John Allen Jr. and Opus Dei: A sordid affair


OD Watch 4

“The things of Opus Dei – Where is the power of Opus today,

how does it exercise it, who is channeling it, in what media does

it influence or where does its pressure flow, how does it regulate

the credits and to whom does it grant, if it does or can it do so?”

Quote from Jordi Garcia   –  Opus Libros


For years I couldn’t fathom how Opus Dei got its hooks into the former leftist National Catholic Reporter John L. Allen, Jr. [now Editor of CRUX which was bailed out and funded by the Knights of Columbus.]

The following tweet from George Neumayr helped me to understand a few things. Thanks George!

George Neumayr‏ @george_neumayr Oct 23 2019

More Francis-friendly blather from John Allen. Many have been fooled into thinking he is an “objective” Vatican reporter. In truth, he is mainly a stenographer for the bad guys. He is also openly heterodox – a divorcee who is shacked up with Crux ‘s Elise Harris.

The Importance and Significance of George Neumayr’s Tweet

Elise Harris is Senior Correspondent for CRUX. She also worked for Opus Dei’s Catholic News Agency. How did she get to Rome?  Did OD or Allen bring her there?

More importantly, is she [Harris] a member or former member of Opus Dei? The two pro-OD articles reprinted below suggest that she is. Note that CRUX and CNA both have strong OD ties.

So, let’s begin to tally up the Opus Dei scorecard ….

First, we have Opus Dei Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, who bailed out CRUX and let Allen stay on as Editor of CRUX.

Next, we have Opus Dei former-numerary Archbishop Gomez of the Los Angeles Archdiocese promoting John Allen in the Angelus, the Archdiocese’s “multimedia news platform.”

And we have the Opus Dei Prelature proudly promoting Allen for years after he wrote his book “Opus Dei” (2005) which comes out pretty much in favor of the Prelature.

I’d say there is a story here.



Below is additional Information on Harris and the Angelus:

Elise Harris – Crux Biographical DATA

HarrisElise Harris is a Denver native who currently works as a Senior Correspondent for Cruxin Rome, covering the Vatican and the global Church. Before joining Crux, Elise worked with Catholic News Agency, first as a multi-media and content management assistant in Denver, and then as Senior Rome Correspondent covering the Vatican. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2010 and holds degrees in philosophy and communications.

[Source: Angelus News]

Below, from the website of Angelus News, Archbishop Gomez’s OD media outlet, is a listing of the outlet’s writers and contributors:

o          Archbishop José H. Gomez

o          Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

o          Bishop Robert Barron

o          Ruben Navarrette

o          Heather King

o          Grazie Pozo Christie

o          John L. Allen, Jr.

o          Greg Erlandson

o          Robert Brennan

o          Russell Shaw

To give readers a sense for the pro-OD slant that characterizes Elise Harris’ “reporting,” consider the following articles published by Crux:

Rome conference ponders the rise of ‘everyday’ lay saints

By: Elise Harris | Crux Now | May 01, 2019 • 4 Min Read

Crux 1

Diocese of Rome formally opened the sainthood process for Chiara Corbella Petrillo

Since the beginning of his pontificate, one of the things Pope Francis has advocated most vocally is a less clerical church with a greater involvement of laypeople at every level, including the Roman Curia.

At a time when the push for lay leadership is growing in the wake of further scandals related to Catholicism’s global sexual abuse crisis, with many arguing lay intervention would help break a systemic cycle of cover-up among bishops and priests, a Rome conference has highlighted the lives of seven lay individuals whose causes for sainthood are underway and who’ve been recognized as sterling examples of how to transform one’s daily life and activities into the service of God.

The conference, dedicated to lay holiness, took place April 30 at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and focused on the lives of six laypeople, mostly young Italians, who died in their 20s after battling illnesses or rejecting unwanted sexual advances.

Speaking to a packed auditorium, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, leader for the personal prelature of Opus Dei, said that “every new saint and blessed is a source of hope and a living witness of the Gospel,” but the lives of laypeople offer a concrete example of people who “have sought to radically live Christianity in the world.”

