "community" - these are sociological concepts. The simple fact is that lobby groups should not have such meetings with Ministers unless public minutes are available of the subjects discussed

17 August 2006 at 12:50  
Blogger Cranmer said...

His Grace has received an email from Opus Dei, complaining of this post.

Would it be conducive or detrimental to ecumenical relations for him to publish it?


18 August 2006 at 22:04  
Blogger Mission Impossible said...

Publish and be damned Sir; publish and be damned.

19 August 2006 at 07:03  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

O please publish.

I need a laugh.

19 August 2006 at 08:12  
Anonymous DavidG said...

It can't do much harm....but it's interesting they didn't post anything on here. Why not join in the debate guys? Blogging isn't about private emails, it's a public forum. I'd like to see the complaints.

20 August 2006 at 09:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer: you afraid of publishing these complaints? Onward, Christian Soldiers...

20 August 2006 at 21:37  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Here is the first email Cranmer received from an Opus Dei representative:


It's so tiresome to hear of Opus Dei as extreme! One thing would be to have said so some years ago, when not so much was known about Opus Dei. But to say it now, in 2006, after the intense publicity (thanks to Dan Brown) has made it one of the best-known religious organisations in the country, is rather pathetic. Of course there has always been controversy about it but it's poor and one-sided to say "for those who don’t consider Opus Dei extreme see here, here and here". I could do the same and suggest you see why Opus Dei is not extreme by looking here, and here, and here.

I have no comment to make about Ruth Kelly or her suitability to work as a minister. Presumably if she does a good job she will be promoted, and if not she will be sacked. That's what happens in democracies, which is great.

As for your three sources:
The first one is an article by Michael Walsh. I have spoken at length to Michael who doesn't seem to get Opus Dei at all, in spite of the fact that he wrote a book about it 15 years ago. Mind you, he already said at the time of writing the book that he didn’t want to talk to any Opus Dei members when writing the book because the book would be hostile. Talk about trying to get to the truth of the matter! Fortunately, the recent book by John Allen on Opus Dei (Penguin 2005) shows that Walsh's book is discredited and his views unreliable.
The second article is a poorly misinformed article prior to the founder's canonisation in 2002. Mind you, even in 2002 it was not a typical article as by then many journalists had already understood a lot more about Opus Dei than this guy.
The third one is an experience, interpreted from the point of view of an embittered ex-member (the vast majority of former members are not embittered, perhaps 5% of the total are). It's like asking a embittered ex-wife to talk about her former husband. Is she going to be unbiased? I respect all personal experiences but to get a proper view you have to listen to more than one side.

As a political commentator I'm sure you can do better...

Best regards

Jack Valero

21 August 2006 at 10:58  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

This sounds like the Jack Valero self-appreciation society. 'Extremism' means different things. To most Protestants, Catholicism itself is 'extreme', let alone the strange cultic behaviour of groups like Opus Dei (a self-mortifying garter? Where's that in the New Testament?). He hasn't countered anything in this post, except that he himself doesn't think Opus Dei is 'extreme'. So why do so many Roman Catholics think it is? What are their concerns?

21 August 2006 at 13:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Here is the first email Cranmer received from an Opus Dei representative:"

Would His Grace be so kind to show us the second, third... emails?

21 August 2006 at 17:07  
Anonymous DavidG said...

Cranmer, it's curious he posts 3 sources, and two of them are about him!! And he dismisses an author by referring to another author who happened to be more favourable!

He wants us to ignore the 5% who had some sort of bad experience of Opus Dei, and take into account the experiences of the 95% because 'it's like asking a embittered ex-wife to talk about her former husband. Is she going to be unbiased?' Well, no, but she'll cetainly have her eyes opened up to the TRUE character of her husband, unlike the new 'girlfriend' who will be 'blinded by love'. The ex-members are always going to me more objective.

Not a real 'complaint' against you though Cranmer, because there's no real substance, except the last sentence which sounds a bit patronising and school-masterish. I still want to know why he doesn't enter into discussion here. What's he afraid of? Probing questions?

21 August 2006 at 18:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you sound quite like an embittered ex wife. Is that right? Are you such an objective, un-biased source?

21 August 2006 at 20:28  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms Anonymous,

Please do not post anonymously. Not only does His Grace not bother with anonymice, he encourages others not to bother either. It is simply very difficult engaging in dialogue with people who post anonymously. One never knows which anonymous one is addressing. Please call yourself Gary, or some such, unless, of course, you are female, in which case even Tracy is better than anonymous. Thank you.

21 August 2006 at 21:53  
Anonymous DavidG said...

Anonymous 8.28, I'm not an embittered ex wife, how many women do you know with the name David? The reasoning was perfectly sound. You can't challenge it so you post anonymously and take a cheap swipe. Bad form. You lose. Goodbye.

22 August 2006 at 10:58  
Anonymous Jack said...


I got the following reply from Cranmer to my first email:

His Grace thanks you for taking the trouble to write.

