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Opus Dei: The First Objective Look behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2006

    Too Long, Too Much, Too Many Details

    Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church by John L. Allen, Jr., is likely to remain the most exhaustively researched writings ever on the Catholic spiritual organization, Opus Dei, founded in 1928 by then José María Julián Mariano now Saint Josemaría Escrivá. The Latin words, Opus Dei, are translated to 'the Work of God', hence comes Mr. Brown's thinly disguised reference above from The Da Vinci Code to 'The Way'. John L. Allen, Jr., is the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and a Vatican analyst for both CNN and NPR and obviously a practicing Catholic. However, to produce such a monumental book on Opus Dei, one needs to be as familiar with the hierarchy, the workings, the pathology and the history of the Catholic Church as most of us are with our own Satellite-TV remote controls. Which, is one small fault I find in the book, that of the assumption of the author that the reader is himself or herself a Catholic. However, for this Bible-beating-kinda-Southern-Baptist reviewer, the added detail for non-Catholics would have made this already encyclopedic encyclical even longer. In actuality, on day nineteen of trudging through this tome, I facetiously told my son that I thought, while I was away at work, pages were being surreptitiously added to the back of the book. The relatively high Barnes and Nobel internet-sales-ranking indicates to me that many, many Catholics have purchased this book. However, I'll wager less than three percent of those buyers, Catholic or not, actually read the book all the way to its final page ... numbered three hundred and eighty-seven. As a matter of fact, my son revealed he purchased this pristine, untouched, and previously un-read hardback at a used book store. During Christ's passing on The Cross, the six-inch thick curtain in The Temple, separating Man from God, was torn asunder (Matthew 27:51). Most non-Catholics and 'generic' Christians believe this meant that no longer did a priestly hierarchy stand between post-Crucifixion men and women and their Creator-God. However, the Roman Catholic Church soon enough re-wove the curtain with intertwined legions of church officials, who again stood between God and Man. And it is in attempting to explain why and how and where the organization known as Opus Dei fits into this millennia-thick strata of popes, priests, bishops, cardinals, cannons, Catechisms, etc., that takes up eighty percent of the pages of this hardback. As a Christian, I found it shocking that in a book about a religious organization, the first mention of a Bible verse (Matthew 18:15) is withheld until page three hundred seventeen, nearly eighty percent into the book. However, for those Roman Catholics, who are very deeply interested in the elaborate and arcane workings of their religion, and most particularly in Opus Dei (the only personal prelature in the Church) they, the few, the proud, will find Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church fascinating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    Nothing Investigative About It

    I was very disappointed. I felt that Allen did not go far enough. He asked the obvious questions, was fed the party line, he reported it and that was the end of the story. By the time I got to the chapter concerning Opus Dei in the church - it had become a complete snooze-fest. I feel I wasted my money on this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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