Calling the individuals a “bright example of Christian holiness,” Ocáriz said their lives are “an occasion of grace not only for those who remember them in intercession, but for all faithful” who work toward “the sanctification of man and the glorification of Christ in men.”

The conference took place just weeks before the beatification of Guadalupe Ortiz de Landazuri, one of the first women to join Opus Dei and the first layperson from the group to be so honored, is set to take place in Spain May 18, the day commemorating her First Communion.

Ortiz de Landazuri was a standout chemist at a time when the scientific field was dominated by men, but deeply devout and widely recognized as someone whose faith shone as bright as her intellect.

Born in Madrid in 1916, Ortiz de Landazuri was raised in a pious household and was the only daughter among the family’s four children. After a brief time living in South Africa due to her father’s military career, the family returned to Madrid, where Ortiz de Landazuri graduated high school and enrolled in a chemistry class at Spain’s Universidad Central in 1933, becoming one of just five women in a class of 70 students.

She became one of the first women to join Opus Dei in 1944 after meeting its founder, Spanish Father Josemaria Escriva, who emphasized the pursuit of personal holiness in one’s concrete daily circumstances.

After their first meeting, Ortiz de Landazuri decided to dedicate her life to pursuing God in her professional life as a teacher at Madrid’s school of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1950 she moved to Mexico at Escriva’s invitation and helped establish Opus Dei in the country.

She set up a student residence for university women while continuing to pursue her own doctorate in chemistry. After obtaining the degree and winning a prize for her scientific research, she took on leadership roles at the Ramiro de Maeztu Institute and the Women’s School for Industrial Sciences, and later helped establish the Center of Studies and Research of Domestic Sciences.

Though her own life was not reflected on during the conference, the event was held in honor of her beatification to highlight the growing number of laypeople getting halos.

Those who were commemorated included Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, a member of the Italian Focolare Movement who died at 18 after battling cancer; Venerable Carlo Acutis, a young computer-lover who passed away at 15 after losing his fight with fulminant leukemia; Servant of God Enrique Shaw, who died from cancer at 41 and was known for promoting the social doctrine of the Church in business growth by founding the Christian Association of Business Executives; and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo, who was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant and died in 2012 after refusing treatment in order to save her baby.

Also highlighted were Servant of God Marta Obregon Rodriguez, a young journalist who was involved with both Opus Dei and the Neocatechumenal Way, and who was murdered in 1992 after being abducted from her home by a man who attempted to rape her; and Angelica Tiraboschi, who also died at 19 after battling cancer, and who was known for her joy and deep faith.

Professor Maria Pilar del Rio, who teaches liturgical ecclesiology at Santa Croce, spoke at the conference on the “theology of the laity” that came out of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council.

This new emphasis on holiness as something attainable and which should be pursued by all members of the Church, not just priests and consecrated people, wasn’t developed “at the table,” she said, but was drawn from the “lives, work and numerous apostolic activities that the laity have brought forward.”

Because of this, the topic of laity has been “welcomed and developed” since Vatican II in post-conciliar theological reflection, del Rio said, noting that the defining characteristics of lay saints are that they come from all backgrounds: Men and women, young and old, married and single, students and professionals, from all countries and backgrounds.

Each of the people highlighted, del Rio said, had encountered Jesus at some pivotal point, “and this encounter changed their lives. Then they immediately fell in love…with him who loved them first,” and then spent the rest of their lives in service to God and others.

She emphasized that holiness is “a task for all baptized without question,” and that all Catholic faithful, “of whatever state and status, are called to Christian life and perfection in charity.”

Laity, she said, are called to carry our mission in a secular world, and as such, they are invited “to continue the sanctifying work of God…not only for the salvation of men, but also of the reconciliation of the world with God.”

“Laity are called by God into the world from the world,” in a family and in society, and as a consequence, “the world for the laity is a place of call and mission.”

Also from Crux, see the following article glorifying the prelature, which also included an ad for John Allen’s Opus Dei whitewash:

There’s a new leader of Opus Dei. Here’s what he wants to do.

