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The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei

A Sect or A Cult?


The purpose of this brief document is to question the validity of the allegations that the Opus Dei is a sect and/or a cult. To avoid falling into the trap of mindless name calling we thought it appropriate to let two impartial sources decide - (a) an on-line dictionary, and (b) a dictionary in book form, Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

Following, the reader will find the definitions of the words "sect" and "cult" with our brief commentaries in brackets " [ ] ".




Definitions From:

1.  a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

[A Prelature is in fact a parallel church (1)]

2.  an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.

[The object of their veneration (adoration in practice) is Josemaría Escrivá]

3.  the object of such devotion.

[Josemaría Escrivá]

4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

[The object of their veneration (adoration in practice) is Josemaría Escrivá]

5.  (in the sociology of religion) a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

6.  a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

[Could not describe Opus Dei better. The "false" part is because, by word and deed, they espouse that one can serve mammon as long as the is done in the Name of God. (2)]

7.  the members of such a religion or sect.

[Most of them hide their affiliation with Opus Dei.]

8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.

[The "disease" in this case is what Josemaría Escrivá deemed to be whatever he did not agree with. (3)]

Origin: 1610–20; "cultus" habitation, tilling, refinement, worship, equivalent to "cul-", worship + "-tus" suffix of v. action

Other Definitions From: Concise Oxford English Dictionary (book form)

1. a system of religious devotion directed towards a particular figure or object

[The object of their veneration (adoration in practice) is Josemaría Escrivá]

2. relatively small religious group regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members

[Could not describe the Opus Dei better.]

3. [as modifier] a thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group: a cult film

[After the film the Da Vinci Code the Opus Dei became popular or fashionable among "kindred spirits".]

Origin: C17, from French "culte" or Latin "cultus", "worship"



Definitions From:

1.  a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.

2.  a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.

[Opus Dei adherents do.]

3.  (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches.

[Opus Dei demands that of its members. (4)]

4.  any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.

[The object of their veneration (adoration in practice) of Josemaría Escrivá]

Origin: 1300–50; "secte", "secta" something to follow, pathway, course of conduct, school of thought.

Definitions From: Concise Oxford English Dictionary (book form)

1.a religious group or faction regarded as heretical or as deviating from orthodox tradition

[The behavior - not necessarily the religious rites - of its members totally deviates from orthodox tradition]

2. [as a derogatory term]: a group that has separated from an established Church; a nonconformist Church

[Why set up a Personal Prelature as Opus Dei was set up unless its founder and followers did not conform with the established church?]

3. a group with extreme or dangerous philosophical or political ideas

[When one considers that their "Bible", for all practical purposes, is Escrivá's inspirational booklet "The Way" and Escrivá is considered "The Father", as it is engraved on his tomb lid, when in reality The Way is Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ is the only Son of The (only) Father, it is impossible not to call extreme and dangerous such blasphemous claims made by The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.]

Origin: Middle English, from Old French secte, or Latin secta, "following," hence "faction, party" from the stem of sequi, "follow"


It is obvious that, regardless of the denials of the Opus Dei Administration and followers, by definition, their activities and methods can only be classified as those of a Cult with heavy Sectarian overtones.

(1) Official definition of The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei
(2) The fallacy of their working doctrine
(3) A bird's eye view from a Opus Dei friend
(4) High level witnesses from the bowels of Opus Dei speak out - English - Spanish

Published on October 25, 2008

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