Josemaría Escrivá

Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Saint of Ordinary Life
Born 9 January 1902(1902-01-09)
Barbastro, Aragon, Spain
Died 26 June 1975(1975-06-26) (aged 73)
Rome, Italy
Honored in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 17 May 1992, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Canonized 6 October 2002, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Our Lady of Peace, Prelatic Church of Opus Dei, in Rome
Feast 26 June
Attributes Celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar

Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (9 January 1902 – 26 June 1975; also known as José María or Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás, born José María Mariano Escrivá y Albás) was a Roman Catholic priest from Spain who founded Opus Dei, an organization of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. He was canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II, who declared Saint Josemaría should be "counted among the great witnesses of Christianity."[1][2][3]

Escrivá gained a doctorate in civil law at the Complutense University of Madrid and a doctorate in theology at the Lateran University in Rome. His principal work was the foundation, government and expansion of Opus Dei. Escrivá and Opus Dei have aroused controversy, primarily revolving around allegations of secrecy, elitism, cult-like practices within Opus Dei, and political involvement with right-wing causes, such as the dictatorships of Generals Francisco Franco in Spain (1939–1975) and Augusto Pinochet in Chile (1973–1990).[4] Some journalists, among them Vatican analyst John L. Allen, Jr., have averred that many of these accusations are unproven or have grown from black legends propagated by enemies of Opus Dei and Escrivá.[5][6][7][8] Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and many Catholic leaders strongly endorse Escrivá's teaching on the universal call to holiness, the role of laity, and sanctification of work.[9]

Escrivá's best known book is The Way, which has sold more than five million copies in 50 languages. His writings have sold a total of eight million copies. According to Allen, among Catholics Escrivá is "reviled by some and venerated by millions more".[5]



Early life

José María Escrivá in his youth.

José María Mariano Escrivá y Albás was born to José Escrivá y Corzán and his wife, María de los Dolores Albás y Blanc on 9 January 1902, in the small town of Barbastro, in Huesca, Aragon, Spain, the second of six children and the first of two sons. José Escrivá was a merchant and a partner in a textile firm which eventually went bankrupt, forcing the family to move in 1915 to the city of Logroño, in the northern province of La Rioja, where he worked as a clerk in a clothing store.[10] Young Josemaría first felt that "he had been chosen for something", it is reported, when he saw footprints left in the snow by a monk walking barefoot.[11][12]

Escrivá then decided that the best way to follow God's call was by becoming a priest of the Catholic Church. After obtaining the blessing and help of his father, he studied first in Logroño and then in Zaragoza and was ordained a deacon in Zaragoza on Saturday, 20 December 1924. He was ordained a priest, also in Zaragoza, on Saturday, 28 March 1925. After a brief appointment to a rural parish in Perdiguera, he went to Madrid, the Spanish capital, in 1927 to study law at the Central University. In Madrid, Escrivá was employed as a private tutor and as a chaplain to the Santa Isabel Foundation, which comprised the royal Convent of Santa Isabel and a school run by the Little Sisters of the Assumption.[13]

Mission as the founder of Opus Dei

A prayerful retreat helped him to further discern what he considered to be God's will for him, and, on 2 October 1928, he "saw" Opus Dei (English: Work of God), a way by which Catholics might learn to sanctify themselves through their secular work. According to John Paul II's decree on Escrivá's "cause of canonization", which contains a condensed biography of Escrivá, "[t]o this mission he gave himself totally. From the beginning his was a very wide-ranging apostolate in social environments of all kinds. He worked especially among the poor and the sick languishing in the slums and hospitals of Madrid."[14]

During the Spanish Civil War, Escrivá reportedly fled from the republicans, via Andorra and France, to Burgos, which was under the control of General Francisco Franco.[15] After Franco's victory ended the war in 1939, he was able to resume his studies in Madrid and complete a doctorate in law, for which he submitted a thesis on the historical jurisdiction of the Abbess of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas.[16]

The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, attached to Opus Dei, was founded on Sunday, 14 February 1943, and Escrivá himself moved to Rome in 1946. The decree of his cause of canonization states that "in 1947 and on Monday, 16 June 1950, he obtained approval of Opus Dei as an institution of pontifical right. With tireless charity and operative hope he guided the development of Opus Dei throughout the world, activating a vast mobilization of lay people ... He gave life to numerous initiatives in the work of evangelization and human welfare; he fostered vocations to the priesthood and the religious life everywhere... Above all, he devoted himself tirelessly to the task of forming the members of Opus Dei."[14]

Later years

Josemaría Escrivá in a meeting with men. Pope John Paul II called Opus Dei's founder the "Saint of Ordinary Life."

According to some accounts, at the age of two he suffered from a disease (perhaps epilepsy[17]) so severe that the doctors expected him to die shortly, but his mother had taken him in arms to Torreciudad, where the Aragonese locals venerated a statue of the Virgin Mary (as "Our Lady of the Angels"), thought to date from the 11th century. Escrivá recovered and, as the head of Opus Dei in the 1960s and 1970s, promoted and oversaw the design and construction of a major shrine at Torreciudad. The new shrine was inaugurated on 7 July 1975, shortly after Escrivá's death, and to this day remains the spiritual center of Opus Dei, as well as an important destination for pilgrimage.[18] As an adult, Escrivá suffered from type 1 diabetes[19] and, according to some sources, also epilepsy.[20]

In 1950, Escrivá was appointed an Honorary Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XII, which allowed him to use the title of Monsignor. In 1955, he received a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.[16] He was a consultor to two Vatican congregations (the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities and the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law) and an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. According to some biographers, Escrivá contributed, through his contact with the bishops that participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), to the Council's teachings on the universal call to holiness, the role of the laity and the importance of the Mass as the center and root of Christian life.[citation needed]

In 1948 Escrivá founded the Collegium Romanum Sanctae Crucis (Roman College of the Holy Cross), Opus Dei's educational center for men, in Rome. In 1953 he founded the Collegium Romanum Sanctae Mariae (Roman College of Saint Mary) to serve the women's branch. (These institutions are now fused into the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.) Escrivá also established the University of Navarre, in Pamplona, and the University of Piura (in Peru), as a secular institutions affiliated with Opus Dei. When Escrivá died on 26 June 1975, aged 73, Opus Dei covered five continents and had more than 60,000 members from 80 nationalities.[citation needed]

Personality and attitudes

Attitudes in general

One of the persons who knew Escrivá most was the Bishop of Madrid, where Opus Dei was founded, Bishop Leopoldo Eijo y Garay, for Escrivá would visit and report to him quite frequently and the two established very strong bonds of friendship. In a 1943 report to Rome, the bishop stated: "The distinctive notes of his character are his energy and his capacity for organization and government; with an ability to pass unnoticed. He has shown himself most obedient to the Church hierarchy -- one very special hallmark of his priestly work is the way he fosters, in speech and in writing, in public and in private, love for Holy Mother Church and for the Roman Pontiff." Bishop Eijo y Garay wrote to the Jesuit Provincial of Toledo, Carlos Gomez Martinho, S.J. in 1941: "Fr. Escrivá is an exemplary priest, chosen by God for apostolic enterprises; humble, prudent, self-sacrificing in work, docile to his bishop, of outstanding intelligence and with a very solid spiritual and doctrinal formation." Eijo y Garay told a leader of the Falange that "[T]o think that Fr. Josemaría Escrivá is capable of creating anything secret is absurd. He is as frank and open as a child!"[citation needed]

Josemaría Escrivá in a meeting with women.

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, founder of "logotherapy", and a Nazi concentration camp survivor, met Escrivá in Rome in 1970 and later wrote of "the refreshing serenity which emanated from him and warmed the whole conversation", and "the unbelievable rhythm" with which his thought flowed, and finally "his amazing capacity" for getting into "immediate contact" with those he was speaking to. Frankl went on: "Escrivá evidently lived totally in the present moment, he opened out to it completely, and gave himself entirely to it."[21] At the end of the meeting, Frankl whispered to the translator: "This man is a spiritual atomic bomb."[22]

According to Álvaro del Portillo, who was Escrivá's closest collaborator for many years, there was one basic quality of Escrivá "that pervaded everything else: his dedication to God, and to all souls for God's sake; his constant readiness to correspond generously to the will of God."[23] Paul VI summarized his view of what he called the "extraordinariness" of Escrivá's sanctity in this way: "He is one of those men who has received the most charisms (supernatural gifts) and have corresponded most generously to them."