His principle thrust, for those who can read between the lines, is that one man's 'extremism' is another man's 'devoutness'. Opus Dei are peceived as extreme, even by Roman Catholics as eminent as Cardinal Hume, and their (or your?) recent 'fame', courtesy of Mr Dan Brown, does not negate these perceptions.

They may simply be 'devout', as you seem to assert, in which case those Muslims who attend their mosques, memorise the Qur'an, are
inspired by Mohammed to follow his example, may severally be described as devout by some and extremist by others.

This article, as regular contributors to this venerable blog will appreciate, has a context.

According to the Prime Minister, there are 'extreme' Muslims and 'extreme' Protestants. There are, it appears, no 'extreme' Catholics. Why is this? And if Opus Dei are not they, who and where are they?

Most sincerely,


And I replied with a second email as follows:

I don’t think you can say “one man’s ‘extremism’ is another man’s ‘devoutness’” unless you empty the word “extremism” of meaning, at least as it is understood in normal parlance. Extremism implies using extreme measures to propagate your opinions (forced conversions, violence, even killing), or holding extreme views, neither of which applies to Opus Dei at all. Or do you define “extremism” as holding an opinion different from your own? Clearly the comparison with the Muslims is even more offensive, as a significant number of Muslims do think violence can be used to spread your ideas.

Cardinal Hume may not have found Opus Dei to his liking (as a monk, he did not appreciate lay Catholic movements or organizations) but to my knowledge he never said Opus Dei was extreme. It’s good though that different Catholics have different views on things: it shows Catholics are moderate and happy to be united with other people who hold different opinions.

In any case, I didn’t say Opus Dei was “devout” though it probably is. My main point would be that Opus Dei members hold all kinds of views, because Opus Dei does not dictate which views one should have on anything. Opus Dei does not act as a group, politically or otherwise. It has no doctrine of its own, and teaches only mainstream Catholic doctrine. Please read the 3 articles I linked to in my earlier email and you will see.

As regards the question of whether there are any “extreme Catholics” I suppose the answer must be yes. There are always extremists everywhere. There are people who support or are involved with the IRA, so there’s obviously some. Is Ruth Kelly an extremist? You called her one in no uncertain terms. I have not seen evidence that she is, but if she were it wouldn’t be because of her links with Opus Dei.


22 August 2006 at 17:56  
Anonymous Jack said...

davidg: you're right. We should listen to the embittered ex-wife. My point was that we should not JUST listen to the embittered one but also to the other 19 happyly divorced ex-wives (in this example, the guy was rather keen on marriage, getting married 20 times...). I should listen to the first one, though, so that we can learn from our mistakes. Cheers

22 August 2006 at 17:59  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

Jack, thanks for your direct response. Are you aware that it was argued forcefully by the UUP in Parliament that Opus Dei membership had to be registered if you wanted to join the NI police force? It was to be added to a list which included the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, the Independent Loyal Orange Institution, the Masonic Lodge, the Orange Order, and the Royal Black Preceptory. It was simply a requirement that membership of any group that adheres to a strict code of religious views and principles should be declared. Clearly, there are political concerns about the group.

As for Cardinal Hume, his opinion on you was unequivocal:

"The late Cardinal Basil Hume was adroit at remaining charming at all times in public, but behind the scenes he could be tough when there was cause, and tough he certainly was in his thinking about the organisation Opus Dei. The group, long notorious for its secretiveness, its recruitment methods and its association with Franco's Spain, has never been popular in Britain, which prefers its religion to be understated.

In 1981 Cardinal Hume laid down some very strict guidelines for Opus Dei to observe, if it wanted to continue operating in Westminster. He had accepted complaints that it was secretive and subjected young people to excessive recruitment pressure."


In light of the last sentence, your comments above are challenged. You said: "Extremism implies using extreme measures to propagate your opinions". Well, Cardinal Hume among others considered that you did. You are found guilty by your co-religioninst. Cranmer hasn't manufactured this, as you attempt to portray it, but there is evidence.

22 August 2006 at 22:08  
Anonymous jack said...

Thanks. Yes, I had heard about the NI Police Force registration of interests debate. I of course consider totally unjust the idea that one has to register membership of a religious organisation with no political aims and not others. Opus Dei put this view to MPs who then considered the matter and voted against it, which was fair.

As regards the Cardinal Hume guidelines, which were issued 25 years ago and superseded 2 years after publication, I would say:

1) They were definitely not “strict guidelines” as we maintained even back then that we followed those guidelines and had no problems with them

2) According to Hume himself in his introduction to the guidelines, he set them out to clarify the position and added that “they should not be taken in any way as criticism of Opus Dei” (though they were taken as criticism by some). Hume’s views have been manipulated by some to be much more extreme than they actually were. Indeed, Hume himself celebrated a Mass for the members of Opus Dei and their friends in 1998 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Opus Dei.

3) There was no suggestion at the time of “excessive recruitment pressure” although Opus Dei critics said there was. I have actually gone through Hume’s archives on Opus Dei (they are open to inspection) and I found there were 4 or 5 letters from parents who were unhappy their sons or daughters had joined Opus Dei. So, no large numbers of complaints, and no accusations of the kind levelled by critics. Parents unhappy with what their children do is nothing new: it has been going on for centuries…

4) In any case, a long time has passed (25 years): long enough for Opus Dei to look at any criticism made and take action accordingly. So it would seem arbitrary to accuse Opus Dei of anything today on the basis of an event a quarter of a century ago.