By Elise Harris and Kevin J. Jones


Mons. Fernando Ocariz. Credit: Opus Dei Communications Office via Flickr

Vatican City, Jan 24, 2017 / 04:13 pm – The new head of Opus Dei has been confirmed by Pope Francis, and his plan for the prelature is simple.

“I have the desire that the prelature of Opus Dei continues to do the good it has done and is increasingly doing in service of the world, which is really the only thing that interests us: the good of the person. The good of the person which, in the final moment, is the encounter with Jesus Christ,” Monsignor Fernando Ocariz Braña told reporters Tuesday.

Msgr. Ocariz voiced gratitude to Pope Francis, who formally accepted the nomination Jan. 23.

The Pope acted “with great affection…the affection he has for us, the hope for the work the prelature does in the world,” the monsignor told journalists Jan. 24.

Msgr. Ocariz said the Pope also sent a gift: “a beautiful medal of the Madonna.”

The monsignor served as vicar general of Opus Dei from 1994 to 2014, when he became auxiliary vicar. The prelature’s elective congress began on Jan. 23 and quickly chose him as their nominee.

The new prelate did not visit Pope Francis for the nomination. Rather, Msgr. Mario Fazio, the prelature’s vicar general, was received by the pontiff, who approved the nomination right away.

Msgr. Fazio recounted: “He told me many beautiful things, but in particular that Opus Dei today finds itself in a very important, very historic moment, because we have the first prelate who didn’t work directly with the founder, so we have to be very faithful to the spirit of the founder and at the same time have a great apostolic rush toward the future, and give thanks for the work the prelature is doing throughout the world.”

The fact that the date of Msgr. Ocariz’s nomination fell during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity prompted the new prelate to reflect on Pope Francis’ comments about “the need to build bridges” and “to never be people of conflict.”

“Conflicts usually are occasions to lack charity,” he said. “To build bridges doesn’t mean being on good terms is the supreme good, each one can have different ideas but can be friends treat each other well even with different ideas.”

He told reporters he felt inadequate to succeed his predecessors as Prelate of Opus Dei, St. Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Alvaro del Portillo. He also felt inadequate to succeed his immediate predecessor Bishop Javier Echevarria, who passed away Dec. 12 at the age of 84.

He questioned how he could be the successor of St. Josemaria and Bl. Don Alvaro, who were “two great personalities with a very high spiritual and human stature.” He asked how he could succeed Bishop Echevarria, who also had a notable humanity and spirituality.

“But at the same time, before God’s providence, I am calm, because if God wanted this he will give me the help needed,” he said. He said he felt “everything together, gratitude and inadequacy, and inside of this, a serenity. Thank God I am so serene, even if I shouldn’t be!”

He credited the many prayers of people who prayed for the prelature.

Msgr. Ocariz briefly outlined his goals for the programs of Opus Dei. He said there needed to be many programs directed to the great challenges facing Christians and civil society. In many places young people feel “crushed, without ideals” and many times lack hope. Families too need pastoral care, as so many recent Popes have said.

“Thanks to God the prelature is working a lot to help families in different ways,” he commented.

He recognized the feeling that sometimes it seems like one’s work isn’t accomplishing anything:

“When things are done out of love for God, to serve others, which are inseparable, nothing is lost, even if at times it seems like something is lost. Nothing is lost. We have faith that the love of God is behind every moment, every event in our lives.”

He also recounted the challenges facing those in poverty or sickness.

He recounted the first time he met Pope Francis, when he was Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, and four years later after he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

“On both of these occasions he seemed like a very serious person, not like now, always smiling. He seemed serious, very caring, simple, educated, you could clearly see a positive interest for the people, a pastoral interest,” he recounted. The Pope seemed like “a serious person who at the same time showed a big heart for the people. You could see this in just 10 minutes of being with him.”

The Prelature of Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by St. Josemaria Escriva. Its spirituality emphasizes that holiness can be achieved by anyone.


The questions remain:


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