Real news flash: Globe defends Opus Dei

  • September 11, 2008

I almost spilled my morning coffee all over my desk this morning as I turned to the Globe and Mail's editorial page. There before my eyes was an editorial defending Opus Dei. I had to read it twice, and pinch myself, to prove this wasn't a dream.

The Sept. 11 editorial, titled Opus Dei-bashing, took aim at Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe for his attempt to trash a Montreal-area Conservative candidate on the basis that she belonged to the "secretive" Catholic organization.

A few days earlier, Duceppe had criticized Nicole Charbonneau Barron, Conservative candidate for the riding of St. Bruno-St. Hubert, because she is a member of Opus Dei. He claimed that the organization was "a rather secret society," with an ideology that "doesn't correspond at all to the modern times in Quebec."

It is true that Charbonneau Barron is a known spokesperson for Opus Dei in the Montreal area, having defended the organization during all the controversy over the nasty and false depiction of the organization found in The Da Vinci Code, novel and movie. It is also true that Opus Dei members do not boast about their membership or their work in the organization, believing that they are called by God to serve Him without self-aggrandizement. Some argue that this is "secretive."

There has been much said, both good and bad, about Opus Dei within Catholic circles over the years. In the last decade, however, it has been clear that it has been working hard to polish its image as a traditional and devotional Catholic organization.

That Opus Dei's beliefs and practices do not "correspond at all to the modern times in Quebec" comes as no surprise. If supporting gay marriage, believing in untrammelled access to abortion, accepting every possible conjugal relationship as the moral equivalent of marriage and denouncing the Catholic Church at every opportunity is what it takes to be in sync with Quebec's "modern times," then, yes, Opus Dei doesn't fit in. But then, neither does Catholic Church. And so far, no one, not even Duceppe, has argued that Catholics can't run for political office.

But back to the Globe and Mail. It is not known for its support of the Catholic Church, to put it mildly. Let's just say the two institutions are generally at odds on most everything. But at least on one thing — religious freedom — they appear to agree.

The Globe rightly points out that Duceppe's remark "smacks of religious intolerance." It goes on to say that if Duceppe "made such intermperate remarks about a candidate with, say, Muslim, Hindu or Sikh religious beliefs, he would be dismissed as a racist or a crank and hauled up before a human rights commission. So why should he get away with scare-mongering in this case?"

Why indeed? Bully for the Globe. We will now watch for its editorial supporting Catholic Insight in its battle against the said human rights commission.

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