Randy Engel
A documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part VI
Biographies on Russell Shaw and Carl Anderson
By Randy Engel
May 24, 2024


As noted in Part I of this series, because so much of Opus Dei’s intrigues are shrouded in the deepest of secrecy, it’s impossible for outsiders to know exactly when the ruling Council of the Prelature in Rome approved the move to take over the Knights of Columbus.

However, the timetable of the actions of two of the key players in the stealth acquisition, namely the well-known Knights – Opus Dei members, Russell Shaw and Carl Anderson, provides a probable estimation of the mid-1980s, or more specifically, 1987, the year both left their respective jobs to take up key positions in the Knights national public relation headquarters in Washington D.C. The fact that Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant hired both Opus members for key positions in the Knights of Columbus at about the same time indicates that Dechant may have been caught up in the Prelature’s powerful orbit whether or not he was ever formally a member of the Prelature.

Biographical Summary on Russell Shaw

The following information on Russell Shaw was gleaned from several hundred pages in my office files with articles dating back to the late 1960s and 1970s when “Company Man” Shaw worked for the newly incorporated National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference (NCCB/USCC). This was approximately 18 years before he became the “Company Man” for Opus Dei and for the Knights of Columbus.[1]

Born on May 19, 1935, in Washington, DC, the second child of Charles Burnham Shaw, a non-Catholic New Englander and career army officer who retired with the rank of colonel. His mother was Mary Russell Shaw a mid-Westerner and devout Catholic.

The young Shaw attended public and parochial school, Gonzaga High School, and Georgetown University where he graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude in 1956 and a M.A. in English literature in 1960.

In 1958, Shaw married Carmen Carbon. They are the parents of 5 children and 10 grandchildren and attend Our Lady of Victory Parish (OLV) in Washington, D.C. In a history of the parish that Shaw wrote for the church’s website, it appears that OLV was a casualty of the Second Vatican Council and never recovered [my opinion, not Shaw’s]. Liturgical Latin gave way to English in the Mass, the main altar was resituated so that the celebrant could face the congregation. Lay lectors made their appearance in 1968 and in time were followed by lay ministers of communion. By the early 1970s, a number of ministries were open to women. A parish council was instituted in 1967. There is no indication that Shaw was distressed by these “developments.”

In 1960, Shaw got his first job with The Catholic Standard, the diocesan newspaper for Archdiocese of Washington, DC. The following year, 1961, he joined the staff of the National Catholic Welfare Conference’s News Service that later became the better-known Catholic News Service (CNS) where he worked for 9 years and rose in rank to the national news desk

In 1969, two years after the old D.C–based National Catholic Welfare Conference was transformed into the monstrous bicameral bureaucracy called the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference (NCCB/USCC), Shaw joined the liberal, left, and homosexual-dominated bureau[2] as Director of the National Catholic Office for Information, and later, Secretary for Public Affairs, a position he held for 18 years.

Russell Shaw joins Opus Dei in 1980

Although Shaw states that he knew about Opus Dei around 1965, and was attracted by the concept of “a lay vocation,” [and possibly attended some Opus’ evenings of recollection and/or went to confession to an Opus priest. RE], he did not formally join “The Work” until 1980, after which his writing career really took off and he became a devoted champion of everything Opus. Shaw was particularly impressed by Escriva’s first successor, Father Alvaro del Portillo,[3] and by Opus’ ostensibly revolutionary promise of sanctifying the ordinary things of life, most especially work.

In October 1982 when the John Paul II Institute for the Family, a key entity in this series, was founded in Rome with backing from Opus Dei, Shaw became an Institute member. This connection is important because in 1987, both Shaw and Anderson would leave their jobs for the Public Policy Office of the Knights of Columbus in Washington, D.C., and begin the long task of taking over the Knights for Opus.

