Mon May 08, 2006 at 07:23:20 AM EST
"INTRODUCTION: In light of the attention over the release of Ron Howard's film The DaVinci Code, the ultra-conservative group Opus Dei has become a subject of much discussion. Some of it is accurate, some is not.
I am a Church-going Roman Catholic, an attorney, and an advocate for embryonic stem-cell research. Over the past five years I have continually run into "Catholic" opposition that I ultimately found to be fueled by Opus Dei members or its sympathizers. As a progressive minded member, my Church heroes are Monsignor John A. Ryan, Dorothy Day and Pope John XXIII. To a great extent, the current Catholic Right seeks to undo much of their good work. I believe it is time that the belief and methods of Opus Dei and the broader Catholic Right be exposed. As for the aforementioned inaccuracies in The DaVinci Code, I worry that Opus Dei and other socially conservative groups that rely on Catholic identity to further an agenda may use them as a shield for deflection from more concerns that can adversely affect our pluralistic democracy.
The following is the first installment on a four part series on the Catholic Right. The opening piece is intended to be an introduction to American Catholic thought and how it is relevant to the contemporary Catholic Right.