The Da Vinci Code - Opus Dei

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
The Da Vinci Code - Opus Dei
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 7:25am
Has anyone read The Da Vinci Code? I haven't finished yet, so don't give it away. :-)

I'm wondering, too, if anyone knows anything about Opus Dei. I did a quick Internet search, but who knows who wrote the sites I've looked at. Do you know where I can find good info on it?

Also, in the beginning of the book, Opus Dei is described as a "Catholic sect".

If it's a group of Catholics, then it's a Catholic organization. If it's a true sect, then it's a Christian sect, but not Catholic.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 06-30-2003 - 11:47am
Hi Joan!

I haven't read The Da Vinci Code -- I take it you recommend it? I have a trip to Holland next week, and those trips are one of the few times I get uninterrupted reading time, so perhaps I'll pick it up.

As for Opus Dei -- you can count me in the camp that isn't too fond of it. I've read The Way, and it has some good advice and good points for meditation. I've also visited one anti-Opus Dei website, which was interesting and inflammatory but I don't know if it was accurate. I have had friends in the group. In fact, one became a super-numerary, or whatever that's called. My experience is that the group uses questionable recruiting tactics and has a tendency to isolate members from those not in the group. I remember one friend who had started attending meetings, etc. who was chastized for confessing to a non-Opus Dei priest! He was a devout Catholic (this was in college; he was 18) and was made to feel tremendously guilty when he decided not to get involved. It really troubled him, because they made him feel like he was doing something sinful by not getting involved.

I also went to an unofficial Opus Dei prayer meeting once. (It wasn't called Opus Dei, but it was obviously only women in the group and a few of us others.) I remember feeling like the gist of the sermon was, "Never trust men." The experience was fascinating, but a bit odd.

The Church has sanctioned Opus Dei, but I think in a general sense. I get the feeling that the Church wouldn't approve of some specifics, which vary country by country and city by city. I vascillate between viewing them as a dangerous cult and viewing them as a misguided group that probably does more good than harm.

In general, they tend to be conservative. And, on a lighter note -- when I think of them I am always reminded of the description of another college buddy who was heavily recruited: "They're the type of people who play basketball in jeans." That might not be accurate, but it makes me laugh.

I hope all is well with you.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 07-02-2003 - 10:14am
Well, I can tell it would be dangerous for me to read that book! Just reading the Amazon review sidetracked me into about an hour of internet research! Now I realize you are looking for more factual Opus Dei info. If memory serves me, it was founded by Jose Escriva as a way for people to be holy in their every day lives. His main point is that we're all called to holiness -- it isn't something that should be left only to priests and nuns. I may be way off, but that's the nutshell summary as I remember it. But as I'm sure you've discovered, it is more controversial that that benign description.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 6:51am
I don't know a lot about Opus Dei. It was founded by Blessed Jose Maria Escriva. It is rather big in the DC area. They have a bookstore downtown, several churches and some schools in the area. They recruit heavily among the most wealthy and most influential Catholics around here and it is rumored that more than a few members of Congress and the Senate are Opus Dei. (As was Robert Hansenn, the spy.) Opus Dei is very circumspect with outsiders about specifics of their organization although they are pretty clear about their overall dislike for fraternization between the sexes if they are not married. I believe that if a single person joins the ranks of Opus Dei they take a vow to remain celibate and single, but I'm not positive about that and can't remember where I read it. Opus Dei is also very, very conservative. They believe in self-flagellation as a means of atonement. Frequent confessions heard only by Opus Dei priests, attending only Opus Dei masses and sending your children to Opus Dei schools (which around here are quite expensive). There is a huge amount of pressure to conform entirely with the lifestyle they proscribe or risk ostracization (sp?)

OTOH, One of the Catholics I most admire (but have only known via the 'net) is Opus Dei, or at least a supporter of Opus Dei. He (at least from online) seems perfectly normal in every way, has a large Catholic family, successful career, wide circle of non Opus Dei friends, so there you are.

There used to be a ton of info. about Opus Dei (both factual and debates) on catholic-pages ( com)

BTW- I have also read the DaVinci Code and loved it!


"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jeff

Community Leader
Registered: 03-17-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 2:50pm
Thanks for the link info Becky. I have spent some time poking around and thus far found it to be informative and easy to navigate.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sun, 07-06-2003 - 11:38am

The prayer meeting I refered to in my post was in D.C. This woman had a huge, beautiful chapel in her house!

As for the celibate thing -- as I recall, certain people choose that path, but it isn't required.


Avatar for mom070792
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 08-08-2003 - 9:20am
I am not Opus Dei, but I think it gets a bad wrap. My experience with Opus Dei people is that they live their lives in a very exemplatory fashion. I have been invited to one of their gatherings and it is true that at first you are unaware that many of the people at the coffee are O.D. However they never pressured me in any way. If I had a question and chose to ask it, they always answered it. They let their lives speak for themselves. They were peaceful in stressful circumstances and always on track. As for an overly zealous o.d. person I would only attribute that to immaturity and enthusiasm. If you want information on o.d. I would look for it on their site, because otherwise you are just dealing with people's fears of something different.

You might wonder how I specifically came to know these people. They came to a bible study I had organized. I too, wondered who are these people, what is Opus Dei. My experience was that they are just like you and I, but participate in spiritual growth and formation though O.D. as well as through church activities. After researching and knowing them, I must say I do not fear these people or their ways. I do believe they are simply trying to live their faith out with the support of their organization.

IMHO ~ Lynne

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 09-03-2003 - 11:23pm
I recently read this article that talks about The Da Vinci Code. I found it to be very interesting, and thought you all might be interested in it since you had discussed the book here.