Shaw Promotes Opus as “God’s Work”

On January 1, 1985, Shaw published one of his early promotional booklets for Opus titled “Working for God the World Over – On the Nature and Spirit of Opus Dei,” printed by Opus’ Scepter Press.[4] Although Shaw assures his readers that “while members don’t advertise their membership, neither do they conceal it,” and Opus’ “purpose and programs are an open book,” he does not identify himself as a supernumerary of Opus anywhere in the text.[5]

Shaw repeats many of the myths concerning Opus including the touted premise, “that they (members) can love and serve God without giving up their ordinary work, their family life, and their normal social relations.”[6] He states that Opus “reaches out to people of all creeds [religion], races, tribes and social conditions,”[7] which clearly registers the Work as an instrument of “liberalism, ”a heresy condemned by a long succession of popes including Pope Gregory XVI in his 1882 encyclical Mirari Vos – On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism[8]; Pope Pius IX in his famed 1864 Syllabus of Errors,[9] Pope Leo XIII in the 1888 encyclical Libertas On the Nature of Human Liberty[10] and St. Pius X’s 1910 Apostolic Mandate, Notre Charge Apostolique[11] in which the pope condemns the errors of the French Sillon Movement that shared some of the dangerous practices of Opus Dei.

Shaw notes that Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice, the future Pope John Paul I, called Opus founder Josemaría Escriva “a revolutionary priest… vaulting over traditional barriers to become another St Francis de Sales,”[12] and a master of the spiritual life.[13] According to Shaw, however, Escriva comes in first for whereas “St. Francis taught only a ‘spirituality’ [religious] for lay people, Escriva wants a “lay spirituality.”[14]

Shaw reports that Opus apostolates are conducted by members on their own initiatives which embody the lay-mentality spirit and purposes of Opus Dei, but makes the unusual statement that these institutions are not really Catholic, this is, they are not “apostolates” in the traditional sense of the word. They are by their own admission “non-confessional,” which according to Opus critic Santiago means that “they are not born from Catholic principles and oriented towards exclusively Catholic ends and objectives.”[15]

    Although these institutions – universities, schools, study centers, student residences, conference centers, and professional or vocational training institutes of various kinds – have an apostolic purpose, they are not officially “Catholic,” since members of Opus Dei conduct them on their own and in collaboration with others who are not only NOT members of Opus Dei but, in many cases, not even Catholics (bold added). Opus Dei itself takes responsibility only for the spiritual and doctrinal aspects of the program of these institutions, not for their practical and professional management. Opus Dei’s specific mission is the formation and motivation of its members as they strive for sanctity and carry on apostolates wherever they live and work. [16]

Shaw’s comments on Opus’ recruitment techniques and the role of parents are especially enlightening:

    “Why do people join? The answer is that they receive a vocation of God.… The criteria for membership aren’t income, education, social status, race, or similar considerations [but the very poor, handicapped, very ugly and deformed, and former members of other religious institutions, need not apply. RE].

    Opus Dei observes canonical and common-sense requirements regarding commitment and vocation. The earliest age at which an individual can formally apply for membership is sixteen-and-a-half. But someone applying at that age may not make even a temporarily binding commitment until he or she is 18.… Moreover, no lifetime commitment can be made earlier than age 23.

    When and how parents are consulted depends on individual circumstances (bold added). But parents are, naturally, always aware of their children’s growing interest in Opus Dei, and Opus Dei itself encourages parental involvement before as well as after a vocational commitment is made. … (Opus has recruited minors as young as 12 to 15 years of age, especially poor young girls in developing nations to serve as celibate numerary assistants/servants & maids. Opus scraps the 4th Commandment, “Honor thy father and mother.”[17])

The Divinization of Work

Shaw’s mistaken commentary on work is equally revealing:

    “Make no mistake about it,” Monsignor Escriva once said, “Man’s duty to work is not a consequence of original sin, nor is it just a discovery of modern times.

Unfortunately, the quote does not distinguish between before and after sin as is made clear in Genesis 3:17-18.[18] And if I recall my childhood Catechism, man was not created “to work” but to “Know, love and serve God in this world, so that we may be happy with Him in the next.”

Did not Saint Paul make it clear that no matter the depth or breath of our activity, including all forms of good works, “if we have not charity... we become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal...we are nothing... it profits us nothing (1 Corinthians 13.1-3)?

As an interesting sidenote on the subject of the divinizing of work, according to Rabbi Angel Kreiman, the former international Vice President of the World Council of Synagogues and an Opus cooperator, “Many of Josemaria Escriva’s concepts call to mind the Talmudic tradition and reveal his profound knowledge of the Jewish world.” Kreiman claimed that the Talmudic interpretation of work was a central teaching of Escriva.[19]

On the other hand, in Saints and Schemers, Professor Joan Estruch makes an excellent argument for the similarities between “the sanctification of work” in Opus, and the Protestantism- Calvinism work ethic minus the baggage of predestination.[20]

Either way, Opus’ doctrine of the sanctification of work is not Catholic. God put man in the Garden of Eden to save his soul.by carrying out His commandments.[21] The World was made for man and man was made for God.