"The first impression one gets from watching Escrivá 'live'", John L. Allen, Jr. writes after watching some films on the founder of Opus Dei in 2005, "is his effervescence, his keen sense of humor. He cracks jokes, makes faces, roams the stage, and generally leaves his audience in stitches in off-the-cuff responses to questions from people in the crowd."[24]

Critics, such as Spanish architect Miguel Fisac, who was one of the earliest members of Opus Dei and who remained close to Escrivá for nearly twenty years before breaking with him and Opus Dei, have given a very different picture of Escrivá as a pious but vain, secretive, and ambitious man, given to private displays of violent temper, and who demonstrated little charity towards others or genuine concern for the poor.[25] According to British journalist Giles Tremlett, "biographies of Escrivá have produced conflicting visions of the saint as either a loving, caring charismatic person or a mean-spirited, manipulative egoist".[26] French historian Édouard de Blaye has referred to Escrivá as a "mixture of mysticism and ambition".[27]

Towards God

Benedict XVI blessing a statue of the founder of Opus Dei at an outside wall of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.


On the centennial of Escrivá's birthday, Cardinal Ratzinger (who became Pope Benedict XVI) commented: "I have always been impressed by Josemaría Escrivá's explanation of the name 'Opus Dei': an explanation ... gives us an idea of the founder's spiritual profile. Escrivá knew he had to found something, but he was also conscious that what he was founding was not his own work, that he himself did not invent anything and that the Lord was merely making use of him. So it was not his work, but Opus Dei (God's Work). [This] gives us to understand that he was in a permanent dialogue, a real contact with the One who created us and works for us and with us... If therefore St Josemaría speaks of the common vocation to holiness, it seems to me that he is basically drawing on his own personal experience, not of having done incredible things himself, but of having let God work. Therefore a renewal, a force for good was born in the world even if human weaknesses will always remain."[28]

In his canonization homily, Pope John Paul II described Escrivá as "a master in the practice of prayer, which he considered to be an extraordinary 'weapon' to redeem the world...It is not a paradox but a perennial truth; the fruitfulness of the apostolate lies above all in prayer and in intense and constant sacramental life." In John Paul II's Decree of Canonization, he refers to the five short prayers or aspirations of Escrivá through which "one can trace the entire life story of Blessed Josemaría Escrivá. He was barely sixteen when he began to recite the first two aspirations [Domine, ut videam!, Lord, that I might see! and Domina, ut sit!, Lady, that it might be!], as soon as he had the first inklings of God's call. They expressed the burning desire of his heart: to see what God was asking of him, so that he might do it without delay, lovingly fulfilling the Lord's will.[29] The third aspiration [Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam!, All together with Peter to Jesus through Mary!] appears frequently in his writings as a young priest and shows how his zeal to win souls for God went hand in hand with both a firm determination to be faithful to the Church and an ardent devotion to Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. Regnare Christum volumus! We want Christ to reign!:[30] these words aptly express his constant pastoral concern to spread among all men and women the call to share, through Christ, in the dignity of God's children. God's sons and daughters should live for the purpose, to serve Him alone: Deo omnis gloria! All the glory to God![31][32]

During the thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of St. Josemaría, John Paul II, said: "In the Founder of Opus Dei, there is an extraordinary love for the will of God. There exists a sure criterion of holiness: fidelity in accomplishing the divine will down to the last consequences. For each one of us the Lord has a plan, to each he entrusts a mission on earth. The saint could not even conceive of himself outside of God's plan. He lived only to achieve it. St Josemaría was chosen by the Lord to announce the universal call to holiness and to point out that daily life and ordinary activities are a path to holiness. One could say that he was the saint of ordinary life."[33]

Not all Catholic commentators, however, were equally impressed by Escrivá's spirituality. For instance, the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote in an article from 1963 that Escrivá's The Way provided an "insufficient spirituality" to sustain a religious organization and that the book was hardly more than "a little Spanish manual for advanced Boy Scouts".[34] Von Balthasar also questioned the attitudes towards prayer reflected in The Way, declaring that Escrivá's approach to prayer

moves almost exclusively within the circle of the self, of a self that must be great and strong, equipped with pagan virtues, apostolic and Napoleonic. That which is most necessary, which is the contemplative rooting of the Word "on good soil" (Matthew 13:8), that which constitutes the aim of the prayers of the saints, of the great founders, the prayer of a Foucauld, is something one will search for in vain here. [34]

Von Balthasar repeated similar criticisms of The Way during a television interview in 1984.[35] His criticism of Escrivá's spirituality has been echoed by other commentators: for instance, according to Kenneth L. Woodward, a journalist who specializes on the Catholic Church, "to judge by his writings alone, Escrivá's was an unexceptional spirit, derivative and often banal in his thoughts, personally inspiring, perhaps, but devoid of original insights", whose book The Way reveals "a remarkable narrowness of mind, weariness of human sexuality, and artlessness of expression."[36]

Towards the liturgy

Monsignor Escrivá saying Mass
(Cover image from the book Homilías eucarísticas de San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, commented by Msgr. Javier Echevarría, 2003)

Escrivá conceived the Mass as the "center and root of the Christian's interior life," a terminology which was later used by the Second Vatican Council.[11] According to Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, "St. Josemaría strove with all his strength to make the Eucharist the center of his life... For him, Jesus was not an example to imitate from afar, an abstract moral ideal, but his Jesus, a person we should live alongside continuously."[citation needed]

The current prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez has said that Escrivá strove to follow whatever was indicated by the competent authority regarding the celebration of Mass. When the new rites were adapted by the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council, Echevarría said that Escrivá "accepted the reform with serenity and obedience".[citation needed] As his prayer was much integrated with the liturgy for the past 40 years, Escrivá found the shift difficult and asked Echevarría to coach him in celebrating the new rites. Although he missed the practices of the old rites, especially some gestures such as the kiss on the paten which showed love, he prohibited his followers to ask for any dispensation for him "out of a spirit of obedience to ecclesiastical norms... He has decided to show his love for the liturgy through the new rite", commented Echevarría. However, when Msgr. Annibale Bugnini, Secretary of the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, found out about Escrivá's difficulties, he granted Escrivá the possibility of celebrating the Mass using the old rite. Whenever Escrivá celebrated this rite, he did so only in the presence of one Mass server.[37][38]

Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, a priest who worked as Escrivá's personal assistant before leaving Opus Dei in 1981,[39] claimed in an interview for Newsweek that Escrivá was so distraught by the reforms introduced by the Second Vatican Council that he and his deputy, Álvaro del Portillo, "went to Greece in 1967 to see if [they] could bring Opus Dei into the Greek Orthodox Church. Escrivá thought the [Catholic] church was a shambles and that the Orthodox might be the salvation of himself and of Opus Dei as the faithful remnant."[40] Felzmann claims that Escrivá soon abandoned those plans as impracticable. Monsignor Flavio Capucci, a member of Opus Dei and the postulator of the cause for Escrivá's canonization, denies that Escrivá ever contemplated leaving the Catholic Church.[40]


Escrivá taught that "joy has its roots in the form of a cross", and that "suffering is the touchstone of love", convictions which were reflected in his own life.[41] He practiced corporal mortification personally and recommended it to others in Opus Dei. In particular, his enthusiasm for the practice of self-flagellation has attracted controversy, with critics quoting testimonies about Escrivá whipping himself furiously until the walls of his cubicle were speckled with blood.[42] Both the practice of self-mortification as a form of penance, and the conviction that suffering is part of the path to sanctity, have ample precedent in Catholic teaching and practice. Referring to Escrivá, John Paul II stated in Christifideles omnes:

During the Spanish Civil War he personally experienced the fury of anti-religious persecution and gave daily proof of heroism in a constant priestly activity seasoned with abundant prayer and penance. It did not take long before many came to consider him a saint. When the war was over many bishops invited him to preach retreats to their clergy, thereby greatly contributing to the renewal of Christian life in Spain. Many religious orders and congregations also requested his pastoral services. At the same time, God allowed him to suffer public attacks. He responded invariably with pardon, to the point of considering his detractors as benefactors. But this Cross was such a source of blessings from heaven that the Servant of God's apostolate spread with astonishing speed. [14]

Towards the Virgin Mary

Mother of Fair Love, a gift of Josemaría Escrivá to the University of Navarra: John Paul II stated: "Love for our Lady is a constant characteristic of the life of Josemaría Escrivá."

