on excerpts from...
Beyond the Threshold, A Life in
By María del Carmen Tapia
Continuum Publishing Company
MY ENCOUNTER WITH OPUS DEI
By María del Carmen Tapia
PLEASE NOTE: The
formatting, notes and the highlighting utilizing Italics Print, Bold Print and Underscoring was done by The M+G+R Foundation to call the
attention of the reader to Opus Dei traits about which we have been
writing for some years now.
Opus Dei is a socio-religious phenomenon bound up with the political
situation following the Spanish Civil War (July 1936 to April 1939). By
the end of the war, the hopes and dreams of the country’s youth had
overcome the animosities and hatred of the adults. We were filled with
personal, political, and religious aspirations. We had grown up during
the Civil War years, remembering years of hunger, bombings, and often
the destruction of our own homes...
I still remember one morning in December 1936 during the siege of
Madrid by Franco’s troops... I left home very early that day to look
for some food for my family ..... walked silently, remembering that
people had recently been killed in the area at night. Suddenly someone
said, “Watch out!” There was a pool of blood in the middle of the
street. I had to look away but I had already seen something I shall
I cannot catalogue all the sufferings. There was hunger, lack of
housing, financial hardships, and when the war was over there were
purges, the need for political affidavits, the discovery of betrayal by
As children of those years, we had to put away our toys and grow up
ahead of our time. We had learned that a careless word could mean
danger or even death to our parents and friends... Our personal
experience made us want to end violence and betrayal... We were
religious. Although we had great ambitions we knew how to be happy with
very little... Because of Franco’s
political ideology, Spain was boycotted by all European countries except Portugal.
The disruptions of the Civil War had caused young people to lose years
of school; we were now eager to learn... Many young women made extra
sacrifices, surrendering their chance of going to college or university
in order for their brothers to continue their studies.
Perhaps some of those reading these lines will find aspects of their
own lives reflected in some portion of this odyssey. Those children and adolescents of the
Spanish Civil War —youngsters from 1940-1950— initially filled the ranks of Opus Dei.
At that time, Opus Dei was practically unknown. Father Escrivá’s recently published Camino was a provocative
invitation to postwar youth with practically no literature available
other than religious books and the required textbooks approved by
Franco’s censorship. I did not know then that Father
Escrivá was the Founder of Opus Dei nor did I then see the internal
contradiction in this book where the frequent use of military language
was combined with passages from the Gospel.
Father Escrivá offered the
To give up everything without getting
anything in return; to conquer the
world for Christ’s church; a contemplative life through one’s
everyday work; to be missionaries, without being called such, but with
a mission to accomplish. Students were challenged to excel in their
chosen endeavor, turning study time into prayer, with the aim of attaining a high position
in the intellectual world, and then offering it to Christ.
Note of The
M+G+R Foundation:What Christ? High
position in the
intellectual world? Our Lord Jesus Christ rejected those values almost
2,000 years ago. The only Christ that would be interested in those
values would be the False Christ.
As we have said before, Lucifer
fell because he would not serve God and satan came into being.
Ironically satan has to serve God because God IS God. Escrivá’s
words and philosophies point to him as the forerunner of the False
Christ – the Anti Christ. Glory to God!
It was not a question of becoming nuns or monks, but a real challenge
to lay people who had never considered a religious vocation. Our apostolic field was our own
environment, among our friends. There were no special headquarters and
nothing needed to be said. What
counted was example, silence, discretion. Escrivá’s book,
“The Way”, reflects this
approach. All these factors constituted a
distinctive style that helped create a genuine ebullience among the
young men and women who joined Opus Dei during the decade of the 1940s
and who, in Opus Dei jargon, are known as “the first” or “the eldest”.
Indeed, the phrase is a kind of badge of honor within Opus Dei.
Note of The
M+G+R Foundation: And a
new version of Elitism was born:
Nazi-Arianism was alive and well; this time, hiding under the cloak of
Sometime around 1945, I heard references to Opus Dei for the first
time. They were very negative. Several people suggested that it
represented a subtle danger to the Roman Catholic Church. More than one
acquaintance, playing on the widespread Spanish hostility to
Masons as members of a secret society, used the expression “white
freemasonry”. (1) Some alleged that Opus
Dei was envious if not hostile to the two most significant Spanish
Catholic lay groups, Catholic Action (Acción
Católica) and the Spanish
National Association of Propagandists (Asociación
Española Nacional de
Propagandistas). I even heard stories of young men from Opus Dei
courted young women, with no intention of marrying them, merely for the
purpose of recruiting new members for the association!...