Regarding the spirituality of Opus Dei, Shaw states that it is a combination “of traditional elements of Catholic piety and the doctrine according to the letter and spirit of Vatican Council II.[22] “Ideas like lay initiative and sanctity in the world were avant-garde novelties when Opus Dei began, but especially since Vatican Council II, they’ve come to be widely appreciated,” Shaw claims approvingly.[23]

Interestingly enough, however, Shaw fails to acknowledge that Escriva’s “novel” ideas on holiness as regards the laity were not exclusive nor original to him when proposed in 1928.

Christ called everyone to holiness did He not? “Be you perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), is an invocation to mirror God, to be a reflection of His goodness. And the Apostles, and their successors, along with the Fathers of the Church and the saints down through the ages have continued to proclaim this Truth. And So it was from the beginning.

But getting closer to Escriva’s time, I should point out that there were two similar religious movements in Spain about the same period that the founder of Opus Dei was promoting his new vision for the Catholic Church.

On the positive side, there was the founding of a new religious institute in Barcelona called the Parochial Cooperators of Christ the King founded by Father Francisco de Paula Vallet, a Jesuit-trained and well-known preacher and retreat master. Vallet devoted himself and the institute to popularizing a shortened version of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. Between 1923 to 1927, an astounding 12,500 laymen and young adults took his retreats. The primary themes of the five-day retreats were centered upon eternal salvation, the importance of confession, and “living in the state of grace.”[24] Ironically, Vallet’s work was later suppressed by certain members of the Spanish hierarchy and the priest expelled from Spain, just about the time that Escriva’s new theology and vision for the Catholic Church was on the rise in Spain.

On the negative side, a second religious movement percolating in Spain’s liberal intellectual circles and Masonic halls in the mid-to-late 1920s traced its roots to none other than the French Jesuit paleontologist, theologian, and philosopher, and heretic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

The following quotations are taken from Chardin’s book, The Divine Milieu[25] written between November 1926 and March 27, 1927, at least two years before Escriva announced his vision for Opus Dei. Credit for this extraordinary find of the close similarities between Escriva’s and Chardin’s concept of the “divinization” of work (activity) belongs to Sandiago as part of his “Opus Dei – Trojan Horse of Liberation” series.[26]

In The Divine Milieu, a reflection of Chardin’s early religious views, the dedication reads, to “those who love the world.” It continues:

    Because we believe intensely and with a pure heart in the world, the world will open the arms of God to us. It is for us to throw ourselves into these arms that the divine milieu should close around our lives in a circle.[27]

    Each one of our works, by its more or less remote or direct effect upon the spiritual world, helps to make perfect Christ in his mystical totality. Our work (our opus[28])appears to us, in the main, as a way of earning our daily bread. But its essential virtue is on a higher level; through it we complete in ourselves the subject of the divine union...[29]

    To repeat: by virtue of the Creation and, still more of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see. On the contrary, everything is sacred to the men who can distinguish that portion of chosen being which is subject to Christ’s drawing power in the process of consummation.[30] This not simply a commonplace precept for salvation: it is the very path to sanctity for each man according to his state and calling.[31] Why should there not be men vowed to the task of exemplifying, by their lives, the general sanctification of human endeavour?[32]... Right from the hands that knead the dough, to those that consecrate it, the great and universal Host should be prepared and handled in a spirit of adoration.[33]

    Without denying that some Christians, by their words more than their deeds, do give grounds for the reproach of being, if not the “enemies”, at least the “stragglers” of the human race, we can safely assert, after what we said above concerning the supernatural value of our work on earth, their attitude is due to an incomplete understanding and not at all to some ineradicable flaw in our religion.[34]

    The Christian knows that his function is to divinize the world in Jesus Christ.[35]

The text of Shaw’s 1985 booklet ends with a tribute to the alleged “freedom” which Opus members share and the “universal call to holiness” as proclaimed by Vatican II.[36]

The reader may want to reread Shaw’s analysis of “Working for God,” for although it was written more than 38 years ago, it still summarizes Opus Dei’s current propaganda schtick almost to the letter.

