The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Opus Dei: Vatican's Mafia

January 19, 2005, 10:04 pm

N.S. Rajaram

Hand behind the coup

Anyone following the brazen attack on the Kanchi Mutt and the relentless witch hunt against its leaders and officials cannot be in doubt that it must have a powerful organization directing its every move. It is no coincidence that these attacks, which were little more than pinpricks when the NDA government was in power, have become suddenly bold and open once the UPA came to power with Sonia Gandhi as the power behind the Government.

Two developments have brought a sense of urgency to the conspiracy or campaign behind this assault on the nation: (1) the rapidly eroding base of the Congress, especially in North India, with the natural implication that the ‘Dynasty’ will have difficulty holding on to power for any length of time by strictly constitutional means; and (2) the growing fear in Europe, especially in Italy, that Christendom is losing the civilizational war against Islam. The survival of Christianity is at stake.

The first is dynastic while the second is geopolitical. Rapid changes in national and international politics and a creeping sense of fear bordering on paranoia have led to an unholy alliance between anti-national forces in India and Christian organizations of the world hoping to use India’s vast resources in Europe’s and Christianity's desperate struggle for survival in the West. The Vatican’s mafia

The country most vulnerable to the Islamic invasion of Europe is Italy. The institution that is at the greatest risk is the Vatican, seen the world over as the seat of Christianity though in religious matters, many Christians do not accept its leadership. But financially and organizationally, it is unmatched by any other Christian sect. Most importantly, the Vatican has an intelligence apparatus and a network of agents all over the world that non-Catholic denominations lack. Also, the Vatican’s patronage of this machinery ensures complete secrecy since the Vatican is probably the world’s most secretive organization and a sovereign state to boot.

This intelligence organization is the sinister but little known Opus Dei. The Time magazine recently had a feature on it, but the Indian media, a good part of it under the influence of the Opus Dei, has maintained complete silence over its activities and even its very existence.

What is this mysterious organization that carries out operations that would put the CIA to shame in the name of God and Christ? (Opus Dei in Latin means the work of God.)

Opus Dei was founded shortly before the Spanish Civil War by a Spanish adventurer and Christian fanatic by name Jose Maria Escriva de Belaguer. Born in the sleepy town of Barbastro, he rose by the dint of his determination, industry and ruthlessness to be the virtual dictator of the Vatican, and came to be known as the ‘Super Pope.’

This was no idle boast. In 1978, Albino Luciani was elected Pope as John Paul I. He threatened to change the Vatican with his reforms, but died within a month of assuming office under mysterious circumstances— without an autopsy or even a death certificate. This led to the election of the reactionary Karol Woztyla, better known as Pope John Paul II. And he showed his gratitude by rushing the Opus Die founder Excriva’s nomination to sainthood in record time, though Mother Teresa’s name still languishes.

With more than 100,000 members worldwide and more than a million activists, the Opus Die that Escriva founded now controls the Catholic Church and many other Christian and secular organizations. The Vatican regards Escriva as “God’s gift to the Church in our time.” When Escriva died in 1975, its officials openly boasted: “In 20 or 30 years, all that remains of the Church will be Opus Dei.” This has proven remarkably prophetic.

The Opus Dei agenda at the time was to combine economic and political control with thought control. It believes that the first two cannot be achieved without the third. And here is where conversion, especially in India comes into play. With Europeans unwilling to lay down their lives to defend Christianity, much less the Vatican, Christian organizations and nominally Christian nations of Europe have cast their covetous eyes on India with its vast manpower and material resources. This is now made all the more urgent by the Islamic threat to Europe from within and without, and by the fact as the Pope has himself admitted: “Christianity has lost the West.” This realization has made some non-Catholic churches (like the evangelical outfits) to join in the rush for gaining converts in India.

Europe, especially the Vatican, would like nothing better than a Musharraf-like puppet in India, willing to place India’s resources, especially its vast manpower, in the service of defending Europe against Islam.