Pope John Paul II stated on Sunday, 6 October 2002, after the Angelus greetings: "Love for our Lady is a constant characteristic of the life of Josemaría Escrivá and is an eminent part of the legacy that he left to his spiritual sons and daughters." The Pope also said that "St. Josemaría wrote a beautiful small book called The Holy Rosary which presents spiritual childhood, a real disposition of spirit of those who wish to attain total abandonment to the divine will".[citation needed]

Since he was 10 or 11 years old, Escrivá already had the habit of carrying the rosary in his pocket. As a priest, he would ordinarily end his homilies and his personal prayer with a conversation with the Blessed Virgin. He instructed that all rooms in the centres of Opus Dei should have an image of the Virgin. He encouraged his spiritual children to greet these images when they entered a room. He pushed for a Marian apostolate, preaching that "To Jesus we go and to Him we return through Mary". While looking at a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe giving a rose to San Juan Diego, he commented: "I would like to die that way." On 26 June 1975, after entering his work room, which had a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, he slumped on the floor and died.[41]

Towards people

"Escrivá de Balaguer was a very human saint", preached John Paul II. "All those who met him, whatever their culture or social status, felt he was a father, totally devoted to serving others, for he was convinced that every soul is a marvellous treasure; indeed, every person is worth all of Christ's Blood. This attitude of service is obvious in his dedication to his priestly ministry and in the magnanimity with which he launched so many works of evangelization and human advancement for the poorest persons."[33]

Former numerary María del Carmen Tapia (born 1925), who worked with Escrivá for 18 years inside the organization, seven as his secretary, wrote in her book, Beyond the Threshold: A Life in Opus Dei, that Escrivá routinely lost his temper, and that as secretary in charge of writing down his words and actions, she was not allowed to write down anything negative that she witnessed. She claims she was subjected to abusive words from Escrivá, who called her filthy names, and then screamed during this meeting with both men and women present, upbraiding a member who helped Tapia send letters. She was held prisoner in the headquarters of Opus Dei in Rome from November 1965 until March 1966. "I was held completely deprived of any outside contact with the absolute prohibition to go out for any reason or receive or make telephone calls or to write or receive letters. Nor could I go out for the so-called weekly walk or the monthly excursion. I was a prisoner."[43]

On the other hand, his supporters claim that, through him, Opus Dei has been able to raise the quality of life of many women, and refer to his utmost respect for women and his interest in improving their lot. [41] Harvard Ph.D, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, a Catholic convert, asserted that "Opus Dei has an enviable record of educating the poor and supporting women, whether single or married, in any occupation they choose."[41]

Towards his family

Opus Dei's founder modified his name in several ways over the course of his life. In the Church records of the cathedral at Barbastro, he appears as having been baptized four days after birth with the name José María Julián Mariano, and his surname was spelled Escriba.[44] As early as his school days, José Escrivá had "adopted the rather more distinguished version spelled with a "v" rather than a "b."[45] His name is spelled Escrivá in the memento of his first Mass. According to critics like Luis Carandell[46] and Michael Walsh[44] a former Jesuit priest, he also adopted the use of the use of the conjunction y ("and") joining his father's and mother's surnames ("Escrivá y Albás"), a usage which in Spanish is associated with aristocratic families.

On 16 June 1940, the Spanish Boletín Oficial del Estado ("Official State Bulletin") records that Escrivá requested of the government that he be permitted to change his "first surname so that it will be written Escrivá de Balaguer". He justified the petition on the grounds that "the name Escrivá is common in the east coast and in Catalonia, leading to harmful and annoying confusion". One of the earliest members of Opus Dei, and a close friend for many years, the architect Miguel Fisac, who later left Opus Dei, said that Escrivá found it embarrassing to have his father's family name since his father's firm went bankrupt, that he had a "great affection for the aristocracy", and that, when Escrivá was a chaplain at the Santa Isabel Foundation in Madrid, he would often meet aristocratic visitors who would ask, upon learning that his name was Escrivá, whether he belonged to the noble Escrivá de Romaní family, only to turn away coldly when they learned that he did not.[25] On 20 June 1943, when he was 41 years old, church records were altered to reflect the change: the registry book of the Barbastro cathedral and the baptismal certificate of José María were annotated to reflect "that the surname Escriba was changed to Escrivá de Balaguer". Balaguer is the name of the town in Catalonia from which Escrivá's paternal family hailed. According to Vásquez de Prada, a writer, Opus Dei member, and official biographer who produced a three-volume biography of Escrivá, the move has nothing to do with ambition but with fairness and loyalty to his family's real name, a loyalty which his father, José Escriba, insisted on.[11] The main problem is that in Spanish the letters b and v are pronounced in the same way, thus many bureaucrats and clerics have made a mistake in transcribing the Escrivá family name in some official documents throughout the generations. The addition of "de Balaguer" was also a necessity felt by many Spanish families to distinguish their family names from others with the same name but who proceeded from different regions, especially if the other families have histories which are peculiar and entirely different from one's own.[citation needed]

Escrivá's younger brother Santiago stated that his brother "loved the members of his family" and took good care of them.[47] When their father died, he says, Escrivá told their mother that "she should stay calm, because he will always take care of us. And he fulfilled this promise." Escrivá would find time in his busy schedule to chat and take a walk with his younger brother, acting like a father towards him. When the family transferred to Madrid, he followed the instructions of their father that he take up his doctorate in Law. "Thanks to his docility to this advice", says Santiago, "he was able to support the family by giving classes in Law, and with this he acquired a juridical mentality ... which would later be so necessary to do Opus Dei." Monsignor Escrivá also modified his first name. From José María, he changed it to the original Josemaría. Biographers state, that around 1935 [age 33], "he joined his first two names because his single love for the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph were equally inseparable."[11]

Towards his country

Many of his contemporaries recount the tendency of Escrivá to preach about patriotism as opposed to nationalism.[48][49]

Critics have alleged that Escrivá personally, as well as the organization of Opus Dei, were originally associated with the ideology of "National Catholicism", particularly during the Spanish Civil War and in the years immediately following it, and that they were therefore also closely tied with the authoritarian regime of General Franco. According to Catalan sociologist Joan Estruch:

More than "a classic of the spirituality of all time", Escrivá de Balaguer is at bottom a child of his time: he is the product of a specific country, a specific epoch, a specific church. These are the Spain of General Franco and the church of Pope Pius X. If Opus Dei had "never seen the need to bring itself up to date", as Escrivá maintained, Opus would today be a paramilitary, pro-fascist, antimodernist, integralist (reactionary) organization. If it is not, it is because it has evolved over time, just as the Catholic Church, the Franco regime, and Msgr. Escrivá himself evolved.[50]

Estruch cites, for instance, the fact that the first edition of Escrivá's The Way, finished in Burgos and published in Valencia in 1939, carried the dateline Año de la Victoria ("Year of the Victory"), referring to Franco's military triumph over the Republican forces in the civil war,[51] as well as a prologue by a pro-Franco bishop, Msgr. Xavier Lauzurica, which ended with the admonition to the reader to "always stay vigilant and alert, because the enemy does not sleep. If you make these maxims your life, you will be a perfect imitator of Jesus Christ and a gentleman without blemish. And with Christs like you Spain will return to the old grandeur of its saints, wise men, and heroes."[52] Escrivá preached personally to General Franco and his family during a week-long spiritual retreat at the Pardo Palace (Franco's official residence) in April 1946.[53]

