Commentary Magazine


Opus Dei

To the Editor:

I was surprised to read . . . the misleading statements about Opus Dei made by a man of such obvious competence as Mr. Ray Alan. [“Franco's Spain and the New Europe,” September 1962].

It is well known that Opus Dei does not identify itself with the political, economic, professional, or scientific views of its members, for the simple reason that Opus Dei has no position of its own on such questions and therefore makes absolutely no imposition on the freedom of its members.

It is also well known that there are members of Opus Dei in Franco’s government, as there are in practically every field. But for every member who may have a particular policy there are many who have different and even opposing views. All of this has nothing to do with Opus Dei, whose sole purpose is spiritual and apostolic. It is not involved in the play of forces or balance of power in Spain or in any other of the fifty-odd countries where it exists throughout the world. . . .

William A. Miele
Tenafly, New Jersey

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Mr. Alan writes:

As Mr. Miele omits to specify which of my statements about Opus Dei he considers misleading I cannot reply in any detail. When he declares that Opus Dei “is not involved in the play of forces or balance of power in Spain,” he shows merely that he knows very little about Spain. There is definitely what all competent observers of the Spanish scene describe as an “Opus Dei wing” of the Franco administration. Its members, to their credit, are among the most competent and, in economic matters, most liberal of General Franco’s ministers and advisers. It is primarily their organization’s passion for secrecy and backstairs influence-peddling that has led so many articulate Spaniards to take a sinister view of their—and its—role.

If it were true that Opus Dei members are equally active in “practically every other field,” one would expect to find a similar number of influential Opus Dei figures in the leading liberal and socialist opposition movements. I therefore invite Mr. Miele to name five or six Opus Dei members, of the standing of Franco’s principal Opus Dei ministers and advisers, who are active in opposition politics. (The names of most bona fide opposition leaders, inside and outside Spain, are known to foreign correspondents and diplomats, as well as to Franco’s three political police services, so Mr. Miele is in no danger of revealing embarrassing secrets.) I need hardly add my belief that Mr. Miele will be unable to accept this invitation since Opus Dei is anathema to every Spanish opposition movement—liberal, Marxist, or Catholic—that I know. It is, in fact, so closely associated with the regime in Spanish minds, however erroneously, that its chances of surviving in a democratic Spain in its present form are slight.

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