Wednesday 24 April 2024

Opus Dei statement in relation to interview by former member

Unveiling Opus Dei: Irishwoman from FT investigation speaks out

Opus Dei provided the following statement in relation to an interview with a former member, Margaret Joyce, broadcast on Upfront with Katie Hannon on 22 April 2024.

Everyone's experiences are unique and valid, and if Margaret was wounded while she was in Opus Dei, we sincerely ask her for forgiveness. Opus Dei is an organisation of the Catholic Church of people who want to do good, but it is not exempt from making mistakes. When we do make mistakes, even though it wasn’t intentional, we will always be ready to apologise and do what we can to make up for it.

Notwithstanding ongoing contact with some of Margaret’s family, we have never received such a complaint from her before and so we would like to ask her to contact us, through whatever channel and whenever and wherever she feels comfortable, so that we can better understand her situation and help her.

On the other hand, while we recognise that Margaret may have had a bad experience and that there are situations for which we must apologise, we categorically deny the allegation of exploitation.

Assistant numeraries are women in Opus Dei who, like all the other members, aim to love God and others through their work and daily life. In their case, their chosen work is caring for the people and centres in the family setting of Opus Dei. This work is paid in accordance with the employment legislation of the countries in which they live.

People ask to join Opus Dei of their own free will, and they can only join after reaching the age of eighteen. As with every vocation in the Catholic Church, there is a long process of admission and discernment, in order to ensure that only people who freely want to join can do so. A person has to reaffirm their desire to join Opus Dei not just once or twice or three times, but at least eight times over a minimum of six and a half years.

The vocation of assistant numerary is today being followed by thousands of women around the world with freedom, love and commitment, and has the same dignity as any other life choice. In fact, many women who joyfully live out this vocational call made a public plea a few months ago for their free and conscious choice to be respected and not demeaned.

Opus Dei recognises that there can be cases of bad experiences, but needs the people concerned to make a formal complaint. Opus Dei has set up a protocol for dealing with any such grievances and invites those so affected to make contact; in the case of Ireland, they can do so here.

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