Vittorio Messori claims that the ties between Escrivá and Francoism are part of a black legend propagated against Escrivá and Opus Dei.[54] Allen states that based on his research Escrivá could not be said to be pro-Franco (for which he was criticized for not joining other Catholics in openly praising Franco) nor anti-Franco (for which he was criticized for not being "pro-democracy"). According to Allen, there is no statement from Escrivá for or against Franco.[5] Escrivá's followers and some historians have emphasized his personal effort to avoid partiality in politics. Professor Peter Berglar, a German historian, asserts that Franco's falangists suspected Escrivá of "internationalism, anti-Spainism and Freemasonry" and that during "the first decade of Franco's regime, Opus Dei and Escrivá were attacked with perseverance bordering on fanaticism, not by enemies, but by supporters of the new Spanish State. Escrivá was even reported to the Tribunal for the Fight against Freemasonry".[55]


Escrivá received several awards:

Some biographers have said that Escrivá did not seek these awards, that they were nevertheless granted to him, that he accepted them out of charity to those who were granting these, and that he did not give the slightest importance to these awards.[41] Journalist Luis Carandell, on the other hand, recounts testimonies about how members of Opus Dei paid for the insignia of the Grand Cross of Charles III to be made from gold, only to have Escrivá angrily reject it and demand instead one encrusted with diamonds. Carandell holds that this episode was part of a larger pattern in Escrivá's life of burning ambition for social prestige and the trappings of wealth.[56] Sympathetic biographers, on the other hand, insist that Escrivá taught that material things are good, but that people should not get attached to them and should serve only God. It is reported that he declared that "he has most who needs least" and that it took only 10 minutes to gather his possessions after his death.[41]


In addition to the questions raised about the depth of Escrivá's spirituality and theological thinking, about his purported habits of secretiveness and elitism, about his alleged bad temper and ambition for social status and worldly luxuries, several other specific aspects of Escrivá's life and work have generated criticism in some quarters, particularly in light of his canonization by the Catholic Church. These sources of criticism include his alleged private statements in defense of Adolf Hitler, claims of collaboration by members of Opus Dei with right-wing political causes (especially under General Francisco Franco's dictatorship in Spain), Escrivá's request for the rehabilitation in his favor of an aristocratic title, and allegations that he maintained strained relations with other Catholic leaders, of whom he could be witheringly critical in private.

Alleged statements

During Escrivá's beatification process, Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, who had been Escrivá's personal assistant before Felzmann left Opus Dei and became a priest in the Archdiocese of Westminster and an aide to Basil Cardinal Hume, sent several letters to Fr. Flavio Capucci, the postulator (i.e., chief promoter) of Escrivá's cause. In his letters, Msgr. Felzmann claimed to have personally witnessed Escrivá make controversial statements in defense of Adolf Hitler. The alleged statements by Escrivá include: "Vlad, Hitler couldn't have been such a bad person. He couldn't have killed six million. It couldn't have been more than four million", and "Hitler against the Jews, Hitler against the Slavs, this means Hitler against communism".[40][57] Msgr. Felzmann claimed that Escrivá made those remarks to him in 1967 or 1968, in Rome, during the intermission to a World War II-themed movie. Felzmann has also said that these remarks should be put in the context of Catholic anti-communism in Spain, and said that all of the male members of Opus Dei (who then numbered about fifty) volunteered in 1941 to join the "Blue Division", a group of Spanish and Portuguese volunteers who joined the German forces in their fight against the Soviet Army, along the eastern front.[58][59]

Álvaro del Portillo, former prelate of Opus Dei, said that any claims that Escrivá supported Hitler were "a patent falsehood" and part of "a slanderous campaign".[23] He and others have stated that Escrivá regarded Hitler as a "pagan", a "racist", and a "tyrant".[60] (See Opus Dei and politics.)

Alleged support for rightwing leaders

One of the most controversial accusations made against Escrivá is that he and Opus Dei were active in bolstering far-right regimes,[61] including those of Francisco Franco and Augusto Pinochet in Chile. After 1957, several members of Opus Dei served as ministers in Franco's government.[62] In particular, the "technocrats" most closely tied with the "Spanish miracle" of the 1960s were members of Opus Dei: Alberto Ullastres, Mariano Navarro Rubio, Gregorio López-Bravo, Laureano López Rodó, Juan José Espinosa, and Faustino García-Moncó. According to journalist Luis Carandell, when Ullastres and Navarro Rubio were first appointed to the government in 1957, Escrivá gleefully exclaimed "They have made us ministers!"[63] something which Opus Dei officially denies.[64]

On 23 May 1958, Escrivá sent a letter to Franco, which said, in part:

Although a stranger to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.” It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority, will always be found. I ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission entrusted to you.[65]

In 1963, Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, also a Catholic, wrote a harsh critique of Escrivá's spirituality, describing Escrivá's approach to religion as a form of "integrism" (also called "Catholic integralism"), stating "despite the affirmations of the members of Opus Dei that they are free in their political options, it is undeniable that its foundation is marked by Francoism, that that is the 'law within which it has been formed'".[34] In another piece, published the following year, von Balthasar characterized Opus Dei as "an integrist concentration of power within the Church" and the central motivation of integrism as "imposing the spiritual with worldly means".[66] In 1979, von Balthasar distanced himself from a newspaper attack on Opus Dei which had cited his earlier accusations of integrism and in later years he did not renew his criticism of Opus Dei as an organization[54] but he maintained his unfavorable judgment of Escrivá's spirituality and repeated it in a television interview in 1984.[35] In response to the accusations of "integrism", Escrivá stated that, "Opus Dei is neither on the left nor on the right nor in the center" and that "as regards religious liberty, from its foundation Opus Dei has never practiced discrimination of any kind."[67]

In 1974, shortly after the coup d'état that removed president Salvador Allende from power and installed a right-wing military dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet, Escrivá visited Chile, where he was warmly received.[68] Critics have charged that Opus Dei members supported Pinochet's coup and then played a role in the "Miracle of Chile" of the 1980s similar to that of the "technocrats" during the Spanish Miracle of the 1960s",[69] but the only major right-wing politician in Chile that can be unequivocally identified as belonging to Opus Dei is Joaquín Lavín, who did not occupy any public office under Pinochet's dictatorship.[70]

Opus Dei officials state that individual members are free to choose any political affiliation, and that among its members were also important figures in the Spanish political opposition of the 1970s, such as Antonio Fontán, the first Senate President of Spain's democracy, and Rafael Calvo Serer, who was exiled by Franco. Peter Berglar, a German historian and member of Opus Dei argued that connecting Opus Dei with fascist regimes is a "gross slander".[71] Journalist Noam Friedlander state that allegations about Opus Dei involvement in the Pinochet regime are "unproven tales."[7] Several of Escrivá's collaborators stated that he actually despised dictatorships.[23][37][72][73]

John Allen has written that Escrivá was neither anti-Franco nor pro-Franco. On the other hand, some critics, such as Miguel Fisac[25] and Damian Thompson, have argued that Opus Dei has always sought "advancement not only of its message but also of its interests",[74] and that it has consistently courted those with power and influence, without maintaining a coherent ideological line in political matters.

Title of nobility

Another source of controversy surrounding Escrivá was the fact that, in 1968, he requested and received from the Spanish Ministry of Justice the rehabilitation in his favor of the aristocratic title of Marquess of Peralta.[75][76] According to the official Guía de grandezas y títulos del reino ("Guide to the grandeeships and titles of the realm"), the title of Marquess had originally been granted in 1718 to Tomás de Peralta, minister of state, justice and war for the Kingdom of Naples, by Archduke Charles of Austria.[77] Until 1715, Archduke Charles had been, as "Charles III", a pretender to the Spanish throne (see War of Spanish Succession), and from 1711 until 1740 he ruled as Holy Roman Emperor and King of Naples.

