[NOTE: Like Part One of this iissue (available HERE), the following is comprised of extracts; loose translations of a cross-section of the book, Opus Judei, José María Escriba, Orion Publications, Santa fé Bogotá, Columbia, 1994, 246pp. Distributor: Editorial Solar Ltda., Carrera 9a, No.19-59, Of.402, Santa fé Bogotá, D.C., Colombia
In this post, we will consider the highly dubious “biography” of Jose Maria Escrivá de Balaguer and the mythical image so widely promoted by Opus Dei.
At present, an English translation exists only for Chapter II, Subheading 1. We will post the remainder of the chapter as translations become available. – Louie]
Chapter II : The Hidden Life of Escrivá de Balaguer
1 The Lie Without Pity
2 Family Environment
3 Seminary & Adolescence
4 A Seer With a Great Vision: Divine Revelation
5 Infamous Tendencies
6 Escriva & Women
7 Escriva & the Seven Deadly Sins
8 Man With No Name. Delusions of Grandeur
10 Death & Resurrection
11 Saint & Sign
12 The Scandal of a Beatification
The Unconscionable Lie: Subheading 1, Chapter II
The biographies of the “Father” suffer from a fundamental question regarding the story of the mundane facts and travels of the charismatic leader of Opus Dei. Falsehood and lies are the norm, dates and essential references for his life and true personality are concealed if they are disturbing. We have been presented a portrait of Escrivá that departs substantially from reality; it is a false and deceiving picture, retouched and sweetened.
It is impressive, certainly, “monsignor’s” capacity for all type of assemblies. Assemblies that, undoubtedly, have made him prominent. And the Father is the man and his assembly. (1)
A great part of the propaganda and publicity apparatus that Opus Dei has installed at great expense is entrusted with diffusing and promoting some manipulated images of Escriva, full of emotion and not without certain extreme touches, a personal history made to order for the gullible and simple-minded, where they put on of relief and they are stood out, enlarging them to unimaginable limits, some supposed details of prestige, while in the meantime “they hide important data of his biography and pieces of information of great significance are whisked away at the behest of The Work that he founded.” (2) Characteristics that are positive signs in the eyes of any human being are mentioned exhaustively, with grandiloquent pomposity, even as they lie brazenly and unconscionably.
In the laudatory biographies that Opus Dei circulates and that are written to extol Escriva’s character, his academic background is outstanding, and a whole series of studies and degrees are attributed to him without any justification. Thus, for example, among the most far-fetched lies we meet are those that maintain that he “was the Superior of the Seminary of St. Francis of Paola in Zaragoza,” – a lie.
That he was “Professor of Canon Law and of Roman Law in Zaragoza and in Madrid,” – a lie.
That “I attained a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Papal University of Zaragoza,” – a lie.
That “I taught classes in General and Moral Ethics (Deontología) in the School of Journalism of Madrid,” – a lie.
The curious and thought-provoking fact is that he became a Doctor of Law of the University of Madrid without ever having stepped onto a university campus in his entire life, (3) apparently thanks to a doctoral thesis that was written solely for Franco’s confessor, Father Bugar.
But the lies and the farce around Escrivá are not limited solely to the realm of the studies that he never made: they try to provide him a with an ancestry, ending up by writing that “it was of the oldest and purest stock on both branches of the genealogical tree,” – a lie, fraud and fiction.
That when “he was 15 years old he had already discovered his divine election to found Opus Dei,” this is an invention.
That “the Virgin appeared to him with a rose in her hand, requesting him to found Opus Dei,” – a lie.
That “Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by divine edict,” – a lie.
That “he performed intense pastoral work in rural parishes,” they lie, or that “from 1927 he undertook an intense pastoral work among the poor and sick of the poorest quarters and the hospitals of Madrid,” they lie and invent a genuinely artificial sham, when they know that the reality was very different.
These lies have been fabricated and repeated constantly to give them the stamp of verisimilitude, on the principle that a lie repeated a thousand times can come to be considered as unquestionable truth.
It remains to discover the motive for these misrepresentations and the false biographical data that consist, principally, in wanting to demonstrate that Escrivá has been everything: seminary superior, village parish priest, lawyer, curate, etc. (4)
And thus, all the efforts of these pseudo-historians of Opus Dei are focused on presenting, for the internal consumption of the Work of God and other careless people, the priestly figure, the university student, and the worldly-wise founder of Opus Dei, all of whom are this same Escrivá de Balaguer who was the first one that was firmly interested in maintaining the lie of his own life.
