With the fame of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” and now with the release of the film, members of Opus Dei in Israel are rebuffing the world’s criticism of their organization. According to Brown, Opus Dei is a sect of Catholicism, guarding its deepest secrets. Christophe Rico, a member of Opus Dei Israel agrees with Christian scholars who say there is no truth to Brown’s novel. Most belonging to Opus Dei, like Rico, lead normal lives. Rico is a lecturer in the French Studies program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but does ritually begin his day with kissing the earth and a vow of service. “This is not service to any human being, but rather to God,” he said. Josemaria Escriva, the right-wing Spanish priest who formed Opus Dei in the early 1920s, is labeled as having minimized Hitler’s attempt to annihilate the Jews, but Rico notes that Escriva stressed that his first love was for two Jews: Jesus and his mother Mary.
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