Escrivá's successful petition of a title of nobility has aroused controversy not only because it might seem at odds with the humility befitting a Catholic priest, but also because the same title of Marquess of Peralta had been rehabilitated in 1883 by Pope Leo XIII and King Alfonso XII in favor of a man to whom Escrivá had no male-line family connections: the Costa Rican Ambassador Manuel María de Peralta y Alfaro (1847–1930). [78][79][80] On that occasion, the documents ordering the rehabilitation claimed that the original title had been granted in 1738 (not 1718) to Juan Tomás de Peralta y Franco de Medina, by Charles of Austria in his capacity as Holy Roman Emperor, not as pretender to the Spanish throne. Ambassador Peralta, who in 1884 had married a Belgian Countess, Jehanne de Clérembault,[78] died without children in 1930.[79] None of his kinsmen in Costa Rica requested the transmission of the marquessate, but one of them has published an extensive genealogical study that would appear to contradict any claim by Escrivá to the title.[75][81][82]

Escrivá did not use the title of Marquess of Peralta publicly and, in 1972, he ceded it to his brother Santiago. The argument by supporters of Escrivá that he requested the rehabilitation of the title as a favor to his family, and that it was his intention from the beginning to cede it to his brother, seems belied by the fact that, in 1968, Santiago had requested for himself the rehabilitation of a different title of nobility, the barony of San Felipe, which was not granted.[83] According to historian Ricardo de la Cierva (a former Minister of Culture in the Spanish government), Escrivá's original request for the title might have been part of an unsuccessful attempt to enter the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Catholic religious order which required its members to be of noble birth and of which his deputy in Opus Dei, Msgr. Álvaro del Portillo was already a member.[75]

Several biographers say Escrivá prohibited his followers from asking for the title of Marquess of Peralta. They state that Escrivá accepted it due to the advice of some cardinals who told him that he had the obligation to do so for the sake of his brother, Santiago, and so as to practice what he preached about fulfilling civil duties and exercising rights. His brother Santiago said: "The decision was heroic because he knew that he will be vilified as a result... Josemaría did what is best for me. After the right amount of time has passed, without making use of the title (in fact he never had the intention of using it), he passed the title on to me."[47]

Relations with other Catholic leaders

Pauline priest Fr. Giancarlo Rocca, a church historian and a professor at the Claretianum in Rome, claims that Escrivá actively sought elevation to the rank bishop but was twice turned down by the Vatican curia, first in 1945, and later in 1950 (when he and his followers had lobbied for his appointment as bishop of Vitoria). According to Fr. Rocca, in both instances the curial officials privately expressed concerns about the organization of Opus Dei and about the psychological profile of Escrivá.[16]

Sociologist Alberto Moncada, a former member of Opus Dei, has collected and published various oral testimonies about Escrivá's difficult relations with other leaders within the Catholic Church.[84] In particular, Moncada quotes Fr. Antonio Pérez Tenessa, who at the time was secretary general of Opus Dei in Rome, as witnessing Escrivá's intense displeasure over the election of Pope Paul VI in 1963, and later even expressing doubts in private about the salvation of the Pope's soul.[84] Journalist Luis Carandell claims that, during his years in Rome, Escrivá kept his distance from the Jesuit Superior General, Pedro Arrupe, to the extent that Arrupe once joked with Monsignor Antonio Riberi, the apostolic nuncio to Spain, about doubting whether Escrivá really existed.[85]

According to María del Carmen Tapia, who worked with Escrivá in Rome, the founder of Opus Dei had "no respect" for Popes John XXIII or Paul VI and believed that his own organization of Opus Dei was "above the Church in holiness."[40] According to Moncada, Escrivá's years in Rome were dedicated in large part to his campaign to make Opus Dei independent from the authority of the diocesan bishops and the Vatican curia, something which was finally achieved, after Escrivá's death, with the establishment in 1982, under Pope John Paul II, of Opus Dei as a personal prelature, subject only to its own prelate and to the Pope.[84]

Beatification and canonization

After the death of Escrivá de Balaguer on 26 June 1975, the Postulation for the Cause of his beatification and canonization received many testimonies and postulatory letters from people all over the world.[86][87] The Postulation solicited the opening of the Cause of beatification and canonization of Escrivá from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on the fifth anniversary of his death. One-third of the world's bishops (an unprecedented number) petitioned for the canonization of Escrivá.[54]

His cause for beatification was introduced in Rome on 19 February 1981 on the strength of the apparently miraculous cure in 1976 of a rare disease, lipomatosis, suffered by Sister Concepción Boullón Rubio, whose family had prayed to Escrivá to help her. On 9 April 1990, Pope John Paul II declared that Escrivá possessed Christian virtues to a "heroic degree", and on 6 July 1991 the Board of Physicians for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints unanimously accepted the cure of Sister Rubio. He was beatified on 17 May 1992.

By way of a letter dated 15 March 1993, the Postulation for the Cause received news about the miraculous cure of Dr. Manuel Nevado Rey from cancerous chronic radiodermatitis, an incurable disease, which took place in November 1992.[86][88] The reported miracle apparently brought about by Escrivá's intervention was ruled valid by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved by Pope John Paul II in December 2001, opening the way to the canonization of Escrivá. John Paul II, who frequently expressed public support for Opus Dei and its work, canonized Escrivá on 6 October 2002. During the canonization mass, 42 cardinals and 470 bishops from around the world, general superiors of many orders and religious congregations, and representatives of various Catholic groups were present. During the days of the canonization event, Church officials commented on the universal reach and validity of the message of the founder, echoing John Paul II's decree Christifideles Omnes on Escrivá's virtues, which said that "by inviting Christians to be united to God through their daily work, which is something men will have to do and find their dignity in as long as the world lasts, the timeliness of this message is destined to endure as an inexhaustible source of spiritual light, regardless of changing epochs and situations."[citation needed]

St. Peter's Square on the day of Josemaría Escrivá's canonization.

Criticism of the process

However, critics question what they see as Escrivá's lightning canonization. On the eve of Escrivá's beatification in 1992, journalist William D. Montalbano, writing for the Los Angeles Times, described it as "perhaps the most contentious beatification in modern times."[89] Critics have argued that the process was plagued by irregularities. On the other hand, supporters refer to Fr. Rafael Pérez, an Augustinian priest who presided over the tribunal in Madrid for Escrivá's cause, as "one of the best experts" on canonization. Fr. Pérez stated that the process was fast because Escrivá's figure is "of the universal importance," the Postulators "knew what they were doing", and, in 1983, the procedures were simplified in order to present "models who lived in a world like ours." Fr. Flavio Capucci, the Postulator, also reported that the 6,000 postulatory letters to the Vatican showed "earnestness".[90]

Escrivá's canonization was one of the first to be processed after the 1983 Code of Canon Law streamlined the procedures for canonization, and so it moved more quickly than was typical before. Mother Teresa is on pace to be canonized even more quickly, having been beatified just 6 years after her death (Escrivá was beatified in 17 years). According to journalist Kenneth L. Woodward, the 6,000-page long positio (the official document about the life and work of the candidate for sainthood prepared by the postulators) was declared confidential but leaked to the press in 1992, after Escrivá's beatification. Woodward declares that, of 2,000 pages of testimonies, about 40% are by either Álvaro del Portillo or Javier Echevarría Rodríguez who, as successors of Escrivá at the head of Opus Dei, would have the most to gain from the Church recognizing that organization's founder as a saint. The only critical testimony quoted in the positio was by Alberto Moncada, a Spanish sociologist who had been a member of Opus Dei and whose testimony might have been easier for the Church authorities to dismiss because he had had little personal contact with Escrivá and had left the Catholic Church altogether. This critical testimony covered a mere two pages.[91]