A few months later, in October 1946, I finally met someone from the
mysterious Opus Dei, a priest named Pedro Casciaro, who officiated at
the marriage of my first cousin in Albacete...
I was intrigued about Opus Dei, and discussed it at length with my
fiancé. He told me that he had heard the same rumors as I had, but that
one of his classmates at his engineering school was a member and seemed
perfectly normal, though he did not socialize with women...
In 1947, a year before our intended marriage, my fiancé, now a forestry
engineer, accepted his first job in Morocco. To relieve my boredom
during his absence and to pursue my own intellectual interests, I
accepted a position at Arbor, the general cultural journal of the
Council of Scientific Research, CSIC (Consejo
Investigaciones Cientificas) in Madrid. I was an assistant to Arbor’s
associate director, Raimundo Panikkar.
When I was introduced to him, I was quite surprised to find a priest in
such a major cultural post. I was even more surprised that he was an
Indian with a Catalonian accent. Although only recently ordained and
still a young man of twenty-eight, he was highly regarded at the CSIC
as one of its founders. Everyone considered him brilliant... He was
kind, although extremely serious with the staff of Arbor, with whom he
very seldom used more words than those essential for greetings and work.
I began work at eight o’clock, an hour earlier than the other members
of the staff, and I also left an hour earlier. One morning I was called
by Dr. Albareda, the general secretary of the CSIC. His own assistants
were not due to arrive for at least an hour and he had an important and
confidential letter to write immediately. When he started dictation I
was very surprised that the letter was addressed to Monsignor Jose
María Escrivá de Balaguer, the author of “The Way”.
Absorbed in my own thoughts I went back to my office. By then, my two
co-workers were there, and they started pulling my leg with typical
Iberian irony and asked me if I had been promoted.
—I replied.— “What I was doing
was taking a letter for the author of “The
“Of course,” —they said,— “as a member
of Opus Dei, Albareda has to send a report to its Founder.”
“What did you say?” —I asked,
astonished.— “That Escrivá, the
author of “The Way”, is the Founder of
Opus Dei and Albareda is a member?” —Everybody laughed at my
“Didn’t you know,” —they went
on,— “that Florentino Perez Embid,
the secretary to Arbor, is a member, too,
as well as Rafael Calvo Serer?”
“No, I did not know any of this.”
“And that Dr. Panikkar is a priest of
“Are you sure about Dr. Panikkar?”
“Positive. And so is the director of
Arbor, Sanchez de Muniain.”
“But Sanchez de Muniain is married,”
“So what? He is a member too. He
belongs to the married ones.”
“What is going on here?” —I
angrily.— “Is everybody here part of
that organization? Are you two
“Certainly not.” —They
almost everybody on the top levels here at the Council is a member.”
I was appalled at the news that the author of “The Way”, a book read by
many young people at that time, was the Founder of such a dubious group
as Opus Dei and that the CSIC, the
main Spanish center for research, was a platform utilized by Opus Dei.
And since I had such a positive opinion of Dr. Panikkar, I was angry to
learn that he was an Opus Dei priest.
The possibility of talking directly with Dr. Panikkar regarding Opus
Dei and its control of the CSIC was little less than utopian...
An opportunity presented itself, however, when Dr. Panikkar asked me to
work the following Saturday, since he had a backlog of correspondence
that had to be answered. After three hours of dealing with his
correspondence, Dr. Panikkar suddenly said: “May I ask you why you work
Astonished at the question, I said that I was planning to get married
the following year and hoped to make my fiancé’s absence more bearable
by working at something that interested me.
Dr. Panikkar made no comment, and we resumed our work. When we finished
at lunch time, and I was locking the doors, he started another
conversation, this time about Barcelona, where he had been recently.
weather was beautiful there,” —he said.
“I know,” —I replied,— “my parents just
returned from Barcelona and said the same thing.”