5) The fact that some things have changed can be seen from the attitude of the successor of Hume as Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, who is delighted with the work of Opus Dei in London and last year entrusted a parish to its care.

Many journalists clearly do not know all the ins and outs of the Hume episode and they draw their own conclusions which turn out to be inaccurate. If Opus Dei is extreme it wouldn’t be because of what was done or written 25 years ago: one would need more recent evidence.

23 August 2006 at 11:45  
Anonymous Lena Mouse said...

I wouldn't want any of my children joining anything that sounds and behaves like a cult, and, whatever you say, Opus Dei sounds cultish. There's something secretive and masonic about it. If my children attended, say, the Scouts, and 25 years ago it was found to be a hot bed of paedophiles, I'm afraid I'd still be looking for alternative clubs now, no matter what safeguards the Scouts had put in place. Mud sticks. This mud wasn't thrown by Protestants, but by your fellow Catholics. The Da Vinci Code may have popularised you, but you still seem, well, weird.

23 August 2006 at 12:22  
Anonymous DavidG said...

Well hello Jack!! You sound like a one-man campaign to purge Opus Dei of its dark past. It may indeed have changed, but things like 'self-mortifying garters' that Ulster Man referrd to are a bit 'extreme'. The fact that you've found letters from concerned parents proves there's reason to be concerned. It's always interesting these things are revealed decades too late, when you can say you've changed. How many parents or members have written recently? Do you have access to these files? I guess that's a no. So you can't know Opus Dei has changed - it just has in your experience, but you don't have the whole picture because current files are 'confidential'. Catch 22?!

23 August 2006 at 14:22  
Anonymous jack said...

Thanks davidg. Well, yes, I'm talking about my experience. But it's a good way to find out what things are really like: to get first-hand experience. You or anyone else in the country are welcome to come and visit any time, ask any questions, meet people, and make up your own mind based on fact. We have absolutely nothing to hide. You can also talk to recent former members or critics with recent knowledge to check I'm not pulling the wool over your eyes. My email is jack.valero@opusdei.org.uk.

Lena: of course if you keep repeating to yourself that Opus Dei is cultish, secretive, masonic or whatnot you'll eventually believe it as a dogma, even if there's no truth in it at all. Battles between Catholics about certain things (or between Protestants for that matter) are nothing new. But we still live together and respect each other. Much better to check for yourself directly and then make up your mind than rely on things heard fifth-hand. Christianity also sounded, well, weird, when Romans first heard of it in the first century. And the things they said about the Christians...

23 August 2006 at 16:24  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Jack,

You are welcome to Cranmer's venerable blog, and he thanks you for engaging directly in this discussion. While he thinks Mr DavidG makes a good point on your access to current correspondence (or lack of it), he notes that you state to Ms Lena Mouse:

if you keep repeating to yourself that Opus Dei is cultish, secretive, masonic or whatnot you'll eventually believe it as a dogma

More in the spirit of humour than contention, would it not therefore also be true to say:

"If you keep repeating to yourself that Opus Dei is wholesome and beneficial, and that Cardinal Hume's 'criticisms' were manipulated and inaccurately reported, and that today Opus Dei does prely delightful work, you'll eventually believe it as a dogma"?

24 August 2006 at 08:45  
Anonymous jack said...

Is it going to be:
"Shall we neglect to call together a godly synod, for the refutation of error, and for restoring and propagating the truth?" (Archbishop Cranmer, 1552)
"No matter what they teach you, what you believe is true" (Boyzone, 1995)
I think I'll side with His (original) Grace this time...
[BTW, I'm going away for 3 weeks to a web-free place so I won't be able to look at this blog for a while...]

24 August 2006 at 14:41  
Anonymous Casual Observer said...

How can this squeaky voiced one-woman fashion and hairstyle disaster be taken seriously by anyone, not to mention her religeous conviction?

28 August 2006 at 23:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Free and Civilized World needs to Realize and Understand its need to distance itself from “Apologetic and Rationale” approach of to Islamic Extremism and Reality and Ineffective Financing of Human Rights Organizations through Public Funds.
The whole Purpose of “Human Rights Groups” is to create Self Employment and Procuring Governmental Grants and available “Private Funds” for Self Interest at the expense and well being of the “Existing Free World”.
Political Asylum Seeking is a Viable and Sure means of Saturating the Civilized World by Fundamental Islamists to fulfill their Ultimate Medieval Agenda and Purpose of World Domination.

16 September 2008 at 18:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Final Crusade:
“Islam against the Rest of the Free World”.
The Free and Civilized World Shall never be Free as long as it appeases the Islamic Extremists and Fanatics who do not believe in Human Rights and Laws of Nations and “God” who are Hell Bent on World Domination by any means whatsoever to Gain their Objectives.
God is with us we shall Defeat them (Islamists).
Diaspora Iranian

16 September 2008 at 18:27  

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