Some people are uncomfortable hearing about Opus Dei and prefer to contemplate more peaceful matters.  I understand that, but true spirituality both celebrates the beautiful and blows the whistle on what is evil.

Pope Francis and President Biden meeting at the White House. Pope Francis has called the President “a good Catholic.” Photo by David Lienemann on Wikimedia Commons.

Opus Dei is the elephant in the room wherever current Roman Catholic bishops of America gather.  Their chosen leader is committed to Opus Dei, trained in their so-called theology and “spirituality,” as he has told us. 

Archbishop Gomez and many of his bishops had to be talked off the ledge of forbidding Catholic politicians like Biden and Pelosi to take communion because they support Roe vs Wade and therefore support NOT LETTING MEN (like the bishops) tell women what to do with their bodies.  Of making Roe vs Wade the ONE issue of their moral teachings, thus “putting their entire theology into a condom,” as Pope Francis once put it.  Many are salivating over what the Supreme Court currently assembled might do to abolish the rights of women to control their own bodies.

If Opus Dei is the elephant in the room when bishops gather, Fascism is the elephant in the room when Opus Dei gathers. This cannot be denied.  It is thoroughly patriarchal and sexist. 

Representative John Lewis’ call to prophetic action, played at his memorial in the Capitol rotunda. Video by NowThis News.

Escriva was a fascist who stood with fascist dictator Franco for years.  He was also an admirer of Hitler according to a person who knew him well; and he was so opposed to Vatican II with its endorsement of ecumenism among other things that he seriously contemplated leaving the Roman Catholic church. 

No one in the American press seems to want to talk about these truths—they seem to want to run from what John Lewis calls “good trouble,” which is to say, our prophetic vocations.  Journalists—and all of us– have a prophetic vocation, don’t we?  

A prophetic vocation includes: Blowing the whistle.  Telling the truth.  Speaking truth to power.  Willing to take the hits (like Jesus did) for doing that.

See Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and What Can Be Saved, pp. ix-xii, 106-124. 

And Matthew Fox, “Prayer as Radically Social: Prophecy (Uprooting)” in Prayer: A Radical Response to Life, pp. 97-116;

Also see Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 250-306.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Archbishop José H Gomez processing at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles. Photo by Thank You (21 Millions+) on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

What prophetic calls have you responded to in your life?  What such calls are you responding to today?  What have you learned from these calls and responses?  Is it your experience that “good trouble” can be a good thing?

Recommended Reading

The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved

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.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.”   — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II

Prayer: A Radical Response to Life
How do prayer and mysticism relate to the struggle for social and ecological justice? Fox defines prayer as a radical response to life that includes our “Yes” to life (mysticism) and our “No” to forces that combat life (prophecy). How do we define adult prayer? And how—if at all—do prayer and mysticism relate to the struggle for social and ecological justice? One of Matthew Fox’s earliest books, originally published under the title On Becoming a Musical, Mystical Bear: Spirituality American StylePrayer introduces a mystical/prophetic spirituality and a mature conception of how to pray. Called a “classic” when it first appeared, it lays out the difference between the creation spirituality tradition and the fall/redemption tradition that has so dominated Western theology since Augustine. A practical and theoretical book, it lays the groundwork for Fox’s later works.
“One of the finest books I have read on contemporary spirituality.” – Rabbi Sholom A. Singer

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13 thoughts on “Apologia For Naming the Elephants in the Room”

  1. Avatar

    Beloved Matthew I am moved by todays’s post to reach out and say hello and to THANK YOU for your warmth and passion and wholesome anger. You have been such an inspiration to me for many years – I heard you speak at Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge (UK) in 1987 when I was a fresh undergraduate. Your book Radical Prayer is on loop in my Audible library (I love those Life-loving rye plants and water melons you speak of ?!!) and your Daily Meditations lift me.
    I am a Sufi-Quaker, Zero Balancing therapist, and in training as a Conciliation and Peace-building worker. I am a happy wife, mother and grandmother with my family all close by. Your beautiful work ripples through our family. May Life in all its wondrous forms and by all its wondrous names bless you, dear soul. In Loving Friendship, Helen

    Helen Taylor

  2. Avatar

    Mathew, I very much appreciate your honest, open vulnerability within today’s DM, and how you have chosen to set the platform for the difficult and yet necessary discussions regarding the prophets journey guided by the mystics wisdom. It’s not an easy road, but rather a narrow path that few respond to walk on.

    One of the things that I have learnt in responding to this call, is that you will experience the words Jesus spoke, which I have paraphrased, which is “be prepared to lose your life… for the sake of finding that which is true life.” Other words of Jesus come to mind, which I am also paraphrasing, words like, “Do you not know that no one has the power to take my life away, but that I choose to lay it down. Know that like me, you will be persecuted, condemned and crucified, yet fear not, for I have overcome death.. to birth forth new life.”