Critics of the process also questioned the fact that some of the physicians involved in the authentication of the two "scientifically inexplicable cures" achieved through the posthumous intercession of Escrivá, such as Dr. Raffaello Cortesini (a heart surgeon), were themselves members of Opus Dei.[92] The Vatican has stated that the Medical Consultants for the Congregation unanimously affirmed that the miraculous cure of a cancerous state of chronic radiodermatitis in its third and irreversible stage in Dr. Manuel Nevado Rey (a country doctor in the village of Almendralejo) was "very quick, complete, lasting and scientifically unexplainable." After six months, the theological consultants, according to the Vatican, also unanimously attributed this cure to Escrivá.[93] On the year of his canonization, the Opus Dei prelate reported that the Postulation has gathered 48 reports of unexplained medical favors attributed to Escriva's intercession, as well as 100,000 ordinary favors.[94]

Former Opus Dei members critical of Escrivá's character who claim that they were refused a hearing during the beatification and canonization processes include Miguel Fisac (a well-known Spanish architect who was one of the earliest members of Opus Dei and remained close to Escrivá for nearly twenty years),[25][95] Msgr. Felzmann (a Czech-born engineer and Catholic priest from the UK, who was Escrivá's personal assistant),[40][57] María del Carmen Tapia (who worked with Escrivá in Opus Dei's central offices in Rome and directed its printing press),[96] Carlos Albás (a Spanish lawyer who was also Escrivá's first cousin once removed),[97] María Angustias Moreno (who occupied leadership positions in the women's branch of Opus Dei, during Escrivá's lifetime),[98][99] and Dr. John Roche (an Irish physicist and historian of science who was a member of Opus Dei from 1959 to 1973, and headed one of its schools in Kenya).[100][101] Several groups critical of Escrivá and of Opus Dei emerged both before and after the canonization of Escrivá, including the Opus Dei Awareness Network (ODAN),[102] and "OpusLibros",[103] both collaborations of former members who now oppose Opus Dei and its practices.

Catholic theologian Richard McBrien called Escrivá's elevation to sainthood "the most blatant example of a politicized [canonization] in modern times."[104] According to Catholic writer and biographer John Allen such views are countered by many other ex-members, the present members, and the estimated 900,000 people who attend activities of Opus Dei. He says that the interpretation of the facts "seems to depend upon one's basic approach to spirituality, family life, and the implications of a religious vocation." Allen's account of Opus Dei and its founder, however, was not accepted by all reviewers as impartial.[105]

Reports of discordance among judges

Escrivá's canonization attracted an unusual amount of attention and criticism, both within the Catholic Church and in the press. Father Capucci, the postulator of Escrivá's cause for sainthood, summarized the main accusations against Escrivá: that "he had a bad temper, that he was cruel, that he was vain, that he was close to Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, that he was pro-Nazi and that he was so dismayed by the Second Vatican Council that he even traveled to Greece with the idea that he might convert to the Orthodox religion".[40][106]

A Newsweek article by Woodward claimed that, of the nine judges of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints presiding over Escrivá's cause for beatification, two requested a suspension of the proceedings. The dissenters were identified as Msgr. Luigi de Magistris, an official in the Vatican's tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and Msgr. Justo Fernández Alonso, rector of the Spanish National Church in Rome. Acoording to Woodward, one of the dissenters wrote that the beatification of Escrivá could cause the church "grave public scandal."[40] The same article quoted Cardinal Silvio Oddi as declaring that many bishops were "very displeased" with the rush to canonize Escrivá so soon after his death.[40] In interviews, José Saraiva Martins, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, has denied being aware of that dissent.[107]

The journal Il Regno, published in Bologna by the congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (the Dehonians), reproduced, in May 1992, the confidential vote of one of the judges in Escrivá's cause of beatification, in which the judge asks that the process be suspended and raises questions about the undue haste of the proceedings, the near absence of testimony from critics in the documentation gathered by the postulators, the failure of the documentation to properly address issues about Escrivá's relations with the Franco regime and with other Catholic organizations, and suggestions from the official testimonies themselves that Escrivá lacked proper spiritual humility.[108]

This document does not identify the judge by name, but he indicates that he met Escrivá only once, briefly, in 1966, while serving as a notary for the Holy Office, which implies that the judge in question was Msgr. Luigi de Magistris. In his vote (which its own contents date to August 1989), de Magistris also argues that the testimony from the main witness, Msgr. Álvaro del Portillo, who was Escrivá's confessor for 31 years, should have been totally excluded from the proceedings.[108] John Allen Jr. comments that, according to some observers, de Magistris suffered as a result of his opposition to Escrivá's beatification. De Magistris became head of the Apostolic Penitentiary in 2001, an important position in the Vatican bureaucracy which normally is followed by elevation to the cardinalate, but he was never made a cardinal and retired less than two years later.[109][110]

Teachings and legacy

While some theologians downplayed the importance of the message and teachings of Escrivá, Roman Catholic cardinals of all theological persuasions spoke highly of his influence in the Catholic Church of the present and the future. In the decree introducing the cause of beatification and canonization of Escrivá, Cardinal Ugo Poletti wrote in 1981: "For having proclaimed the universal call to holiness since he founded Opus Dei in 1928, Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, has been unanimously recognized as the precursor of precisely what constitutes the fundamental nucleus of the Church's magisterium, a message of such fruitfulness in the life of the Church."[citation needed] Sebastiano Baggio, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, wrote a month after Escrivá's death: "It is evident even today that the life, works, and message of the founder of Opus Dei constitutes a turning point, or more exactly a new original chapter in the history of Christian spirituality." A Vatican peritus or consultor for the process of beatification said that "he is like a figure from the deepest spiritual sources". Franz König, Archbishop of Vienna, wrote in 1975:

The magnetic force of Opus Dei probably comes from its profoundly lay spirituality. At the very beginning, in 1928, Msgr. Escrivá anticipated the return to the Patrimony of the Church brought by the Second Vatican Council ... [H]e was able to anticipate the great themes of the Church's pastoral action in the dawn of the third millennium of her history.[citation needed]
Opus Dei's prelatic church, Our Lady of Peace, located in its central headquarters in Rome: Below the altar lie the mortal remains of St. Josemaría de Escrivá.

The "absolutely central" point in Escrivá's teaching, says American theologian William May, is that "sanctification is possible only because of the grace of God, freely given to his children through his only-begotten Son, and it consists essentially in an intimate, loving union with Jesus, our Redeemer and Savior."[111]

Escrivá's books, including Furrow, The Way, Christ is Passing By, and The Forge, continue to be read widely, and emphasize the laity's calling to daily sanctification (a message also to be found in the documents of Vatican II). Pope John Paul II made the following observation in his homily at the beatification of Escrivá:

With supernatural intuition, Blessed Josemaría untiringly preached the universal call to holiness and apostolate. Christ calls everyone to become holy in the realities of everyday life. Hence work too is a means of personal holiness and apostolate, when it is done in union with Jesus Christ.