Shaw’s Multiple Catholic Writing Outlets

In addition to writing more than 20 books, Shaw’s columns and articles on Catholicism were and continue to be widely distributed in the United States especially in Opus-controlled Catholic newspapers, magazines, the diocesan media, and the Knights of Columbus magazine Columbia. Below is a short selection of his opinions on topics which I believe will be of special interest to the reader and which generally reflect the mindset of Opus literary clones like Shaw without revealing their membership in the Prelature.

Shaw “On the Politics of Hate”

In the February 1989 issue of Crisis Magazine, Shaw wrote “The Politics of Hate – What’s Wrong With Right-wing Catholics,” the title of which speaks for itself. According to Shaw, his wife put her finger on something about conservative Catholics today. “Whether or not they intend it, they frequently come across as good haters,” Shaw pontificates. Their actions are “self-destructive,” including publicly criticizing bishops. So what’s the solution to reigning in heretical, gnostic prelates? According to Shaw who spent a good part of his life at the NCCB/USCC defending homosexual clerics like the conjoined faggotry team of Bishop Joseph Bernardin[37] and Father James S. Rausch,[38] we should follow the advice of John Henry Newman and “Let us pray for them, not abandon them.”

Shaw Attacks Sex Ed Opponents

As public information officer for the NCCB/USCC, Russel Shaw has been hawking so-called “sex education” in parochial schools since the early 1980s.

In February of 1995, diocesan papers across the country featured an article by Shaw titled “The unwinnable war over chastity ed,” in which he knocked opponents of classroom sex initiation programs, claiming such groups [like Mothers’ Watch] misinterpret papal texts which condemn public sex instruction for children across the board.[39]

Shaw disclosed that he has a “vested interest in the whole matter,” as he was serving on the Board of Directors that sponsors the (un)-chastity program Teen STAR. He did not note, or perhaps he didn’t know at the time that Knights of Columbus financed the diocesan program,[40] and that Opus Dei member Veronica Pierson was Teen STAR’s coordinator in England.[41] Shaw argues for a “wholesome, authentically Catholic” sex initiation program, that obviously includes Teen STAR created by feminist sister and doctor, Hanna Klaus.

The formal title, Teen STAR: SEXUALITY TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF ADULT RESPONSIBILITY, may well indicate to the reader, although it obviously escaped the attention of Shaw, that a sex/fertility awareness program designed for high school and junior high school students which directs young teen girls to plot their fertility cycles by examining their vaginal mucus, and young boys to chart their emotional mood swings, wet dreams, testosterone levels and other personal sexual data, hardly meets Shaw’s, let alone any traditional Catholic’s definition of “wholesome “ and “authentically Catholic.”

Add the fact that the Teen STAR program includes disguised sexual behavior modification techniques; enough reproductive anatomy and physiological data to insure a degree in obstetrics and gynecology; and detailed information on masturbation, sexual response, sexual orientation, all forms of birth control including abortifacient IUDs and the Pill, and sexually transmitted diseases; and witty suggestions like, “There are many ways to give and receive sexual pleasure and not have intercourse;” – all this cast in a secular, feminist, Sangerite framework.[42]

Shaw and the Ill-fated McCloskey Saga

In 2007, Ignatius Press published Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion, and the Crisis of Faith by Russell Shaw and the popular celebrity Opus priest and former numerary Rev. C. John McCloskey III.[43]

The event and date may not be immediately significant to the reader, but it is related to the explosive sex abuse case involving Father McCloskey, the Director of Opus’ Catholic Information Center (CIC) in Washington, D.C., and a middle age Opus female devotee,[44] which didn’t become public knowledge until early January 2019, that is more than a decade after Good News, Bad News was released.

For readers whose minds are a bit fuzzy about McCloskey’s sexual misadventures, let me lay out the basic details which will help put the Shaw and McCloskey collaboration into a meaningful context.

Opus Dei Shields Sex Abuser

In November 2002, the Prelature received a complaint of sexual misconduct against the popular EWTN figure and conservative activist, Father John McCloskey, from a 40-year-old woman receiving spiritual direction from the Opus priest.[45]

The victim said she was groped several times by McCloskey during their pastoral counseling sessions that involved her marital troubles and serious depression. Ironically, it was she who suffered guilt and shame not McCloskey. At one point, she went to confession to her abuser, who sha said absolved her of “her sins.”

