Prophetic Questions for the American Catholic Bishops Conference, Part 2

We are questioning the new head bishop of the Catholic Bishops Conference, archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles diocese who has been a member of Opus Dei for decades.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez. Photographer unknown, from

Several years ago, when I went to Germany to pound my 95 theses at the church door in Wittenburg where Luther pounded his 500 years ago, I was told the following story:

Many new skyscrapers were being built in downtown Frankfurt to house the headquarters of finance from Europe because financial headquarters were moving from Switzerland to Germany.  And that “at the top of the skyscrapers” would be all Opus Dei members.  Opus Dei likes to hang out with powerful people including media moguls and top financial dealers in the world. 

Questions for Bishop Gomez: “Do you believe that religious leaders should belong to an organization that favors the manipulators of finance for the already very rich?”  If so, how does that correlate with Pope Francis’ warning about the “idolatry of money” in today’s world?

Pope John Paul II conveniently killed the “devil’s advocate” position for canonizing saints and this eliminated anyone with knowledge of Escriva’s shadow side to speak at his canonization.  Escriva was rushed into canonization faster than any “saint” in history and with lots of cash given under the table to cardinals involved in such decisions. 

Josemaria Escriva’s burial place, under the altar of Our Lady of Peace Chapel at the central headquarters of Opus Dei in Rome. Photo by Eman Bonnici,

Bishop Gomez: Do you believe in buying canonization?  Do you really believe Escriva was a saint?  Are you proud of Opus Dei for the way they rushed their fascist leader into canonization?  Do you know how much money they invested in that process?

Opus Dei is run as a patriarchal dictatorship.  Do you, Bishop Gomez, unlike your founder Escriva, believe in democracy?  If so, how have you put distance between yourself and him? 

Opus Dei is a deeply secretive and patriarchal organization but maybe you can help the American people, Bishop Gomez, to answer this question: Can you tell us how many Opus Dei followers are 1) on the US Supreme Court as this time?  And 2) working in the Trump administration (for example as attorney general perhaps)?

The U.S. Supreme Court building. Photographer unknown; from

Opus Dei prelates in South America very much support right wing and fascist movements and leaders.  Can you guarantee to Americans both Catholic and others that you do not harbor such an agenda as that while you lead the American Conference of Bishops?  

Finally, can you, Bishop Gomez, separate your role as head of the Bishops Conference from your training in an authoritarian theology such as Opus Dei espouses?  Can you reconcile the church in an America struggling to stay true to its democratic principles to your commitment to Opus Dei?  If so, how will you go about that?   

If not, how do you see Jesus in all this (other than in sentimental religious practices and sado-masochistic imagery that serve to cover up issues of justice and injustice with pseudo-piety)?  I mean the Jesus who teaches justice and compassion of course.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, p. 106-124.

See also: “On Desentimentalizing Spirituality” in Matthew Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets, pp. 297-316.

Matthew Fox, A New Reformation.

Banner Image: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, headquarters for the diocese of Los Angeles, under the leadership of Archbishop Jose H. Gomez . Photograph by David Castor on Wikipedia Commons.

For Deeper Contemplation

Meditate deeply on the justice and compassion that Jesus teaches. Let it enter your heart and your head and your ability to look at the news.   

Recommended Reading

The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic christianity. Matthew Fox presents insights from his 12-year, up-close-and-personal battle with Ratzinger, tracing the historical roots of degradation in the Church and offering a new way to understand why Benedict XVI is now mired in crisis as Pope. Fox then outlines his vision for a new Catholicism-one that is not Vatican-based but truly universal, celebrating critical thinking, diversity, and justice.

In one of his foundational works, Fox engages in substantive discussions with some of history’s greatest mystics, philosophers, and prophets on today’s social and spiritual issues on such challenging topics as Eco-Spirituality, AIDS, homosexuality, spiritual feminism, environmental revolution, Native American spirituality, Christian mysticism, Art and Spirituality, Art as Meditation, Interspirituality, and more.

A modern-day theologian’s call for the radical transformation of Christianity that will allow us to move once again from the hollow trappings of organized religion to genuine spirituality. A New Reformation echoes the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 and offers a new vision of Christianity that values the Earth, honors the feminine, and respects science and deep ecumenism.

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8 thoughts on “Prophetic Questions for the American Catholic Bishops Conference, Part 2”

  1. Avatar

    Matthew, this morning I used the link you provided here and read your 2011 article about Opus Dei. I heard of the movie “The Passion of Christ,” which you wrote about; but I chose not to see the movie and never knew the connection to Opus Dei. As I read this article, written so long ago, I am saddened at how much worse the oppression of the commoners has become by the power-hungry. And how much fascism has overtaken democracy in the U.S., as well as in other countries, possibly emboldened by the changes brought about here after the 2016 election. It’s as if those who took power read the numbered characteristics of fascism and used them as a schoolbook. How prescient your article was.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Michele,
      Thank you for continuing to shine a light on this situation by reading Matthew’s article on Opus Dei and sharing the importance of it with the rest of us. Your action, your willingness to look this problem directly in the face is one of the ways we can build a resistance to it. Before we can act, we need to shine light on it and look it in the eye. You have done this on behalf of many.
      Thank you.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear John,
      Thank you so much for writing and for adding in what might have been on many hearts. It is certainly possible that many of us have seen this dynamic love corrupted by power and greed in our own circles. Ugly, indeed.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    to me it sounds and feels like a nationalist group within our democracy. or should I say also in the Roman church. Scary

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