List of members of Opus Dei

List of members of Opus Dei

This is a list of prominent Opus Dei members. It is intended to include people whose membership in Opus Dei is documented in published sources, and therefore a matter of public record.

The names of Opus Dei directors and priests are available in official Catholic journals and Opus Dei's official bulletin, Romana.

Opus Dei maintains lists of cooperators, who are not considered by Opus Dei to be members, and who do not even have to be Roman Catholics, but who agree to assist with the work of Opus Dei in any of various ways. Such cooperators are not included in this list.

This article should by no means be considered an exhaustive list of past and present members and sympathisers of Opus Dei involved in political, religious, cultural, academic or literary life.


Opus Dei policy on publicizing membership

Opus Dei treats membership status of its lay members in a confidential manner, having a stated policy of neither confirming nor denying the membership of Opus Dei until the member in question has publicly acknowledged his or her membership.

Opus Dei's supporters express the belief that a person's spiritual life is a private matter, and that the practice of not divulging membership lists is common to many organizations such as trade unions, hospitals, schools and clubs.[1] They also believe that it is part of the secular nature of vocation to Opus Dei that their members do not represent the religious organization which provide them with spiritual instruction, in the same way that professionals do not externally represent their alma maters. According to several journalists who worked independently on Opus Dei accusations of secrecy come from a clericalist mentality which equates Opus Dei members with monks and priests, the traditional symbols of holiness who are externally identifiable as such.

Detractors argue that, given Opus Dei's strong defence of traditional Roman Catholic positions in social and moral matters, especially in regards to pro-life and marriage, membership of the organisation is indeed relevant to exercising functions in the public domain. In addition, Opus Dei states that it is a non-political organisation and does not direct or try to influence its members in any way in the fulfillment of their professional duties, whether in the public or private sphere, except where such activities impinge on their duties as Roman Catholics.

For the most part, Opus Dei members belong to the low and middle class in terms of income, social status and education.[2] Among its members are barbers, bricklayers, mechanics, and fruit sellers. Most supernumeraries are living ordinary middle-class lives.[3]

Government and Civil Service

Rt. Hon. Ruth Kelly MP(UK)
  • Ruth Kelly - The Former British Transport Secretary, Labour Party (traditionally center-left) in the United Kingdom. John L. Allen, Jr. states that she is a supernumerary member in his book, Opus Dei.[3]
  • Paola Binetti - Senator in Italy. A numerary member. Binetti belongs to a party -- La Margherita (“The Daisy”) -- which includes Christian Democrats, Socialists, Greens and even some ex-Communists.[4]
  • Mario Maiolo - Vice-president of the province of Cosenza. He belongs to the center-left. He is a supernumerary.[3]
  • Antonio Fontán (d. 2010) - President of the Senate of Spain in 1977-1979. A journalist who advocated free elections and trade unions, and was persecuted by Franco. He helped draft Spain's new democratic constitution after Franco.[5]
  • Alberto Ullastres Calvo (d. 2001) - Minister of Trade (1957–1965). He is one of the members of Opus Dei who were appointed by Franco as ministers (Spain under Franco). He pushed forward the so called Plan of Stabilization which brought about Spain's transition from economic autarchy to liberalization and internationalization of the national economy.[6]
  • Adolfo Suárez - President of Government in the democracy in Spain from 1978 to 1982, was a supernumerary member of Opus Dei.[7]
  • Gregorio López Bravo (d. 1985) - Minister for Industry (1963–1969, Spain under Franco),[8] Minister of Foreign Affairs (1969–1973). A supernumerary
  • Vicente Mortes Alfonso (d.) - Minister for Housing (1969–1973, Spain under Franco).[9] A supernumerary
  • Juan José Espinosa San Martín - Minister for Finance (1965–1969, Spain under Franco).[10]
  • Faustino García-Moncó Fernández - Minister for Trade (1965–1969, Spain under Franco).[10]
  • Fernando Herrero Tejedor (d. 1975) - Secretary General of the Movimiento (Franco's political party) (1975).[10]
  • José María Albareda (d. 1966) - Secretary General and head of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). He was close friend of Escrivá and one of the first numerary members of Opus Dei. He was also a close friend of José Ibáñez Martín, falangist and Minister for Education for Franco from 1939 to 1951, who is widely credited with sponsoring the great expansion of Opus Dei into Spanish third-level education during that period. Both take much of the credit for developing the political concept of "Nacional-Catolicismo".
  • Jesus Estanislao - Secretary of Economic Planning and subsequently Finance Secretary of the Philippines under Corazon Aquino (1989–1992), who toppled the dictatorial government of Ferdinand Marcos. A numerary member of Opus Dei, who started Opus Dei in the Philippines.[11]
  • Joaquín Lavín - politician in Chile, twice defeated in his bid for the presidency of Chile. He is a member of the Independent Democrat Union (UDI) party and former mayor of Santiago and Las Condes municipalities of capital Santiago.[12]
  • Robert Hanssen - FBI agent who was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia.[13] His treason has been described as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history." A supernumerary, he reportedly left Opus Dei after his arrest.
  • Rory O'Hanlon (d. 2002), Professor of Criminal and Constitutional Law at University College Dublin and High Court Judge in Ireland (1981–1995). He was dismissed by the Irish Government from Presidency of the Law Reform Commission in 1992, after commenting that if membership of the EU forced the introduction of abortion to Ireland, the country should withdraw from the Union. He later sued the Government and won substantial damages.[14] He was a supernumerary member of Opus Dei.[15]
  • Jorge Rossi Chavarría (d. 2006) was the Vice-President of Costa Rica from 1971-1974. He co-founded the National Liberation Party (PLN), a social democrat party. He was a supernumerary of Opus Dei.[16]