If, on the one hand, questionable facts, stories and hoaxes have been spread about the “Father’s” life, there are others – authentic, genuine and true – that have been maintained in the greatest secrecy, guarded zealously under the shield of silence, concerning important and crucial questions about his existence, such as the Jewish origin of Escrivá de Balaguer, the crypto-judaic roots of his doctrine, his peculiar and shortened intellectual development up to his idea of Opus Dei, his hidden inspirations, the homosexual tendencies of Escrivá, their connections to certain subversive ramifications and, of course, the real and ultimate objective of the foundation whose fire he started.
Who was the inventor of this fictitious biography that Opus Dei has used to confound us?
It was Escrivá himself, the expert of sectarian tactics, who gave to himself an image and a stature that are not within the realm of crude reality. His followers picked up on his suggestion and after being spread by them the result has been the fraudulent mythification of a vulgar figure who was, in many respects, worthless.
There is a duplicity, a concealment, a sense that something does not fit in the personality of Escrivá. He is authentic and false, real and mythic, artificial and natural, friendly and bitter; a bundle of contradictions, the one that they want to sell us with bombast and publicity and the one that was the reality, open and hidden, public and behind the scenes.
The creation of the myth, the “divinization” of the figure of the charismatic leader is one of the techniques employed in all sects. He is transformed into the object of a cult of adoration and is placed beyond reach, a standard of perfection for his devotees and followers who, with a little appropriate brain washing, will fix themselves so obsessively around his thought and his feelings that they can be manipulated with the object of exploiting them.
The “father’s” biography mixes reality with fiction, confusing facts deliberately with tendentiousness and, above all, saying, in many cases, exactly the opposite of what is true.
Many times the deceit is achieved by a mere semantic change of concepts, emptying the words of their original sense and filling them with another content, as it has been in the case of Escriva, who has used Christian terminology in the beginning of his work to introduce, surreptitiously, a selfish and judeo-talmudic sensibility into our society.
His biography is so artificial that it hides and even renounces his true name of Escriba, that was given to him at birth, and which is listed in the Civil Register as the name of his father and which etymologically means “a doctor and interpreter of the Law of the Hebrews.” (5) Escrivá de Balaguer was not his name then, neither is it now.
The only explanation from Opus Dei is the Father-figure, which presupposes that to understand him it is necessary to understand the founder’s spiritual basis.
José Ortega, professor of Penal Law, is correct when he responded this way to a journalistic interview on June 26 1975: “I have read a biography of D. Josemaria Escrivá. Then, I thought about the man; and I have reached the conclusion that it is impossible to write a biography of D. Josemaria.” (6)
The Father’s abstruse personality is inaccessible to a normal understanding unless you take into account his specific role of falsifier. An analysis presupposes studies and knowledge of an anthropological-historical and characterological type that require a significant intellectual effort.
The authentic biography of the Father is one of the taboo questions that are hidden and exaggerated. The accessible literature on the matter is silent or it conceals the important facts that are incontrovertible: that the essence of Opus Dei is a single person; The Work is the Father and his personality is the corner stone on which the whole building of The Work is sustained.
As a result, we have imposed upon ourselves, following Pope Leo XIII’s guidelines in his encyclical “Humanum Genus,” (1884) the task of demythifying the false myths and of exposing the deceits, taking the encyclical as an appropriate watchword to penetrate into in the personal and hidden life of this paper-máché personage, a pretender and an enigma, who is the instigator of Opus Dei.
Florentine Pérez Embid, the official biographer of Escrivá de Balaguer, repeats with suspicious insistence that “the development of The Work in all the aspects is the same as the biography of its founder,” or also “the history of Opus Dei is the same as that of its founder’s biography.” (7)
Even at this most transcendental level it is not known how to investigate dispassionately the reality of Escrivá and his Work. (8)
Yvon le Vaillant writes that “frequently one wonders if the leaders of The Work, beginning with the founder, have decided once and for all to laugh at the world.” (9) And it is the sneer of this pharisaical smile that we will try to figure out.