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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Hans Urs von Balthasar and Opus Dei

I see that the movie about the founder of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá, is soon to come out. As I mentioned in my past post about the movie, I don't care for Escrivá and have my doubts about the movie: I'm curious how they're going to portray the Spanish Civil War, Franco, and Escrivá's support of him.

As I was reading more about Escrivá, I came across something I didn't know before - Hans Urs von Balthasar didn't especially care for him either, or at least not for his spirituality. According to John L. Allen, Jr. in his book, Opus Dei: an Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church (p. 64) ......

Hans Urs von Balthasar, the Swiss theologian who inspired the Communio movement in Catholic theology and who has become a favored source for the Church’s conservative wing, wrote in 1963 that he felt [Escrivá's book] The Way provided an “insufficient spirituality” to support a worldwide religious organization. In 1979, von Balthasar wrote to a Swiss newspaper that had cited him in a negative article about Opus Dei, stipulating that he had indeed expressed reservations about The Way, but this did not justify an attack on Opus Dei tout court. Still, he did not soften his critique of The Way. In 1984 the Swiss TV service for the German language interviewed von Balthasar at his home in Basel. A journalist reminded von Balthasar that he had once defined The Way as a “little manual for Boy Scouts at the upper level.” Von Balthasar responded, “I would still hold to that position today.”

According to Wikipedia, von Balthasar discussed Opus Dei in an article entitled "Fundamentalism," describing it as "a concentration of fundamentalist power in the Church." (article in Wort und Wahrheit, 1963). I'd be interested, if anyone comes upon the article, to hear what he had to say in more depth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can find that piece from U.v. Balthasar probably in

2:40 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks Anonymous :)

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:57 AM  

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