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Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 3492
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10/11/2005 03:51 PM
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Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification
I am reading "The DaVinci Code" and the author brings up the Catholic group called Opus Dei and describes the groupīs practice of "corporal mortification". I had never heard of this group or its practices, so I Googled to learn more.

Wow. Iīm not a bible scholar, but I donīt remember anything within the story of Jesus that would sanction this sort of thing. I understand Jesus suffered, but I donīt recall Jesus saying people should practice self-abuse and all the other stuff.

Hereīs a synopsis of corporal mortification, check out the quotes from the founder at the end of the piece:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Corporal mortification is regularly practiced in Opus Dei. It is perhaps one of the most startling aspects of Opus Dei life for people outside the group. Many of the practices of corporal mortification were at one time more regularly practiced within the Church; however, due to modern psychology and thinking, the practices which inflict pain are sometimes considered to be counterproductive to oneīs spiritual development, as they can easily lead to pride and an unhealthy attitude toward oneīs body.

Some acts of corporal mortification may be helpful in checking the desires of the flesh, such as fasting. However, in Opus Dei, especially for the numerary (celibate) members, all of the practices mentioned below are mandatory if one wishes to live the "Spirit of Opus Dei" fully. The "Spirit of Opus Dei" is the standard of living, as outlined by the Opus Dei directors, for which all truly dedicated Opus Dei members strive. Under the umbrella of the "Spirit of Opus Dei" hide many of the abuses in Opus Dei. The subtle control to conform to the norm is typical in groups which practice mind control; members are "guilted" into conforming, feeling that they must in order to follow "Godīs will" as it is outlined by the controlling group.

Listed below are the ways Opus Dei numeraries practice corporal mortification:

* Cilice: [Photo of cilice] a spiked chain worn around the upper thigh for two hours each day, except for Church feast days, Sundays, and certain times of the year. This is perhaps the most shocking of the corporal mortifications, and generally Opus Dei members are extremely hesitant to admit that they use them. It is a painful mortification which leaves small prick holes in the flesh, and makes the Opus Dei members tentative about wearing swim suits wherever non-Opus Dei members may be.
* Discipline : [Photo of discipline] a cord-like whip which resembles macrame, used on the buttocks or back once a week. Opus Dei members must ask permission to use it more often, which many do. The story is often told in Opus Dei that the Founder was so zealous in using the discipline, he splattered the bathroom walls with streaks of blood.
* Cold Showers : Most numeraries take cold showers every day and offer it up for the intentions of the current Prelate.
* Meals : Numeraries generally practice one small corporal mortification at every meal, such as drinking coffee without milk or sugar, not buttering oneīs toast, skipping dessert, not taking seconds, etc. For the most part, eating between meals is not practiced. Opus Dei members fast on the Churchīs prescribed days for fasting, but otherwise must ask for permission to fast on their own.
* The Heroic Minute : Numeraries are encouraged to jump out of bed and kiss the floor as soon as the door is knocked in the morning. As they kiss, they say "Serviam," Latin for "I will serve."
* Silences : Each night after making an examination of conscience, numeraries do not speak to one another until after Holy Mass the following morning. (They do not say "Good morning" to anyone as they are getting ready.) In the afternoons, they try to avoid speaking until dinnertime. On Sundays, numeraries generally do not listen to music, especially in the afternoons.

Some forms of corporal mortification differ according to your gender, as the following table shows:

Female Numeraries
-Sleep on boards laid on top of the mattress.
-Sleep without a pillow once a week.
-May not smoke or enter a bar.
-The Founder believed that women had passions that required more discipline to tame.

Male Numeraries
-Sleep on the floor once a week.
-Sleep without a pillow once a week.
-Allowed to smoke and go to bars with recruits, for the purpose of drawing them closer to Opus Dei.

A former numerary wrote to comment on Opus Deiīs corporal mortifications:

"The cilice and disciplines are so foreign to the experience of most people, that they just conclude that Opus Dei is very odd for mandating them. That is true as far as it goes, but there is a more important point to be made. Because of the dangers of masochism, the traditional Catholic teaching on this sort of mortification is that it be done under obedience to a spiritual director. Such supervision in fact exists in Opus Dei, although often authority is entrusted to people who lack requisite maturity and prudence. The real point is that even if the cilice and the discipline are acceptable forms of penance, their use shows that Opus Dei members are NOT ordinary people, are not free agents."


