3. Opus Dei Is Not A Sadistic Cult
One of the most colorful characters in The Da Vinci Code is Silas, a particularly devout member of the Catholic group called Opus Dei. Silas routinely commits acts of penance that draw blood and even kills for what he believes is the truth. Opus Dei itself is portrayed as a cult-like organization within the Catholic Church, which has been able to blackmail the Vatican because of its vast wealth and secret knowledge. Following the book’s release, the group received a large amount of publicity, much of it negative. It was viewed as a secret group with connections to organizations like the Freemasons, and many suspected it had something to hide.
The fact is that Opus Dei does exist. It was founded in 1926 by Josemaria Escriva, a Spanish priest who wanted to extend the morality of the church’s members beyond attending mass on Sunday morning. It is considered to be a personal prelature of the Catholic Church, meaning that the Vatican does not view it as an entity confined to a geographical locale, like a diocese, but as an international organization. Rather than being secretive, its members seek holiness through their work and other day-to-day activities. Use of devices like the cilice belt, which Silas used to punish himself, is not endorsed.