Saturday, March 26, 2005

John Allen of National Catholic Reporter interviewed in Newsweek:

A common criticism of Opus Dei is that it appears to be a cliquey and elitist organization. Is it?

There is some truth to that. Your point of departure has to be that this is a group that has been savagely attacked for decades, so there is a tendency for them to feel comfortable with one another than with outsiders. As far as the elitism goes, again I think there's no corporate policy that they want to be elitist. I went to nine countries for this book [and in] every country I would go to—every one—in addition to seeing top officials, Opus Dei would also get me to see a bus driver, barber or a mechanic because they know there is this perception of elitism and they want you to understand that there are also blue-collar people, which is true. But on the other hand I would say that, again, going back to the sociology, inside the Catholic Church, particularly for young practicing Catholics, it's a little bit like the Marines—you know, "the few, the proud." They tend to attract very driven, idealistic, hard-working, smart people, and therefore there probably is an overrepresentation of what you would consider elites inside Opus Dei which is not their fault, I just think it's the reality of what their market is. And frankly, even the bus drivers and barbers I met, these were damn hardworking bus drivers and barbers.

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