Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Opus Dei Obsessed Columnist at LA Times Thinks Archbishop Gomez a "Risky Choice" for Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times columnist, Tim Rutten, is crying over the appointment of Archbishop Jose Gomez as coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:
... The other signal Rome may be sending with this appointment may be disruptive. Los Angeles' new coadjutor bishop and -- barring the unforeseeable -- future cardinal has spent most of his priestly career as a member of Opus Dei, the secretive and controversial Catholic movement with its roots deep in Franco's Spain. Opus Dei, which stresses doctrinal orthodoxy and an ultramontane loyalty to the papacy, was a great favorite of Pope John Paul II and is a favorite of Pope Benedict XVI. The former created a "personal prelature" for the organization, so that its roughly 90,000 members scattered around the world report directly to their own bishop in Rome and he reports directly to the pope. No other such arrangement exists in the church. John Paul also canonized the movement's Spanish founder, Josemaria Escriva, who, according to close associates, on occasion expressed admiration for Hitler's antagonism to Bolshevism and skepticism that 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust.

You don't have to be a fan of the dreadful "Da Vinci Code" to find Opus Dei a trifle creepy.
[ED.: Note the use of that word. It won't be the last time you'll see it.] Its secrecy is legendary, as is its predilection for discredited "mortifications" of the flesh, such as wearing the celice -- a spiked metal circlet applied to the thigh until it draws blood -- or self-flagellation with a knotted cord.

Politically, Opus Dei's sympathies generally extend to the authoritarian. It provided Franco with Cabinet ministers and supported Augusto Pinochet in Chile.

Gomez's connections to the movement couldn't be deeper. Born in Monterrey, Mexico, he studied theology at the University of Navarra, which is rather like Opus Dei's Harvard. Ordained as a priest of the movement, he later served as one of its superiors, Vicar of the Delegation of Texas. Though there are 22 Opus Dei bishops among the church's 27,811 prelates, Gomez is the only one who is a full member of the order.

In a recent pastoral letter to San Antonio Catholics, Gomez wrote, "My approach and understanding . . . owes a great deal to my appreciation of the spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva."

The changes for Los Angeles' Catholics may be wrenching.
[ED.: Awwwwww. My heart bleeds.] Mahony is the last of the politically progressive, pastorally centered American prelates selected in the wake of Vatican II. Gomez belongs to a traditionalist generation. The cardinal, for example, has promoted lay participation in every canonically permissible kind of ministry. Gomez, like the pope, is said to favor clearer and more traditional divisions between the lay and clerical roles.

Some also are bound to be wary of his close association with Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, his mentor in Denver and one of the church's most stridently conservative voices. Chaput, for example, feels that Catholic office-holders who cast pro-choice votes ought to be denied Communion. He recently gave an address in Texas in which he argued that John F. Kennedy was wrong in insisting on separation of church and state.

In California, a staunchly Democratic state
[ED.: This is the gist of the concern, isn't it? Party trumps piety.] where one out of every four people is Catholic, that sort of confrontational leadership could have serious consequences.
My Comments:
Whenever Rutten - who, apparently, has some sort of unhealthy obsession with Opus Dei - is unhappy about matters Catholic, I'm downright ecstatic.

Speaking of Rutten's unhealthy obsession, let's compare a portion of the column above attacking Opus Dei to another Rutten rant against the personal prelature. Here's what Rutten writes now:
You don't have to be a fan of the dreadful "Da Vinci Code" to find Opus Dei a trifle creepy. Its secrecy is legendary, as is its predilection for discredited "mortifications" of the flesh, such as wearing the celice -- a spiked metal circlet applied to the thigh until it draws blood -- or self-flagellation with a knotted cord.

