“Bad Spirit” invited to the Vatican

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by digby

So the Catholic hierarchy decided it needs some professional PR help, what with all the bad press it’s had what with the pedophilia, nun-hating and other throwback policies and the like. Adele Stan reports that they’ve decided to hire a professional:

This weekend the Vatican announced its hire of Fox News correspondent Greg Burke for the newly created role of communications strategist…

Burke’s authoritarian bona fides hardly end with Fox News. He’s also a member of Opus Dei, the secretive, misogynist, elitist Catholic cult embraced by the late Pope John Paul II. And he’s not just a member, he’s a special member — a “numerary,” a position described by the Religion News Service as “a celibate layman who lives at an Opus Dei center…” The Opus Dei domicile at which Burke resides is in Rome.

Both men and women can bear the title of numeracy, but men enjoy a privileged position in their sex-segregated housing, where they are served by the women. A 1995 article in the Jesuit magazine, America, described the life of the female Opus Dei numerary this way:

According to two former numeraries, women numeraries are required to clean the men’s centers and cook for them. When the women arrive to clean, they explained, the men vacate so as not to come in contact with the women. I asked Bill Schmitt if women had a problem with this. “No. Not at all.” It is a paid work of the “family” of Opus Dei and is seen as an apostolate. The women more often than not hire others to do the cooking and cleaning. “They like doing it. It’s not forced on them. It’s one thing that’s open to them if they want to do it. They don’t have to do it.”

“That’s totally wrong,” said [former numerary] Ann Schweninger when she heard that last statement. “I had no choice. When in Opus Dei you’re asked, you’re being told.” According to Ms. Schweninger, it is “bad spirit” to refuse. Women are told that it is important to have a love for things of the home and domestic duties. “And since that’s part of the spirit of Opus Dei, to refuse to do that when you’re asked is bad spirit. So nobody refuses.”

It’s hard to imagine Greg Burke finding a way to sell that mentality to the media as a good thing — never mind the fact that Opus Dei members are devoted to “mortification of the flesh” by wearing cilices, metal chains with spikey prongs that the wearer fastens tightly to the thigh, prongs to flesh.

This is the really funny part. You’ll recall that I wrote last week about the high level cardinal who said that everyone was believing in Dan Brown conspiracy theories (which were the work of the Devil)?

With an apparent lack of self-awareness, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone “accused the media of trying ‘to imitate Dan Brown’ in their coverage of the VatiLeaks scandal,” according to Reuters. In Brown’s conspiracy thriller, The DaVinci Code, Opus Dei is a major player in a Vatican conspiracy. In hiring Burke, it’s almost as if the Vatican was looking to feed the fantastic conspiracies of Brown and his fellow travelers. You could call that an epic PR fail.

I always thought that Dan Brown stuff was nuts. But maybe not …

Complete Article HERE!

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