Relevant Quotes from the writings of Opus Dei Founder, Josemaria Escriva

"Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain. . . Glorified be pain!" (The Way, 208)

"No ideal becomes a reality without sacrifice. Deny yourself. It is so beautiful to be a victim!" (The Way, 175)

"Obey with your lips, your heart and your mind. It is not a man who is being obeyed, but God." (Furrow, maxim 374)

"And be watchful, for a spark is much easier to extinguish than a fire. Take flight, for in this it is low cowardice to be "brave"; a roving eye does not mean a lively spirit, but turns out to be a snare of satan. Yet human diligence, with mortification, the cilice, disciplines and fasting are all worthless without you, my God." (Furrow, 834)

"They [Opus Dei numeraries] shall maintain the pious custom, for the purpose of chastising the body and reducing it to servitude, of wearing a small cilice for at least two hours daily; once a week they shall take the disciplines as well as sleeping on the floor, providing that health is not affected." (Opus Dei Constituciones, article 147)

"To defend his purity, St. Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, St. Benedict threw himself into a thornbush, St. Bernard plunged into an icy pond... You... what have you done?" (The Way, 143)

"What has been lost through the flesh, the flesh should pay back: be generous in your penance." (The Forge, 207)

"If you realize that your body is your enemy, and an enemy of Godīs glory since it is an enemy of your sanctification, why do you treat it so softly?" (The Way, 227)

"Your worst enemy is yourself." (The Way, 225)

"You have come to the apostolate to submit, to annihilate yourself, not to impose your own personal viewpoints." (The Way, 936)

[link to www.odan.org]
Old-fashioned Catholic

User ID: 27789
United States
10/11/2005 04:12 PM
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Re: Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification
Opus Dei is composed of two parts which are quite different. One part, for married people, is more or less like a suped-up Knights of Columbus or PromiseKeepers. The other part, for celibate people, is essentially a strict religious order in every way except the legal documents. This is the primary deception that Opus Dei practices: It tells unmarried people that the organization is merely a secular institute, which it technically is under Church law; but for all practical purposes, it functions as a strict religious order, as ordinary Catholics use the term. Unmarried people should know what they are buying into when they join.

As the OP described, corporal mortification in general can take many forms. Some, like the occasional forgoing of sugars and fats, are probably a good idea for most of us! Others, like the cilice and discipline, were common in medieval times as a form of voluntary suffering; but today, sensible people see these as potentially morally harmful, because they unnecessarily focus the user´s attention on his own physical body rather than on God´s glory or the needs of his fellow human. To be fair, athletes and soldiers often engage in strenuous, self-punishing activities also; but they generally do so with the specific goal of strengthening and toughening the body for specific purposes, not simply the goal of causing oneself suffering. In the Catholic Church, engaging in an activity necessary for Godīs glory or the common good, but which punishes the body as a side-effect, may be very praiseworthy; but directly punishing the body without engaging in any useful work can be an occasion of sin--at the very least, a form of sloth (laziness).

Ironically, perhaps the greatest danger of Opus Dei is that it is hierarchical rather than democratic. Ancient saintly monks realized that in a religious community, the best way to prevent self-sacrifice from getting out of hand was to elect the abbot or abbess democratically. Once these communities became international networks, they again representationally elected higher levels of superiors; and this practice continues to this day in the well-known religious orders like the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits. In contrast, Opus Dei is headed autocratically by a bishop appointed by the Pope (as far as I know). This strict hierarchy, together with the traditional monastic vow of obedience, makes it too easy for an aberrant leader to hijack Opus Dei for personal agendas that are not in its official charter.
JayRodney

User ID: 409
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10/11/2005 04:19 PM
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Re: Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification
Opus Dei is mis dir ect ion find something on Orme Dei if you really have the stomach...Itīs a very well hidden cult with roots back to ancient Rome.
They havnt gone away either.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 3492
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10/11/2005 04:20 PM
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Re: Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification
Hmmm, reading more about this. I must be naive; I didnīt know that pain and suffering was so cherished by some. I understood people fasted, but I guess I didnīt understand how deep the reverence for pain went or how much the body is reviled.

I donīt get it. I always viewed this life as a gift from God -- and our bodies as a gift. I understand self-denial in some respects -- but why go so far as to totally trash this gift God gave?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 2380
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10/11/2005 04:20 PM
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Re: Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification
sounds strange
JayRodney

User ID: 409
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10/11/2005 04:25 PM
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Re: Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification
What if say one arm of the church causes people to become possessed, while the other hand offers the cure of exorcism?
Think about this when dealing with Orme Dei, as well as Opus Dei...most dont realize there is a ritual aspect to the Deis M.O.
Biff

User ID: 28519
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10/11/2005 04:26 PM
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Re: Opus Dei: Corporal Mortification
[link to www.ceder.net]

Circle left
You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldnīt hurt at all
Now the men star right one time around tonight
Allemande left that corner, weave the ring
Yes, you always hurt the one you love
Swing your lady, promenade the ring
Darlinī if I broke your heart last night
Itīs because I love you most of all


FIGURE

Well the heads promenade your lady halfway around the ring
Down the middle do a right & left thru, take her home
Flutter wheel and then sweep 1/4 more
Pass thru and do a right & left thru
Touch 1/4 now, walk & dodge and partner trade
Reverse the flutter, boys keep this girl and promenade
Yes, you always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldnīt hurt at all

*Wtfīs wrong with these people?? No wonder you have mickies doing all these strange sex things and murders.



lol

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