Saints and Schemers: Opus Dei and Its Paradoxes

Joan Estruch, Author, Elizabeth L. Glick, Translator, Juan Estruch, Author Oxford University Press, USA $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-19-508251-7
The controversial history of the Catholic secular institute, Opus Dei, founded in Spain in 1928, is the subject of this investigation by Estruch, a professor of sociology at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Drawing on interviews with members and former members, the author presents a history of enigma, paradox and obfuscation, dominated by cult-like devotion to the founder, the late Monsignor Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, a Basque prelate who in 1992 became a candidate for canonization. Estruch has assembled massive research for this volume, first published in Spain in 1993, that parallels that country's progress in the second half of the 20th century. Writing as a social scientist, Estruch seeks to follow the tortuous paths the founder followed to establish an elitist, influential (some would say secretive) religious group. Opus Dei enjoyed the support of Franco, clashed with the Jesuits and currently flourishes internationally as the first Personal Prelature of the Pope. Tendentious and repetitive, this effort to uncover the so-called ``ecclesiastical mafia'' will be of interest to students of contemporary Catholicism. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
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