Letter to the Editor “Manipulation of Guilt”
by Sharon Clasen, National Catholic Reporter on September 26, 2003
In “Selling orthodoxy to Washington power brokers,” (NCR, Sept. 5) Joe Feuerherd explains why Fr. McCloskey was dismissed from Princeton. “Campus critics that he used his position to promote Opus Dei and that he advised students to avoid certain classes.” McCloskey says the controversy resulted from a “relatively small minority of students, professors, and townspeople who were not at all happy to have orthodox Catholic teaching present on the campus.” McCloskey’s attempt to trivialize the opposition masks the true issues of censorship and invasion of privacy.
According to The Trenton Times (October 22, 1989), history professor Michael Jimenez contends “that McCloskey told students not to take courses with certain professors because they were ‘dangerous,’ and told professors he would advise students not to read philosophers such as Nietzsche and Hume because they were also ‘dangerous’ to young minds.” This practice is consistent with the testimonies of former Opus Dei members, some of whom have even witnessed book burnings. In a recent article in Newsday (August 26, 2003), Fr. Alvaro Silva of Boston said “that despite his advanced degree in theology, he had to ask permission to read leading Catholic scholars whose works were on Opus Dei’s list of forbidden books.”
According to the same Trenton Times article, there “were 12 signed letters from students . . . [that] described intense questioning by McCloskey about their sex lives, their parents’ marital status and their parents’ religion. The questioning often sent students crying from McCloskey’s office.” This invasion of privacy and manipulation of guilt has been experienced by former members worldwide.
Censorship and the invasion of privacy experienced by the Princeton students are just two of the methods employed by Opus Dei to control the lives of their members. These methods, coupled with the manipulation of guilt have nothing to do with orthodoxy.