Alleged Independence and Influence Within The Roman Catholic Church
Concerning the group's role in the Roman Catholic Church, critics have argued that Opus Dei's unique status as a personal prelature gives it too much independence. According to critics, elevating Opus Dei to the status of a personal prelature allows its members to "go about their business almost untouched by criticism or oversight by bishops". According to critics, Opus Dei has such a level of autonomy that it has become essentially a "church within a church".
Roman Catholic officials say that church authorities have even greater control of Opus Dei now that its head is a prelate appointed by the Pope and they argue members are "even more conscious of belonging to the Church". They point to canon law which states that Opus Dei members remain under "jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop in what the law lays down for all the ordinary ". Similarly, they point out that Opus Dei must obtain permission from the local bishop before establishing an Opus Dei center within the diocese.
Some critics claim that Opus Dei exerts a disproportionately large influence within the Roman Catholic Church itself. They point to the unusually hasty (and otherwise irregular) process in which Escriva was canonized. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been vocal supporters of Opus Dei, and the former head of the Vatican press office was a member of Opus Dei. An Opus Dei spokesman says "the influence of Opus Dei in the has been exaggerated." Of the nearly 200 cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, only two are known to be members of Opus Dei. Similarly, of the nearly 4000 bishops, only 20 are known to be members of Opus Dei.
John L. Allen, Jr. said that Escriva's relatively quick canonization does not have anything to do with power but with improvements in procedures and John Paul II's decision to make Escriva's sanctity and message known. (see Opus Dei and politics)
Read more about this topic: Controversies About Opus Dei
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