As regards Escrivá's place in history, historian Pierre Chaunu, a professor at the Sorbonne, and President of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in 1993, said that "The work of Escrivá de Balaguer will undoubtedly mark the 21st century. This is a prudent and reasonable wager. Do not pass close to this contemporary without paying him close attention." (Vue Culturelle, 5–6 February 1983)

John Paul II's decree Christifideles omnes states: By inviting Christians to seek union with God through their daily work — which confers dignity on human beings and is their lot as long as they exist on earth — his message is destined to endure as an inexhaustible source of spiritual light regardless of changing epochs and situations.[14]


See also


  1. ^ Pope John Paul II 1990
  2. ^ Kenneth L. Woodward (13 January 1992), "Opus Dei Prepares to Stand By Its Man", Newsweek 
  3. ^ Cain, Michael (23 November 1999), "Top 100 Catholics Of The Century", The Daily Catholic 10 (222),,vol.10,no.222txt/nov23top.htm 
  4. ^ Hutchison 2006
  5. ^ a b c Allen 2005
  6. ^ Maggy Whitehouse (2006), Opus Dei: The Truth Behind the Myth, Hermes House 
  7. ^ a b Noam Friedlander (8 October 2005). "What Is Opus Dei? Tales of God, Blood, Money and Faith". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  8. ^ Patrice de Plunkett. "Entretien avec l’auteur de L’Opus Dei – Enquête sur le "monstre"". Zenit News Agency. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Papal statements on Opus Dei". Opus Dei Official Site. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  10. ^ Berglar 1994, pp. 15
  11. ^ a b c d Vázquez de Prada 2001
  12. ^ Helming 1986
  13. ^ Berglar 1994, pp. 86
  14. ^ a b c d Angelo Felici 1990
  15. ^ Berglar 1994, pp. 135–145
  16. ^ a b c Rocca, Giancarlo (2009), "Gli studi accademici di s. Josemaría Escrivá y Albás" (in Italian), Claretianum 49: 241–297,  (available in Italian and Spanish)
  17. ^ Luis Carandell, Vida y milagros de Monseñor Escrivá de Balaguer, fundador del Opus Dei. The relevant passage is available in Spanish here
  18. ^ "Our Lady of Torreciudad", official Opus Dei website on Escrivá
  19. ^ Berglar 1994, pp. 280
  20. ^ Jesús Ynfante, El santo fundador del Opus Dei, see chapter 9 (in Spanish)
  21. ^ The Tablet: How Escrivá changed my life, 19 January 2002
  22. ^ Joan Baptista Torelló, Recuerdo de Víktor E. Frankl (in Spanish), Archivo histórico, 48 (286), septiembre/octubre 2006
  23. ^ a b c del Portillo 1996
  24. ^ Mitch Finley review of Opus Dei by John L. Allen Jr. at, 2005
  25. ^ a b c d Miguel Fisac, "Nunca le oí hablar bien de nadie", in Escrivá de Balaguer - ¿Mito o Santo? (Madrid: Libertarias Prodhufi, 1992); ISBN 847954063X
  26. ^ Giles Tremlett, "Sainthood beckons for priest linked to Franco", The Guardian (UK), 5 October 2002.
  27. ^ Blaye 1976, pp. 262
  28. ^ Joseph Ratzinger: St Josemaría: God Is Very Much At Work In Our World Today, L'Osservatore Romano, 9 October 2002, pg. 3
  29. ^ cf Lk 18:41
  30. ^ cf 1 Corinthians 15:25
  31. ^ cf Roman Canon, Major Doxology and minor elevation
  32. ^ Romana: Towards the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá, 33, July–December 2001, pg. 136
  33. ^ a b Pope John Paul II 2002
  34. ^ a b c von Balthasar, Hans Urs (1963), "Integralismus" (in German), Wort und Wahrheit 18: 737–744 . Originally published on 23 November 1963 in the Neue Zürcher Nachrichten-Christliche Kultur. A Spanish translation is available here
  35. ^ a b Allen 2005, p. 64
  36. ^ Woodward, Kenneth L. (1996), Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn't, and Why, Touchstone, ISBN 9780684815305 
  37. ^ a b Echevarría Rodríguez 2000
  38. ^ "Other priests — such as Blessed Padre Pío and Blessed Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei — continued to use the old Mass privately in preference to the new rite."
    Latin Mass Society of Eire-Ireland. Member of Una Voce International, a lay organization approved by the Holy See
  39. ^ Annabel Miller, "Muscular Catholicism", The Tablet, 17 November 2001
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h Woodward, Kenneth L., "A Questionable Saint", Newsweek, 13 January 1992
  41. ^ a b c d e f Gondrand 1990, Le Tourneau 1987, Vázquez de Prada 2001, Berglar 1994
  42. ^ Hutchison 2006, p. 93
  43. ^ Fox, Matthew. The Pope's War. Sterling Ethos: New York (2011); ISBN# 978-1-4027-8629-7
  44. ^ a b Walsh 2004, pp. 13
  45. ^ Walsh 2004, pp. 14
  46. ^ Luis Carandell, Vida y milagros de Monseñor Escrivá de Balaguer, fundador del Opus Dei. The relevant passage is available in Spanish here.
  47. ^ a b Santiago Escrivá (17 May 1992). "Mi hermano Josemaría". Conocer el Opus Dei. ABC (Madrid). Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  48. ^ Escrivá 1987, Maxim 315 "Love your own country: it is a Christian virtue to be patriotic. But if patriotism becomes nationalism, which leads you to look at other people, at other countries, with indifference, with scorn, without Christian charity and justice, then it is a sin." Furrow
  49. ^ Escrivá 2002, Maxim 525. "To be 'Catholic' means to love your country and to be second to no one in that love. And at the same time, to hold as your own the noble aspirations of other lands. — So many glories of France are glories of mine! And in the same way, much that makes Germans proud, and the peoples of Italy and of England..., and Americans and Asians and Africans, is a source of pride to me also. Catholic: big heart, broad mind." Excerpt from The Way
  50. ^ Estruch 1995, p. 65
  51. ^ Estruch 1995, p. 61
  52. ^ Estruch 1995, p. 96
  53. ^ Allen 2005, p. 58
  54. ^ a b c Messori 1997
  55. ^ Berglar 1994, pp. 180–181
  56. ^ Luis Carandell, "La otra cara del beato Escrivá", Cambio 16, March 1992. Available in Spanish here.
  57. ^ a b Thompson, Damian, "A creepy scrape with the Da Vinci Code set", The Daily Telegraph (UK), 18 January 2005
  58. ^ "Escrivá de Balaguer justificó el genocidio judío, según el semanario Newsweek", El País (Madrid), 1 August 1992.
  59. ^ Allen 2005, p. 68
  60. ^ Pilar Urbano (1995). "El hombre de Villa Tevere". Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  61. ^ "Decoding secret world of Opus Dei". BBC News. 16 September 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  62. ^ See a list given in Opus Dei's official website
  63. ^ Luis Carandell, Vida y milagros de Monseñor Escrivá de Balaguer, fundador del Opus Dei (Madrid: Editorial Deriva, 2nd ed., 1992). See transcription of the relevant passages here
  64. ^ See, e.g., Entrevista al Cardenal Julián Herranz, 16 October 2003.
  65. ^ Letter from Escrivá to Franco (in English and Spanish)
  66. ^ von Balthasar, Hans Urs (1964), "Friedliche Fragen an das Opus Dei" (in German), Der Christliche Sonntag 16: 117 
  67. ^ Conversations with Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Scepter Publishers, 2007, ISBN 1594170576, 9781594170577, pgs. 72-3
  68. ^ "Catechetical Trips"
  69. ^ Walsh 2004, pp. 131–132
  70. ^ Jaime Escobar Martínez, "El Opus Dei en Chile", in Opus Dei - Génesis y expansión en el mundo (Santiago: LOM Ediciones, 1992)
  71. ^ Berglar 1994
  72. ^ Julian Herranz 2007
  73. ^ Julián Herranz, En las afueras de Jericó: Recuerdos de los años con san Josemaría y Juan Pablo II, Rialp 2008
  74. ^ Damian Thompson, "A veiled approach to the Vatican", The Daily Telegraph (UK), 25 October 2005
  75. ^ a b c de la Cierva 1993, pp. 143–158 The passage is transcribed here.
  76. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado, 25 January 1968; Ibid, Decree 1851/1968, 3 August 1968. Referenced in Luis Carandell, Vida y milagros de Monseñor Escrivá de Balaguer, fundador del Opus Dei (Madrid: Editorial Deriva, 2nd ed., 1992); extract transcribed here.
  77. ^ Ministerio de Justicia, Grandezas y Títulos del Reino: Guía Oficial, (Madrid: Centro de Publicaciones, 1967-1969), pg. 341
  78. ^ a b André Borel d'Hauterive, "Notice historique et généalogique sur la maison de Peralta," Annuaire de la Noblesse de France et des Maisons Souveraines de l'Europe 1886 (Paris: Plon, Nourrit & Cie., 1885), pgs. 292-304
  79. ^ a b Jorge Sáenz Carbonell, "Biografía: Don Manuel María de Peralta y Alfaro (1847-1930), II Marqués de Peralta, Embajador Emérito de Costa Rica", Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, República de Costa Rica.
  80. ^ "Manuel María de Peralta y Alfaro, Diplomático e historiador costarricense: Carrera diplomática" México Diplomático, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
  81. ^ Ricardo Fernández Peralta, “Genealogía de la Casa Peralta en Costa Rica”, Revista de la Academia Costarricense de Ciencias Genealógicas, 30-31 (1987), pgs. 7-63; see also genealogy here
  82. ^ "Extracto del dictamen del abogado español don Carlos Amigó, del Colegio de Abogados de Barcelona, sobre el mayorazgo de don Manuel María de Peralta", Revista de la Academia Costarricense de Ciencias Genalógicas, August 1955, pgs. 31-7
  83. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado, 25 January 1968; Referenced in Luis Carandell, Vida y milagros de Monseñor Escrivá de Balaguer, fundador del Opus Dei (Madrid: Editorial Deriva, 2nd ed., 1992). See transcription of the relevant passages here
  84. ^ a b c Alberto Moncada, Historia oral del Opus Dei, (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1987). ISBN 8401333377. Available in Spanish here
  85. ^ Luis Carandell, Vida y milagros de Monseñor Escrivá de Balaguer, fundador del Opus Dei. The relevant passage is available in Spanish here
  86. ^ a b Holy See
  87. ^ Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was canonized by the Palmarian Catholic Church, (as were Francisco Franco and Christopher Columbus), several years before the Roman Catholic Church took the same measure. [1]
  88. ^ Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints 2001
  89. ^ Montalbano, William D., "Pope to Beatify Controversial Spanish Priest", Los Angeles Times, 16 May 1992.
  90. ^ Documentation Service, V, pg. 3, March 1992
  91. ^ Woodward, Kenneth L. (1996), Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn't, and Why, Touchstone, pp. 9–12, ISBN 9780684815305 
  92. ^ Hutchison 2006, pp. 14–15
  93. ^ Vatican Congregation for Causes of Saints. "Chronology of the Cause for Canonization of Josemaria Escriva". Vatican. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  94. ^ Accattoli, Corriere della sera, 5 October 2002
  95. ^ Fisac, Miguel "Mentiras bajo la piadosa 'caridad cristiana'", El País (Madrid), 20 April 1992
  96. ^ Rafael Ruiz, '"Escrivá amenazó con deshonrarme si hablaba mal del OPUS", dice Carmen Tapia', El País (Madrid), 8 May 1992
  97. ^ José Luis Barbería, "Un sobrino de Escrivá de Balaguer cuestiona el proceso de beatificación de su tío", El País (Madrid), 11 July 1991
  98. ^ Allen 2005, p. 49
  99. ^ María Angustias Moreno, El Opus Dei: anexo a una historia, (Madrid: Editorial Planeta, 1976); ISBN 8432002771
  100. ^ John Roche, "The Inner World of Opus Dei", (1982).
  101. ^ Hutchison 2006, pp. 16–17
  102. ^ ODAN website
  103. ^ OpusLibros website
  104. ^ Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Saints: From Mary and St. Francis of Assisi to John XXIII and Mother Teresa, (Harper Collins, New York, 2003), pg. 52; ISBN 9780061232831
  105. ^ See, for instance, Damian Thompson, "A Veiled Approach to the Vatican", The Daily Telegraph (UK), 25 October 2005
  106. ^ Sylvia Poggioli: Controversy over the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, National Public Radio (NPR), 6 October 2002
  107. ^ "Politics, Religion, Democracy: Opus Dei and the Vatican". Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  108. ^ a b Congregazione per le cause dei santi (1992), "Mons. Escrivá: l’eroicità delle virtù" (in Italian), Il Regno 37: 297–304, . The text of the vote for suspension is available here.
  109. ^ Allen 2005, p. 249
  110. ^ Catholic-Hierarchy's profile of Msgr. Luigi de Magistris
  111. ^ Belda, Manuel 1997


