An order of secrets, strict haircuts and a charism of Charity


In one of the earlier threads, Rosemarie asks as good question:

Aren't there some "secrets" among Catholics? The ceremonies of the Knights of Columbus are pretty much kept secret, except from the Church heirarchy, I guess. But women and non-members aren't let in on the ceremonies of the Knights and similar Catholic fraternal organizations.

Speaking as a Knight for 17 years, and the advocate for my council, the Knights of Columbus ceremonies are kinda secret...sorta... You can actually find them in the U.S. Library of Congress. Additionally, it's made clear to every knight in our constitutions and bylaws that the "secret" does not bind if to maintain the secret would violate one's duty toward Church or State.

The same is true of the "secrets" and ceremonies of the International Order of Alhambra, a Catholic fraternal organization of which I'm a former member of the international executive. I would imagine the same is true of the Knights of St. Peter Claver and any Catholic fraternal organization. Similarly, I have several friends who are Opus Dei, have invited me to their events and retreats, and I have never encountered any secrets other than when confessing my sins to a priest affiliated with the movement. But the secrecy of the confessional binds all priests - not only those affiliated with Opus Dei.

That being said, there is an order that is often considered the most secretive in the Church. They have strict haircuts, follow a strict rule when it comes to food, each minute of the day is regimented, and fraternal charity and the spirit of their founder is something you will come across in correspondence with them. In fact, the order has never deviated from the spirit of the founder, and has proven highly resistant to any attempt at reform. The order also has its own internal jargon that few outsiders, when they're permitted inside, seem able to grasp. Which is another thing... not a lot of outsiders within the Church, either among the laity or Church hierarchy, can articulate exactly what members of this order do.

Sound familiar? Well, there's a couple key difference. The first is that their founder is a saint. The second is that all the aforementioned practices work for members of the order. Has for the last 900 years. Which is why they are considered the only major order within the Church never to have been reformed. Additionally, it is said that the devil feared their founder as his holiness drove away even the most obstinate of demons. Here's a link to the order's website.

Here's a peek at life in their monastery:

Be sure to check out Part II, Part III and Part IV.


"But the secrecy of the confessional binds all priests - not only those affiliated with Opus Dei."

Pete, Isn't true that the Legion got a secret dispensation from the confessional seal if it were necessary to help Maciel deal with his many medical problems?


Thank you, Pete. I know that the secrecy of Catholic fraternal organizations is not the same as the abusive secrecy that evidently went on in the LC/RC. I agree that it should be shut down or otherwise drastically changed.

All those fervent, orthodox Catholics who joined Maciel's group in hopes of serving God and the Church, only to be chewed up and spit out. Or the ones who remained in it and are now facing the wrenching realization that they were taught to practically venerate a foul sinner as a living saint. That the leadership's defense of Maciel, which the members dutifully recited to others, was a big lie - and the leaders knew it! What the members must be going through! My heart goes out to them, but even moreso to Maciel's victims, including his sons as we now know. This whole thing is just so terribly, unremittingly sad.

In Jesu et Maria,

Pete, Opus Dei has plenty of secrets.

There are thousands of pages of secret documents that only the directors may read and see.

I know, because I was a (low-level) director many years back.

There is still a culture of secrecy in that organization, which is unfortunate.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on March 9, 2010 1:01 PM.

March 10 - Day of prayer and fasting for Maciel's victims was the previous entry in this blog.

Q&A on refoundation is the next entry in this blog.

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