Magazine article Insight on the News

Opus Dei Founder Newest Saint: Monsignor Josemaria Escriva Will Be Canonized This Fall. but the Lay Movement He Established Has Been Criticized as a Conservative Order That Takes Its Orders from the Pope. (Religion)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Opus Dei Founder Newest Saint: Monsignor Josemaria Escriva Will Be Canonized This Fall. but the Lay Movement He Established Has Been Criticized as a Conservative Order That Takes Its Orders from the Pope. (Religion)

Article excerpt

Pope John Paul II has announced that the Spanish founder of Opus Dei ("The Work of God"), an influential lay movement in the United States, will be made one of nine new saints. Monsignor Josemaria Escriva, who founded Opus Dei in 1928, will be canonized Oct. 6 in St. Peter's Square in Rome.

"His teachings about holiness in daily life and work is not just for Opus Dei members, but for the whole church," says Brian Finnerty, spokesman for the U.S. group. The new saints also include Mexico's Juan Diego, the Indian boy who had a 1531 vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Italy's Padre Pio, famed for having the bleeding "stigmata" wounds of Christ.

Escriva, who died in 1975, was beatified in 1992 after a virtuous life and a first miracle were confirmed. In December, the healing of a Spanish doctor's hands from cancer after "praying for Blessed Josemaria's intercession" was ruled the second miracle needed for sainthood. Advocates say one-third of the world's bishops urged the canonization, and one of the largest turnouts ever for a beatification -- 300,000 people -- showed up in Rome when the Spanish priest was proclaimed "blessed."

Opus Dei, with 84,000 members worldwide and 3,000 in the United States, is considered one of the most influential movements of Catholic laity backing the pope's push for orthodoxy. While 70 percent of its members are married or seek marriage, nearly one-third are individuals who have made vows of celibacy. Another 2 percent are diocesan priests who act as chaplains. Everyone in Opus Dei belongs to a parish.

During the church debate about the pope's anticommunist and conservative stands on morals and doctrine, Opus Dei defended the pontiff and was known for actively converting influential people to the faith. …

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