If true, this was an excommunicable and reserved offense by McCloskey.[46] But, as far as we know, this did not overly distress Opus officials who have difficulty in distinguishing between God’s work and Opus – they are one and the same for the Prelature.

It took Opus management a year after the first [one of three] sexual abuse complaint was filed to remove McCloskey from the Catholic Information Center in 2003, at which time it was decided to get McCloskey out of the country until the fires of scandal faded away. He was sent to an Opus residence in London where he actively engaged in conservative Catholic and Opus circles.

While McCloskey was cooling his heels in England, after extended legal negotiations beginning in 2004, the victim received a whopping settlement of $977,000, which was donated, according to Opus, by an undisclosed Prelature patron. The 2005 settlement included a mutual non-disclosure agreement meaning that for all practical purposes, the McCloskey scandal would be kept secret from the public including Opus Dei’s general membership.

Confident that the almost one million dollar payout would insure indefinite confidentiality, in January 2005, Opus Rome officials brought McCloskey back to the States and resettled him in the Archdiocese of Chicago under Cardinal Francis George, OMI. Opus informed Cardinal George of the details of the sex abuse incident and promised him that the priest would be kept on a tight leash. The promise was not kept.[47] McCloskey kept his faculties, and continued to hear confessions, and say Mass at St. Mary of the Angels and other churches in the Chicago area.[48]

Shaw Teams Up With McCloskey

According to McCloskey, the idea for collaborating on a book about “respect for the dignity of the human person and his interior freedom,” came from the retired Shaw during an earlier visit by the journalist to see McCloskey at the CIC in Washington, D.C.[49] Shaw believed that McCloskey was the personification of the ideal Catholic evangelizer and proselytizer, and Opus officials ( I’d like to think), failed to inform him that such was not the case. McCloskey had engaged in criminal actions, even though he hadn’t spent a day in jail.

Not only did Opus fail to take immediate action to quell the co-writing of the book between Opus Shaw with Opus McCloskey, but when Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion, and the Crisis of Faith was released by Ignatius Press in 2007, McCloskey was endlessly praised in the Opus-controlled Catholic press for his abilities as “a friend and teacher” to make Catholic converts, especially rich and influential converts.[50]

Here is a sampling of the adulation poured out on McCloskey by an almost exclusively loyal but largely clueless Opus cliental when Good News, Bad News made its way into print:

    Father C. John McCloskey is one of the most dynamic apostles of Jesus I have ever known. He has the ability to present the good news of our redemption through the saving life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord persuasively, enthusiastically, invitingly. … This is a must read.” ~William E. May[51]

    From personal experience, I can testify that Father C. John McCloskey is one of America's great Catholic evangelizers. This book is a unique, fascinating guide of how and why to convert and it should be must reading for all Catholics. ~Robert D. Novak[52]

    Through their friendship and their family life, Catholics converted the Roman Empire, one person at a time. This book shows you how it was done-and how it's still done today. It's a book that can change the world all over again. ~Dr. Scott Hahn[53]

    This book ranks with Karl Stern's Pillar of Fire and Thomas Merton's Seven Story Mountain as an indispensable spiritual road map for the perplexed, the sorely bent and the broken. … ~Dr. Bernard Nathanson[54]

    No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, pick this book up and be transformed both inside and out. ~Raymond Arroyo[55]

    When it comes to leading people into full communion with the Catholic Church, Fulton J. Sheen was the John McCloskey of his day. ~Robert P. George[56]

    I've often wished that the call to Christian witness could come with a user's manual. Now it does, and the book is written by two true heroes of the apostolate. Do the world a favor and read this book today! ~Mike Aquilina[57]

    … McCloskey and Shaw have provided us with an indispensable guide for bringing others to where we are all called – home to Christ and his Catholic Church, the home of Truth and Divine Love. ~Samuel Gregg[58]

    In McCloskey and Shaw we have examples of men who contradict the vacuous dictum that those who cannot do, teach. They teach what they have done, and have done well. What they say is both faithful and reasonable and the combination has already affected many lives. ~Fr. George William Rutler[59]

    Fr. C. John McCloskey has written a book from an uncommon vantage point: the perspective of a clear-eyed, optimistic Christian who focuses, not on the obstacles to religious belief in our society, but on the incredible opportunities for evangelization. ~Christopher Wolfe[60]