    That’s what it all comes down to really, the willingness to lay one’s life down, knowing that this a conscious choice and that this choice will involve pain, suffering and sorrow… and yet we are not to be fearful of this reality, nor this inevitability of death, which is apart of life… for all of it is but a fleeting, temporary moment that passes into new life, life eternal. How many of us really choose to live that kind of fearlessness, for the sake of bearing forth and birthing the light, the truth and the way of Divine Love?

    When you look to the long history of those who have chosen to do so, those like Jesus and the Apostles, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, we question did it really make a difference… has it changed anything… was it worth it, or was it all in vain? Is our faith and trust in the things hoped for… though not yet, enough to sustain us?

    When I ponder these questions, I imagine how much darker this world would probably and inevitably be, if there wasn’t or isn’t those whom say “YES,” in response to being and living out the prophetic call, the narrow path of the mystics, the healers, the peacemakers, the justice warriors… all those guided by the light, truth and wisdom ways of Divine Love and all the everlasting virtues and eternal values of this. We must not hide this, as Mathew has spoken of… for it not only exposes what lies in the shadows and darkness, but this exposure awakens humanity from the atrophy of its apathy.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you for your comments today. In referring to today’s DM you say, “what it all comes down to really, the willingness to lay one’s life down, knowing that this a conscious choice and that this choice will involve pain, suffering and sorrow… and yet we are not to be fearful of this reality, nor this inevitability of death, which is apart of life…” And this is clearly what Jesus taught. And so you continue by saying, “When you look to the long history of those who have chosen to do so, those like Jesus and the Apostles, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, we question did it really make a difference… has it changed anything… was it worth it, or was it all in vain?” That answers to this are Yes it made a difference and No their labor was not in vain. They really did change things in the world. The world has never been the same since Jesus and the apostles lived and spoke out prophetically in this world, and Gandhi ended up helping India gain their independence from England, and Martin Luther King, Jr. made the civil rights movement make real change in our country in terms of race relations. All mystic-prophets who changed the world!

  3. Avatar

    Rev. Fox:
    I would like to thank you for blowing the whistle on Opus Dei’s fascist tendencies. I knew this organization much earlier in life and saw things that troubled me then, but your book is filling in a lot of blanks for me. I’m so grateful Pope Francis came along, but he’s clearly faced with an “American problem” that’s coming home to roost in the Court as we speak. I did some research on Mussolini’s “Battle of the Births” — it’s kind of a useful addendum to this discussion. Thanks again for everything,
    Raye R

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Raye, Thank you for your comments on Opus Dei and your positive vote for Pope Francis–I know that Matthew and I are on the same page with you on this issue!

  4. Avatar

    The “troubles” with religion in general, including as Dallas Willard said, “Non-transformation is the elephant in the sanctuary.” He also said, “We become like Christ in following him in the overall style of life he chose for himself.”—humble, submissive child of God.

  5. Avatar

    Dear Matthew. I hope in future essays you will tell us more about the dangerous beliefs of Opus Dei, including which of our Supreme Court justices are members of it. Not being a Catholic, I don’t know much about it. Thank you.

  6. Avatar

    I also celebrate Matthew and the troupe of mystic warriors he has brought to our attention. I was concerned about Opus Dei when it first appeared decades ago. I appreciate learning of Pope Francis’s comment that Opus Dei has put “their entire theology into a condom”. Is this statement a quote from a speech or an interview? I wonder if the radical pro life initiates are also pro gun. Yesterday’s teenage boy’s mindless / soulless slaughter in a Michigan high school seems to make it clear that the only life he values is his own. The USA is a gun culture. A relatively recent statistic shows that the USA sells more weapons worldwide than all other countries combined.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Gwen, The quote by Pope Francis is a great one–I hope its for real! And you’re right, the USA is a gun culture, and I am ashamed about that for the sake of our country and what it says about us to the world 🙁

  7. Avatar

    Thank you for your courageous witnessing to the truth. Someone said that the task of religion is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, or something like that. There is a huge cost to speaking the truth to power. I am also scandalized that Opus Dei is not being revealed for what it truly is. You may be aware of the Protestant threat revealed in the Netflix documentary, “The Family” from a few years ago. It has been growing and operating since the 1930’s, and, of course, has been strengthened by certain administrations, but tolerated by all. It is responsible for the White House prayer breakfasts, which have nothing to do with prayer and everything to do with political power. The media should be exposing both these threats. Thank you again for taking on that burden and making good trouble. During this advent season, as always, we need to see the whole of reality, the shadow with the light.

  8. Avatar

    We are entertainment junkies. We demand that everyone entertain us. We want our co-workers to brighten our day. We want our politicians to make us laugh. We even expect our prophets to make us smile.
    If we ask, “how are you,?” your answer had better make us feel good. Lie, if you must, or just shut up, but don’t burden us with your problems.
    If you make us uncomfortable,
    we will “other” you.
    We will erase you.
    Your pain will not be heard.
    Your needs will not be funded.
    Your suicide will not be prevented
    because you’re no fun.

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