“Why didn’t you go with them?” —he
“For the simple reason that I am
“I would always give you time off to
go to Barcelona,” —he said, half-jokingly.
“I am so busy this year,” —I
seriously,— “that I do not even have
time to make my spiritual retreat.”
“I am going to lead two groups next
month, so if you would like ...”
“With you? No thank you.”
“I am not asking you to make your
retreat under my guidance,” Dr.
Panikkar continued calmly. “What I
meant was that you can have a week
off at that time.”
There was an embarrassed silence on my part. I did not know whether I
should apologize because of my reply or how to pursue the conversation.
Finally Dr. Panikkar broke the silence with the question:
I ask why you said ‘not with me’?”
“Because you are with Opus Dei,” —I
“Oh! I see. And what do you have
against Opus Dei?”
“Personally nothing, but I think it
is against the church.”
“All right, all right,” —Dr.
said slowly.— “Thank you for coming
today. I think that we will have to
talk about this matter again.” —And with his usual formal
...when I came to work the following Monday, Father Panikkar greeted me
affably, saying he was ready to resume our discussion.
you please explain to me your negative attitude to Opus Dei?” —he
I recounted all the things I had heard about Opus Dei: that it was a
“freemasonry” (1) because of its mysterious way
of doing things such as not disclosing the identity of its members...
That Opus Dei plotted to “capture” chairs at the university, hoping to
preserve them for members and
were ruthless about getting rid of anyone who was in their way...
Father Panikkar heard me out without
betraying any emotion, (2) but his reply,
when it came, was forceful:
you know the meaning of slander?”
“Yes,” I answered haltingly.
“Well, everything you have heard,
everything you have repeated here, is nothing but slander.”
Somehow, the assurance with which Father Panikkar spoke (2)
was more convincing to me than the accusations I had just made.
NOTE: The formatting and the highlighting utilizing Italics Print, and CAPITAL LETTERS
was done to call to the attention of the reader to Opus Dei traits
about which we have been writing for some years now.
SECOND CANONICAL ADMONITION
[Carmen speaking] Toward the
middle of May of that year, the earth
seemed to shake beneath my feet. I was summoned on the run, as always,
to the sessions chamber of the central advisory. Monsignor Escrivá was
seated at the head of the table, with Father Francisco Vives and Father
Javier Echevarría on his left, Don Alvaro del Portillo was absent. At
Father’s right were the central directress, Mercedes Morado, and
Marlies Kucking, in her new capacity as secretary of the central
advisory. I was told to sit between Mercedes Morado and Marlies Kucking.
Shouting, puffing and beside himself, Monsignor Escrivá said, “Look, Carmen, this has to end. You are
not going to laugh up your sleeve at us.”
Complaining that she had opened up a post office box to receive mail
from the outside, Escrivá said:
is this, you great hypocrite, you deceiver, wicked woman? And that
procuress, Gladys, that sow, let her come in!”
Speaking to Gladys, Escrivá screamed, “Do
you take letters to the post office for her, for this wicked woman? Do
you comprehend the gravity of what you have done…Answer, ANSWER.”
…Gladys said, “Yes, Father.”
Monsignor Escrivá breathed deeply before going on. [Addressing to Gladys] “You will no longer work for the central
advisory. You will not set foot upstairs on the advisory office floor.
Let them find you some other job in the house. And now, go to your room
and don’t leave it for any reason? Do you hear? For any reason!”
When Gladys left the sessions chamber, Monsignor Escrivá told the
central directress and Marlies Kucking, in the presence of the priests
already mentioned, “After this, take
that one,” —he said, referring to Gladys,— “lift up her skirt, take down
her panties, and whack her on the behind until she talks. MAKE HER
Addressing me, Monsignor Escrivá shouted, “I give you the second admonition,
hypocrite. You write me a letter on my saint’s day, telling me you want
to begin again, and this is what you do to me! Tell these people
everything, everything. You’re a bad piece of work. I warn you that I’m
waiting for some affidavits from Venezuela, and you will find out
what’s trouble. You’re a wicked woman, sleazy, scum. That’s what you
THIRD CANONICAL ADMONITION
…He (Escrivá) went on: “And don’t
return to Venezuela! Don’t even think of writing to anybody there.
