"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
So there he is, then; up there with Christina the Astonishing, who flew out of her coffin and perched in the rafters of the church during her funeral, and Walstan of Bawburgh, princely pauper and patron of severed private parts: Monsignor Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of the secretive and ultra-conservative movement Opus Dei, is a saint. No one claiming to be a Catholic can deny it: the Pope declared it publicly in St Peter’s Square last Sunday. But not all Catholics share the happiness of the 300,000 people who were present, or the delight of the movement’s 84,000 members worldwide. Some see Opus Dei as sinister, and consider it a cynically manipulative cult.
My own experience doesn’t lead me quite to that conclusion, but I have no plans to put a prayer card with Escriva’s picture on it in my missal. He’s not my kind of hero. There are too many stories about his bad temper and bullying to make me warm to him, and too many of his admirers are fanatics, albeit with the best intentions. It is claimed, for example, that he once completely lost it when told that a senior female member had broken the rules by putting uncensored letters in the post. ‘Draw up her skirts, tear down her panties and beat her on the bum!’ he is said to have shouted. ‘On the bum! Until she talks. Make her talk!’ The tribunal that weighed up his sanctity was not told that story because the woman who aroused his anger and several other prominent critics of Escriva weren’t invited to give evidence.More