Cult-Like Reverence for Escriva

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by Former Numerary

I lived in a residence hall in Mexico City thirty something years ago when "el Padre" came to visit Mexico. There was such a frenzy, a cult-like reverence for Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer y Albas. People wanted to touch him, or have any little memento from him. He went to Guadalajara for a visit, and he fell in love with a colonial era painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe that hung in the home of rich benefactors. Much to their dismay, after "el Padre" visited their home, they were informed that he wanted to hang the very image that had been in their family for centuries in his bedroom at Viale Bruno Buozzi in Rome. There were negotiations back and forth. The family resisted. Finally, they were told that "el Padre" had dreamt that he would die contemplating the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They could no longer resist, gave in, and handed the painting over. Except, the painting was part of the historical patrimony of Mexico and could not leave the country. Opus Dei has never had problems being secretive when it will work out for their advantage. I clearly remember that day when Alfonso Monroy and Guillermo Tellez were driven to the Mexico City International Airport with the canvas all rolled up and hidden in their lugagge. They succesfully broke the laws of Mexico. And these two guys were, in my estimation, the nicest men I had ever met in that residence hall. They could not refuse orders...besides, they were doing it for "el Padre".

And then, there's the whole stinking incident of (San) Josemaria rehabilitating a title of nobility that supposedly belonged to his ancestors. He made himself the Marques de Peralta. Tell me, what saints spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make themselves nobles? The outcry was such that he, almost immediately, turned the title over to his brother. "el Padre" is no saint in my book.