Writing and journalism

  • Joaquin Navarro Valls (born November 16, 1936, Cartagena, Spain) was a physician and journalist who later served as the Director of the Vatican Press Office, taking the post in 1984. A numerary member.[17]
  • Robert Duncan - a noted journalist.[18] An ombudsman for foreign press in Spain; vice-president of OPCI Ibero-American press association; vice-president of APSCE, association for energy and telecommunications; past executive board member for Spain's oldest and largest foreign press body, the Club Internaciónal de Prensa; editor for Spero News and EnerPub[2]
    Antonio Fontán, Spanish journalist who fought for press freedom. He later became the first Senate President of Spain's democracy.
  • Rafael Calvo Serer (d. 1988) - editor and founder of Diario Madrid who was hounded into exile for his criticism of Franco, who closed the publication. Although Messori states that Calvo, by working underground, helped to bring democracy to Spain,[19] According to some, he did not oppose Francoism, but Franco himself about Franco's succession (see Preston 623-3, 663 and 671).
  • Antonio Fontán (born 1923) - journalist who advocated free elections and trade unions in Spain under Franco. Later served as President of the Senate and helped draft Spain's new democratic constitution.[19]
  • Francis Fernandez Carvajal - wrote In Conversation with God, which has sold over two million copies in several languages, including Spanish, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovakian and Polish. It consists of over 450 meditations, one or more for every day of the year, as well as three meditations for each Sunday, corresponding to the three year cycle in the Catholic lectionary.[20]
  • Pilar Urbano - Spanish journalist whose interviewing technique has become a model for other journalists. A numerary.[21]
  • Cesare Cavalleri - Italian literary critic and publisher. He received the Premio internazionale Medaglia d'oro per la Cultura cattolica (International Golden Medal Award for Catholic Culture).[22]
  • Alberto Michelini - Italian film director, journalist and politician. A supernumerary member.[23]
  • Michael Cook - Australian journalist. [3] Editor of MercatorNet, "An on-line magazine for navigating modern complexities." [4]
  • Michael Adams - Irish publisher (d.2009). He was a numerary member and the Managing Director of Four Courts Press, Ireland's largest academic publishing house.[24] Adams was the author of a book Censorship: The Irish Experience, which was critical of the operation of the former Irish system of literary censorship.
  • Paul Dumol - Filipino playwright, famous for Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio. He is also the Chairman of the Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy.[25]


Social work and medicine

Dr. Margaret Ogola, director of Kenyan Hospice for HIV-positive orphans and author of The River and the Source
  • Toni Zweifel (1938–1989), a Swiss engineer who patented several inventions. He founded and served as director of the Limmat Foundation [5], a foundation that supports social projects all over the world with a majority of women as project beneficiaries.[37] His process of beatification has been opened.[38] A numerary.
  • Margaret Ogola, medical director of the Cottolengo Hospice in Nairobi for HIV-positive orphans and Kenyan author. A supernumerary with four children, she heads the Commission for Health and Family Life for the Kenyan bishops' conference.[39] Her novel The River and the Source, which follows four generations of Kenyan women in a rapidly changing country and society, won the Africa Region Commonwealth Award for Literature. Interested in women's empowerment, she is also Vice-President of Family Life Counselling (Kenya).
  • John Henry, "one of the world's leading authorities on drugs and poisons" and "Britain's best known toxicologist [who] made frequent appearances on television and radio."[40]
  • Umberto Farri (d. 2006), founder and President of Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria (Institute for University Co-operation) or ICU. [6] It is a non-governmental organization which has completed over 200 development co-operation projects in 32 countries.
  • Felipe González de Canales is a co-founder of a system of agriculture schools and rural development centers called Escuelas Familiares Agrarias (Agrarian Family Schools) which has 30 schools in Spain and has influenced 68 other agricultural schools in other parts of the world.[41] He is also the founder of two trade unions. He is an associate member of Opus Dei.[42]


Sports, fashion, and entertainment

  • Isaac Viciosa - Spanish middle distance runner who is the European record holder at 3000 m. He said in an interview that he is a supernumerary of Opus Dei. [8][9]
  • Antonio Bienvenida - a famous Spanish bullfighter (1922–1975). According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "The great Antonio Bienvenida...was killed by a small heifer on his ranch in 1975." A supernumerary.[46]
  • Giovanni Trapattoni - current manager of the Republic of Ireland national football team. [47] One of the most celebrated managers in football history, Trapattoni is one of only two coaches, alongside the Austrian Ernst Happel, to have won the league title (10) in four different countries (Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Austria). Alongside the German Udo Lattek, he is the only coach to have won all three major European club titles. Also, he is the only one to have won all UEFA club competitions and the World Club title, also having the record of UEFA Cup wins (three).