Crusade driven by paranoia

The vision of the Opus Dei founder Escriva was spelled out by an internal document in the following words: “The labor of placing Jesus [i.e., the Christianity] at the summit of human activity throughout the world.” This now sounds like a pipedream, with Christianity itself struggling for survival in Europe, and with Islamic warriors in Kosovo less than a hundred miles from Trieste on the Italian border. By breaking up Yugoslavia, the Western powers virtually cut their own throats, by destroying the buffer state that had protected Europe for nearly a century.

The situation today is different. Christianity, much less the Vatican no longer sees Christianity triumphing in the world. The concern today is over survival. Here is Vatican’s nightmare vision. In the first millennium, Christianity lost Jerusalem to the Arabs. In the second millennium, in 1453, Constantinople fell to the Islamic warriors of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II; the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire disappeared from the map. Now, with Islamic warriors poised in Kosovo, waiting to make the short leap to Italy, Christianity may next lose Rome itself.

Probably this is what the Pope had in mind when he said that the third millennium would see Christianity in Asia. It also may be read to mean that he sees Christianity disappearing from Europe. This is not helped by the fact that Italy is not known for the heroism of its soldiers as many Indian veterans who fought against Mussolini’s army will attest. (Roman pickpockets are a greater menace than the Italian army.) This nightmare scenario is reflected in Opus Dei sources. Participants at an Opus Dei seminar in Barcelona concluded: “A parallel exists between the present situation in the Occident [West] and the fall of the Roman Empire.” A leading Canadian expert on Opus Dei observed: “Now this was an alarmist, not to say scare-mongering conclusion. But it was perfectly in line with the Opus Dei’s use of the psychology of fear.” The point is not whether this doomsday scenario is valid, but the undeniable fact that the Opus Dei (and the Vatican) is driven by this fear. To make matters worse, many Islamic leaders also believe that Rome, and even Europe, is theirs for the taking and all they have to do is mount a determined assault. They point out that they defeated one superpower — the Soviet Union — and are now on the verge of defeating America— or so they believe. Europe they feel will be a pushover.

Cyber-crusade

In view of the Vatican’s inability to mount a military offensive against encroaching Islam, it has resorted to cunning and subterfuge— something at which it has always excelled. Opus Dei is now at the forefront of what it calls “cyber-crusade.” The idea is to use its propaganda muscle and subversion of state institutions in countries like India to gain converts for defending Christianity. Its principal assault is on higher education and the media.

Opus Dei has set up several universities and research institutions with names like the Institution for Human Sciences in Vienna, University of Human Rights in Geneva, the Weatherford Foundation for African Students in New York and many others. It even attempted to set up a college in Oxford but was thwarted. As early as 1979, an Opus Dei memorandum stated:
“Members of Opus Dei already work in the following professional enterprises… 479 universities and institutes of higher learning in five continents; 604 newspapers, magazines and scientific publications; 52 radio and television stations; 38 news and publicity agencies; 12 film production and distribution companies…”
Today, 25 years later, it is at least twice as extensive. And the list does not include individuals journalists and scholars who work for Opus Dei in institutions not owned by it (and also NGOs). It is a virtual certainty that Opus Dei has significant presence in India. As recently as 1993, Opus Dei opened a new center in India headed by a Spanish wool merchant— or so he claimed. A decade before him, the cultural attaché at the Italian Embassy in Delhi was rumored to be in the pay of Opus Dei. (He was later removed for running an antique smuggling racket under diplomatic cover.)

More than forty years ago, the Indian-Spanish theologian Raimundo Panikkar came to India armed with a scholarship from the National Science and Research Council (NSRC)— an Opus Dei front. Has anyone looked at the possibility that some Indian foundations might also be fronting for Opus Dei activities— like the Heritage Foundation of Washington?

What has all this got to do with the assault on Kanchi Mutt? Subramanian Swamy and several others have charged that it is part of an international conspiracy and a threat to national security. If such is the case, it cannot possibly be the handiwork of just a few adventurers and politicians. Opus Dei is one of the few organizations with the resources and the motive. Its plan calls for fighting Islam to the last Indian.

This is what India is really up against. The Kanchi Mutt case is just the tip of the iceberg.

Reference Their Kingdom Come: Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei (1997) by Robert Hutchison. London: Corgi Books

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