SAINTS AND SCHEMERS

OPUS DEI AND ITS PARADOXES

A dry study of the origins and evolution of a fiercely controversial organization in the Roman Catholic Church. Opus Dei (work of God), officially founded in Madrid in 1928 by Monsignor Escriv† de Balaguer, is a unique body of priests and laypeople (more than 75,000 worldwide) who see work as the means to holiness, both because it is a sharing in God's creative action in the world and because it is a concrete way of making Christ present in society. For Opus Dei members, asceticism involves striving to be highly successful as professionals, something that has not often been characteristic of Catholic lay spirituality, and this has brought many charges of elitism and power-seeking, not least from other Catholics. Because of its policy of ``discretion'' and the discipline imposed on its members, Opus Dei has been accused of beig a secret society within the Church, even a ``holy Mafia.'' Pope John Paul II recently declared Escriv† (who died in 1975) ``blessed,'' and he acceded to the founder's desire that the organization be given a large measure of autonomy as a personal prelature. Estruch (Sociology/Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona) takes readers through a labyrinth of documents, chiefly from the official literature of Opus Dei. He shows that the complex character of Escriv† and the organization was very much a product- -though a most unusual one—of Franco's Spain, and that Opus Dei has, in fact, adjusted its thinking more than many members like to admit in order to keep pace with changes in both Spain and the Catholic Church. In a final section, the author draws on Max Weber's thought to make a stimulating comparison between Opus Dei's ``sanctification of work'' and the worldly asceticism of Puritanism. Confined to documentation and constantly referring to methodology, this study makes for heavy reading. Meticulous, but perhaps excessively unsensational.

Pub Date: July 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508251-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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