Receiving increased support from the Vatican since the late 1970s, the organization has grown to more than 85,000 members in more than 80 countries. In 1950 the Vatican recognized it as a secular institute; in 1982 it was given the status of
personal prelature. Its membership is now, therefore, considered a separate diocese with its own bishop.
Believing that a Catholic can lead a holy life without taking religious vows, lay members pledge to serve God in worldly vocations; roughly a third of the members live communally and celibately in Opus Dei centers. The movement seeks to promote traditional Catholic values and teaching and to oppose liberalism and immorality, and is noted for its emphasis on preaching to government officials, professionals, intellectuals, and business executives. Opus Dei has been controversial among some Catholics because of its secretive nature, its emphasis on discipline, its conservatism, and its historical association with the Franco regime in Spain. This controversy became pronounced in 1992 when the Vatican, under John Paul II, beatified Escrivá; Escrivá was canonized in 2002.
See M. del C. Tapia, Beyond the Threshold (1997); J. L. Allen, Opus Dei (2005).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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