    McCloskey and Shaw have put forth a clarion call to the laity to proclaim the Gospel and defend the Faith. Good News, Bad News is filled with inspiring stories, concrete advice, and a clear theological vision of what it means to be a disciple and witness of Jesus Christ in a culture in desperate need of the Truth." ~Carl Olson[61]

    Good News gives Christians of today a clear guide on how to reach out to people and disseminate the truth about life. The many personal stories about how human beings opened their souls to the Lord's calling have one implicit element in common: McCloskey's extending himself to meet and understand human beings as they are. God does the conversion, but McCloskey has helped open minds and hearts by an apostleship based on prayer, knowledge about his faith, example, and courage. ~Alejandro Antonio Chafuen[62]

    Without conversion there will be no evangelization, that is the good news and the bad news. The call to change is the very heart of the gospel and the new evangelization demands it. ~Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio[63]

    "Evangelizing" sometimes has a bad name. But Father McCloskey and Russell Shaw show why this needn't be the case. In fact, they explain why evangelization is every Christian's responsibility and how to evangelize with both zeal and genuine respect for others. ~Sen. Rick Santorum[64]

    Readers are guaranteed to find this book highly intelligent, unabashedly orthodox, and splendidly readable. The team of "Fr. C. John" and Russell Shaw would be very difficult to beat. ~Thomas Howard[65]

One can only wonder at how these and thousands of other faithful Opus supporters, most especially Russell Shaw, reacted when the McCloskey scandal made front page news in January of 2019, and Opus officials were forced to admit that they were aware of the priest’s sexual attacks on a vulnerable Opus-sympathetic women as early as 2002, but skillfully hid the facts of the case for over 16 years.

Fr. Charles John McCloskey III died on February 23, 2023.

Russell Shaw, who played a major role in the Opus takeover of the Knights remains an influential Catholic writer and advocate for the Prelature till this day.

Biographical Notes on Carl Anderson

My notations on Carl Anderson, the second key figure in this series on the takeover of the Knights by Opus Dei are not as copious as those for Russell Shaw as there are long periods of time when there is an almost total blackout of his occupational activities particularly as they relate his systematic rise up the Knights’ corporate ladder beginning in 1987 and consummating in his election as the thirteenth Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus on October 2000, a post he kept for twenty-one years, much to the advantage of Opus.

For this writer, the main difference between Shaw and Anderson is that I have never met the former, whereas I was well acquainted with Anderson when he was beginning his political career in Washington, D.C. and continuing through the Reagan Administration years.

Anderson Joins Senator Helms Staff

Born on February 27, 1951, in Torrington, Conn., lawyer Carl Andrew Anderson received his Batchelor degree in Philosophy from Seattle University, a private Jesuit Catholic institution in 1972, and his law degree from the University of Danver in 1975, and is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia.

In the early 1970s, this writer, as founder and Director of the U.S. Coalition for Life (USCL) a prolife research agency specializing in anti-life federal government domestic and foreign legislation, was in regular contact with prolife Congressional and Senatorial aides including the implacable prolifer, James Lucier, chief legislative aide for foreign affairs in the office of Republican Senator Jesse Helms (N.C.).

One of Senator Helms’ first prolife acts following the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973, was to attach an anti-abortion rider to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA).[66]

In 1974, following Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision, Senator Helms also introduced a (no exception) Human Life Constitutional Amendment. The reader will note that contrary to some “prolife” revisionist misinformation, there was a time when baby-killing in the womb was held to be abhorrent to many U.S. Republican and Democratic congressmen and senators who believed that abortion needed to be outlawed, not “regulated.”

That same year, 1974, the USCL sent a twelve-member prolife team to the United Nations World Population Conference in Bucharest, Romania thanks to the backing of prolife groups and the Catholic press around the nation.”[67] The USCL team made an international impact and put the International Population Control Establishment on notice that their anti-life monopoly of U.S. tax dollars to promote contraception, abortifacients, surgical abortion, and mass sterilization around the world was at an end.[68]

As a result of the successful Bucharest prolife venture, this writer subsequently testified on USAID antilife legislation before the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, and the USCL became a regular resource for prolife Congressman and Senators aides seeking detailed information on USAID’s violation of the Helms Amendment – which brings us to one of the main figures of this series, Carl Anderson.

