The Aristocracy of the Intelligentsia

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by Mariano Curat, former numerary, United States and Argentina

All of us could write hundreds of pages about our own experiences.

I was a numerary for many years and as we all know very well, they repeated to us so many things in “The Work” (nick name for Opus Dei) that we came to believe were true.

“Numeraries are the aristocracy of the intelligentsia,” and “One of our dominant passions is to give doctrine,” and we went through the streets with our heads up high thinking that we were the only ones who had clear ideas and that the rest were ignorant and didn’t know what they were talking about.

Now when I look back, I realize how arrogant I was.

Always teaching the “true interpretation of the Gospel,” pontificating as if the only true interpretation of Christian doctrine is that which I had learned in “The Work.”

What a hard shock reality was when I left “The Work!”

“Aristocracy of the intelligentsia!” How they lied to me!

I had lived for ten years with people as ignorant as I was, so that I never noticed my lack of culture in such an obvious way.

Even though I had a university career, I didn’t realize how ignorant I was.

Theoretically, the numeraries are “everyday Christians” who live their lives like everyone else, but when I left “The Work” my new friends looked at me as if I were crazy.

I never read essential books because they were prohibited. (See Index of Forbidden Books.) I never had the opportunity to appreciate the theater, the opera and concerts because I could not attend public spectacles. And there were hundreds of movies and documentaries that I never had access to.

I could not begin conversations with anyone because I didn’t have anything to talk about.

As you can imagine, my first years out of “The Work” were marvelous. It was like I was being reborn, a Renaissance of my personality.

I could not stop reading books; I learned to enjoy the theatre, opera and concerts. The movies opened my mind to new cultures and religions.

The best was that I learned to respect and treat people in another manner. This petulant arrogance and that yearning to be the owner of truth remained forgotten.

Now, I only know that I don’t know anything. Now when I am talking with someone I enjoy the conversation and I am happy to learn something new that I didn’t already know.