|The face of Hollywood's Opus Dei|
An entirely different view is formed when reading about Saint Josemaria Escriva, the Spanish priest who founded the organization. He was an affable, tremendously hard-working priest who fell afoul of the Republican forces during the Spanish civil war and had to slip away into hiding. His fondness for Franco's fascism is among the many things that his critics hold against him.
|The face of the real Opus Dei|
|Time: the face of controversy itself|
But please let me offer two caveats. The first is on the stuff like the banned books, all the way up to the instruments of flesh mortification (self-flagellation / auto-abuse). People choose to do this stuff to themselves because they believe that it helps them, either in this life or in the hereafter. No one is made to join Opus Dei, nor is anyone held against their will if they want to leave. Others may not like what they do to themselves, but isn't that their business and not ours?
Second, I have read enough about cults to write a thesis. (Oh yeah, I was supposed to have actually written the damn thing, wasn't I?) I wouldn't take everything that ODAN publishes as objective fact. Their very use of the term "awareness network" conjures the Cult Awareness Network of the 1970s, a notoriously brutal and deceptive organization which was pushed out of business following a wrongful damages lawsuit. Currently the name and files are owned by the Church of Scientology, one of many targets which the CAN pursued with excessive and libelous zeal. High control religious organizations may not appeal to me but I daresay they appeal to many folks whose own self-destructive tendencies are curbed and whose lives are redirected positively. If Opus Dei is one of those, I can think of far worse organizations.
Final note: FACTnet, a clearinghouse for info about cults, new religious movements (NRMs) and other high control organizations, does not list Opus Dei on its Cult Groups List. The Rick Ross Institute, another anti-cult organization, does. You can read much more mud about them here. If you would rather read how Opus Dei describes itself, here's their official site.