For other members of the clergy, please see Opus Dei: Priestly Society of the Holy Cross


  1. ^ O'Connor, William, Opus Dei: An Open Book
  2. ^ Messori, Vittorio (1997). Opus Dei, Leadership and Vision in Today's Catholic Church. Regnery Publishing.
  3. ^ a b c John Allen (2005). Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church. Doubleday Religion. 
  4. ^ Daniel Mansueto: Labels Don't Apply: An Interview with Paola Binetti, Godspy Magazine, July 26, 2006
  5. ^ Casas Rabasa, Santiago "Conversación en Madrid con Antonio Fontán" Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia Vol. 15 (2006) p. 333-365 ISSN 1133-0104
  6. ^ Biografías y Vidas: Alberto Ullastres Calvo (span.), 2004
  7. ^ El Mundo:[1]
  8. ^ Intervencionismo estatal durante el franquismo tardío. Mikel Buesa y Luis E. Pires, s/f. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos I (pdf)
  9. ^ XV Gobiernos de Franco
  10. ^ a b c Santiago Mata: El Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá y Franco, October 4, 2005
  11. ^ a b Ma. Ceres P. Doyo: Opus Dei in RP: It began with 3 Harvard boys, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 18, 2006, p A1
  12. ^ a b Vernon Silver and Michael Smith: Opus Dei, Vilified in `Da Vinci Code,' Runs Global MBA Schools,, April 26, 2006
  13. ^ CNN: An In-Depth Look At Opus Dei: A Conservative Catholic Group, May 18, 2001
  14. ^ Annemarie Bruinsma Hanlon: Justice Rory O'Hanlon, Hanlon people & Businesses, (undated)
  15. ^ Sunday Tribune 19 March 2006
  16. ^ Sunday Tribune Romana No. 42 • January - June 2006 • Page 136
  17. ^ BBC 21 December 2001
  18. ^ Allen says he is a member in his book, Opus Dei.
  19. ^ a b Messori, Vittorio (1997). Opus Dei, Leadership and Vision in Today's Catholic Church. Regnery Publishing. ISBN 0-89526-450-1. 
  20. ^ His own web page
  21. ^ Giles Tremlett The Guardian October 5, 2002
  22. ^ La Repubblica April 2006
  23. ^ John Allen in National Catholic Report January 30, 2004
  24. ^ a b c Kieron Wood: Founder of controversial religious group to be canonised,, September 29, 2002
  25. ^ Larry Henares, Saints and Sinners
  26. ^ John Allen, Pope taps Princeton water expert, believer in global warming for science academy January 10, 2008.
  27. ^ Romana #31 July 2000
  28. ^ John F. Coverdale: The Vocation to Opus Dei, 1994
  29. ^ Scott Hahn: Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace: My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei (excerpt), 2006
  30. ^ He recounts his early years in Opus Dei in his book Años de Juventud en el Opus Dei
  31. ^ Comunidade jurídica reverencia Ives Gandra pelos 70 anos (portug.)
  32. ^ His own webpage
  33. ^ First Things, 2003 The Holocaust: What Was Not Said
  34. ^ Opus Dei webpage
  35. ^ His own webpage
  36. ^ Interview on Opus Dei web page
  37. ^ Limmat-Stiftung: FAQ 9: Why are the majority of project beneficiaries women?, accessed December 3, 2006
  38. ^ Opus Dei Information Office: Toni’s Life, accessed December 3, 2006
  39. ^ John L. Allen: A journey to Africa: confronting AIDS, relations among religions, and the challenges of poverty, National Catholic Reporter, vol 4 no 4, September 17, 2004
  40. ^ Times, May 14, 2007
  41. ^ Hoy: 'Roturar y sembrar' hace historia de las Escuelas Familiares Agrarias, accessed October 22, 2007
  42. ^ Felipe González de Canales: Roturar y sembrar, accessed October 22, 2007
  43. ^ El Mundo (Spain) (supplement): Los españoles más influyentes del año 2004, 2004
  44. ^ Le Point: Les ambitions de Jacques de Chateauvieux, June 22, 1996
  45. ^ El País:Ultimátum del Opus a Ruiz-Mateos para que rectifique sus declaraciones , 28.05.1986
  46. ^ José Miguel Cejas: Antonio Bienvenida, torero. Supernumerario del Opus Dei, (undated)
  47. ^ Irish Independent: The true cost of landing Trapattoni – February 17, 2008
  48. ^ Allen, John, Jr. Opus Dei, The Truth about its Rituals, Secrets and Power, 2005, Penguin Books, ISBN 0-141-02465-8, pp 287-290
  49. ^ Catholic hierarchy


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