Because if you even think of going to Venezuela, I will assume the
responsibility of telling the Cardinal what you are. And it would
dishonor you!” Pacing the room, he continued, shouting at me: “I was thinking all night about whether to
tell you this or not, but I believe it is better that I should tell
you.” Looking directly at me with a dreadful rage, moving his
arms toward me as if he was going to hit me, he added at the top of his
are a wicked woman. A lost woman! Mary Magdalene was a sinner, but you?
You are a seductress with your immorality and indecency! You are a
seductress. I know everything. EVERYTHING! EVEN ABOUT THE VENEZUELAN
NEGRO! YOU ARE ABOMINABLE. YOU HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR BLACKS. First one
and then the other! LEAVE MY PRIESTS ALONE! DO YOU HEAR? LEAVE THEM
ALONE! You’re wicked, Wicked! Indecent! Come on, look at the business
of the Negro! And don’t ask me for my blessing because I don’t intend
to give it to you!”
…he turned around to shout a final insult. “Hear me well! WHORE, SOW…” While
Monsignor Escrivá shouted his insults, I had only two thoughts: One,
that Christ remained silent in the face of accusations; the other, that
God had liberated me…
Note of The
M+G+R Foundation: Are
these the words of a “saint?”
María del Carmen was not permitted to give testimony in
opposition to the beatification of Msgr. Escrivá.
Final COMMENTS by The
Indeed, we must all ask ourselves – Are
these the words of a “saint?” A “saint” adored by power seekers in
should consider itself amply
warned about the Opus Dei and keep very much in mind the Words of The
Only Way, Jesus Christ:
whomever much is
given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him
more will be asked.
Note Added on April 19, 2003:
A kind reader notified us that “Beyond
the Threshold, A Life in Opus Dei”, is now available, in
English, from Amazon.com and also from their Canadian, UK, German, and
French branches. Because of the hidden power of the Opus Dei, we
encourage the reader to acquire Mrs. Tapia’s book before it becomes mysteriously out of print in the
English speaking countries, as it happened in Spain. Detailed
information on the Publisher may be found at the end of this document.
NOTE Added on October 6, 2005:
On October 2002, the The Catholic
(Sydney, Australia), published
what they claimed were statements made by María del Carmen Tapia, in
essence, denying everything that she had written in her book, published
under her authority in both English and Spanish, about Escrivá and Opus
Statements such as “she supports the
canonisation of Opus Dei’s founder and has never doubted the group’s
me, a saint is the person who fulfills and
carries out God’s will to the end of his or her life,» she said. «And
faith was, in my opinion, the most relevant feature in the life of
Mons. Escrivá – his unshakable confidence in God.»”
We thank and Praise God for placing these gems of disinformation in our
hands; as we have said many times, even satan has to serve God! Of
course, for those who do not
eyes to see and ears to hear, Ms. Tapia alleged retraction
will be a vindication for
what they want to believe
. This in turn, using the same
reasoning that Jesus used when explaining to His disciples why He spoke
if parables [Matthew
, will prevent them form conversion since
they do not belong to the Father.
Of course, those who
indeed have eyes to see and ears to hear
, will immediately see
through the disinformation sham and, even if they were temporarily
misled by the false piety of Opus Dei, return to the true Way, Jesus
Christ and His Gospel, and not the falsified “Way” published by Jose
For those who are having difficulty in believing what Ms. Tapia
reported and wish to ascribe it to the “ranting of a hysterical woman”,
there are volumes of supporting and enhancing her revelations from
individuals and clergy of greater stature than Ms. Tapia. Just take a
look at this brief Index
Note Added on January 18, 2023:
As we have recently verified through a simple search in two Internet
search engines, it is now possible to easily locate more than one
international e-store where the title of María del Carmen Tapia is
available. Glory be to God! For the search, you can use the term “Beyond the Threshold, A Life in Opus Dei
By María del Carmen Tapia”. Please note that the ISBN may vary
across different editions.
Copyright 1997 FOR THE EXCERPTS María del Carmen Tapia. All rights
to Main Document
© Copyright 2001 - 2023 FOR THE
NOTES AND COMMENTS by The M+G+R