Opus Dei members
  • Vázquez de Prada, Andrés (2001), The Founder of Opus Dei: the Life of Josemaría Escrivá, Princeton: Scepter Publishers, ISBN 9781889334257 
  • Belda, Manuel, ed. (1997), Holiness and the World: Studies in the Teachings of Blessed Josemariá Escrivá, Princeton: Scepter Publications, ISBN 1890177040  Collection of contributions to a theological symposium; contributors include Ratzinger, del Portillo, Cottier, dalla Torre, Ocariz, Illanes, Aranda, Burggraf and an address by Pope John Paul II.
  • Berglar, Peter (1994), Opus Dei. Life and Work of its Founder, Princeton: Scepter Publishers, ISBN 0933932650 . A study of Opus Dei based on the life story and work of its founder written by a professor of history at the University of Cologne.
  • Echevarría Rodríguez, Javier (2000), Memoria del Beato Josemaría Escrivá, Madrid: Ediciones Rialp, ISBN 8432133051, 
  • Gondrand, François (1990), At God's Pace, Princeton: Scepter, ISBN 0906138272 
  • Le Tourneau, Dominique (1987), What Is Opus Dei?, Dublin: Mercier Press, ISBN 0852441363 
  • del Portillo, Álvaro; Cavalleri, Cesare (1996), Immersed in God: Blessed Josemaría Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei As Seen by His Successor, Bishop Álvaro Del Portillo, Princeton: Scepter Publishers, ISBN 0933932855 
  • Helming, Dennis (1986), Footprints in the Snow. A pictorial biography of the founder of Opus Dei, Princeton: Scepter Publishers, ISBN 0933932502 
Official Catholic Church documents

Further reading

Official Catholic Church documents
Opus Dei members

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Josemaría Escrivá — 1902 1975. Gründer des Opus Dei Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás (* 9. Januar 1902 als José María Escriba in Barbastro, Spanien; † 26. Juni 1975 in Rom) ist Gründer des Opus Dei und ein Heiliger der römisch katholischen Kirche. Liturgisches… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Josemaría Escrivá — de Balaguer Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (de son nom complet José María Julián Mariano Escrivá Albás), né le 9 janvier 1902 à Barbastro (province de Huesca en Espagne) et mort le 26  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josemaria Escriva — Hl. Josemaría Escrivá 1902 1975. Gründer des Opus Dei Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás (* 9. Januar 1902 als José María Escriba in Barbastro, Spanien; † 26. Juni 1975 in Rom) ist Gründer des Opus Dei und ein Heiliger der r …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer — Imagen de Josemaría Escrivá que se usa en la estampa para la devoción Nombre José María Julián Mariano Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás …   Wikipedia Español

  • Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer — Josemaría Escrivá Saint Naissance 9 janvier 1902 Barbastro (province de Huesca en Espagne) Décès …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer — Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (de son nom complet José María Julián Mariano Escrivá Albás), né le 9 janvier 1902 à Barbastro (province de Huesca en Espagne) et mort le 26  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer — Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, nacido José María Escrivá y Albás (* Barbastro, Huesca, 9 de enero de 1902 † Roma, 26 de junio de 1975), sacerdote español, fundó en 1928 el Opus Dei. Estudió en los seminarios diocesanos de Logr …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer — Hl. Josemaría Escrivá 1902 1975. Gründer des Opus Dei Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás (* 9. Januar 1902 als José María Escriba in Barbastro, Spanien; † 26. Juni 1975 in Rom) ist Gründer des Opus Dei und ein Heiliger der r …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Canonization of Josemaría Escrivá — History of the Cause of CanonizationAccording to the Vatican, here is the chronology of the process of canonization:From death to beatification*1975 1980: After Escriva s death on June 26, 1975, the Postulation for the Cause of his beatification… …   Wikipedia

  • Escriva — Hl. Josemaría Escrivá 1902 1975. Gründer des Opus Dei Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás (* 9. Januar 1902 als José María Escriba in Barbastro, Spanien; † 26. Juni 1975 in Rom) ist Gründer des Opus Dei und ein Heiliger der r …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.