Politically, Opus Dei's sympathies generally extend to the authoritarian. It provided Franco with Cabinet ministers and supported Augusto Pinochet in Chile.
And this is what Rutten wrote in May of 2008 (in a column that had absolutely nothing to do with Opus Dei, but in which Rutten tried to paint the late Bob Novak as having fascist ties because he was brought into the Church by a priest with a membership in Opus Dei):
McCloskey also happens to be a priest of the ultra-conservative and secretive -- some would say sinister [ED.: That's worse than "creepy", right?] -- Catholic organization Opus Dei. You don't have to buy into Dan Brown's preposterous caricature of Opus Dei in "The Da Vinci Code" to know that it really never has fallen all that far from its roots in Francisco Franco's Spain.
Column writing is fairly easy if all one has to do is borrow heavily from one's previous columns, and merely rewrite a little here and there. It does tend to get a little monotonous, however, if one allows one's unhealthy obsessions to continually take over one's columns.

More Opus Dei obsession from Rutten is evident here (in which Rutten tries to tar Opus Dei by attempting to associate the prelature to the scandals surrounding the Legionaries of Christ and its founder Marcial Maciel):
... All of this made Maciel and the Legionaries great favorites of Pope John Paul II, who believed new, traditionalist orders -- like the Legionaries and Opus Dei -- would provide a bulwark against secularism. The pontiff publicly called Maciel "an efficacious example to youth" and took him along as a key advisor on his trips to Latin America.

This papal approval tended to obscure the Legionaries' creepy [ED.: Note how Rutten uses that same adjective - "creepy" - that he uses to describe Opus Dei on a number of occasions.] internal organization ...
here (in which Rutten inexplicably drags Opus Dei into a column defending Notre Dame's decision to invite President Obama to receive an honorary law degree and speak at the university's commencement exercises):
... The principal organizer of the Notre Dame protest is a group called the Cardinal Newman Society -- no, they're not the people who ran the Newman Centers you may recall from your college campus. This bunch came together in 1992 to enforce more stringent orthodoxy at American Catholic universities.

One of its projects is to publish essays by the Rev. C. John McCloskey, the Opus Dei priest who acts as a kind of chaplain to the GOP's neoconservatives and was influential in the conversion to traditional Catholicism of such prominent conservative commentators as Robert Novak and Larry Kudlow. In one of the essays disseminated by the society, McCloskey argues that "for a university to be truly Catholic," its faculty would have to be "exclusively" Catholic. Welcome back to the Counter-Reformation...
here (in which Rutten ostensibly defends Opus Dei against Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code libel):
Now many Catholics, this one included, regard Opus Dei as a creepy [ED.: There's that word again.] outfit with an unwholesome affinity for authoritarianism gleaned from its formative years in Franco's Spain.
What a sad, obsessed individual.

(emphasis and editorial commentary added throughout)


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
LA Slimes Columnist Defends Sebelius Against Bob Novak Op/Ed; Calls Opus Dei "Sinister" Organization with Fascist Ties

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4 Comments:

At 4/08/2010 3:57 PM, Blogger Terry said...

Given its "legendary" secrecy, did Opus Dei adherent Scott Hahn break some kind of code when he wrote an entire book explaining it? Should we be concerned for his safety?

I'm with you, Jay: this guy's garment tearing can only mean good things.

OT: Great Lakes produces good stuff, especially the high demand, low supply Christmas Ale. Eliot Ness is really good too.

 
At 4/08/2010 4:55 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I currently have one bottle of Christmas Ale left in my fridge. Never tried the Eliot Ness, but the Commodore Perry is a rather interesting brew. I don't normally go for IPA, but gave this one a try. Distinct taste of grapefruit. In addition to not being much of a fan of IPA, I'm not much of a grapefruit fan either.

 
At 4/09/2010 12:52 PM, Blogger DP said...

Opus Dei is fluoridating Tim Rutten's water!

Never cared much for India Pale Ale either. In fact, I'm not big on hop-heavy brews in general.

 
At 4/09/2010 9:38 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Me, either, Dale.

 

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