It was in 1976 that the USCL received a surprise call from a young man who introduced himself as Carl Anderson, a new Legislative Assistant from Senator Helms’ office, who basically wanted to be briefed on how USAID was promoting and funding abortion thereby circumventing and/or violating the Helms anti-abortion amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act.

For the record, between 1965 and 1975, USAID’ Office of Population provided $732,000,000.00 in tax dollars to carry population control programs around the world – programs based almost entirely on early abortifacients, aka, the Pill and the IUD, surgical abortion, and mass sterilization.[69]

In the mid-1970s, the USCL was able to document that not only was the USAID Office of Population Affairs pouring millions of tax dollars into the antilife International Fertility Research Program(IFRP) at Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Senator Helm’s home state), but that the IFRP’s three directors, Elton Kessel, George Stathes, and J. Harvey Lucas had, in turn, used USAID tax funds to incorporate a new non-profit, tax-exempt agency called the International Pregnancy Advisory Services (IPAS), which provides abortion equipment including early menstrual extraction kits; provides an abortion loan program, and promotes and coordinates mass abortion programs around the world.

Over a period of months in which this writer provided Carl Anderson with detailed information on USAID’s abortion and forced mass sterilization programs, we became good friends and remained so even after 1983 when Anderson left Helm’s Senate office for an important position in the new Republican Administration. In all our personal conversations over the years, that included familiar banter about his family and mine – he married Dorian Jean Lounsbury in 1972 and have five children and eleven grandchildren – the subject of Opus Dei never came up until he went to the White House.

Anderson, Reagan, John Paul II, and Opus Dei

Between 1983 and 1987, Carl Anderson became a very important figure in the White House under President Ronald Reagan. As Special Assistant to the President and Acting Director of the Office of Public Laison for special interest groups including Opus Dei, with its unique and dominant relationship over the Polish-born Pope John Paul II, that relationship obviously grew. Anderson met Pope John Paul in 1981and every year since then until the pope’s death on April 2, 2005.[70]

According to Canadian/Swiss writer, Robert Hutchison, author of Their Kingdom Come- Inside the Secret World of Ops Dei:

    Anderson was an Opus Dei member and as such his apostolate was to attract others in milieu into the Work. But he was unlikely to have been the only one working inside the Reagan Administration.[71]

Hutchinson’s statement is independently backed up by Central Intelligence Agency specialist and journalist David Wise, author of Spy: The Inside Story of How the FBI’s Robert Hans¬sen Betrayed America (2002), in which a Wise source observed:

    Tenley Center[72] [an Opus Dei D.C. Study Center in Washington, D.C.] had

    strong ties to the Reagan Administration. “Half of the Reagan White House would come to meetings at Tenley House,” the source told Wise. “Opus Dei is very strong on recruiting people, and once they have you, they don't let go. They're all over you.”… [Robert] Hanssen was also a regular at the Opus Dei Catholic Information Center (CIC) in downtown Washington.[73]

There is good reason to believe that there was already a strong but secret connection between Anderson and the Prelature prior to his White House appointment because, in 1983, Anderson was also given the position of visiting professor of family law at the Opus-funded and controlled Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

Following President Reagan’s first historical private interview with Pope John Paul II on June 7, 1982, Opus Dei now loomed as a major player in the new administration, and in the Vatican and anti-Communist Polish politics of Pope John Paul II and his alter ego, the Spanish Opus numerary Joaquín Navarro-Valls, journalist, psychiatrist, fellow actor, and image-maker, who served the papal office and its appointments as the Director of the Holy See Press Office beginning in 1984.

In the mid-1980s, in my last conversation with Carl Anderson, while he was still working for the Reagan Administration, he offered this writer a top position in the USAID Population Office which was immediately declined for familial reasons. I never spoke to him again after 1987 when he joined Russell Shaw as the Knights’ Vice-President for Public Policy headquartered in Washington, D.C. and he began his systematic climb up the Knights corporate order which we will cover in the next installment of this series.

(To be continued)


[1] Much of Shaw’s intimate biography [partially edited] is taken from The Way of the Lord Jesus by Germain Grisez twotlj.org). See also Germain G. Grisez’s book, Beyond the New Morality: The Responsibilities of Freedom, Notre Dame Press, Ind. 1974. Shaw was a contributor to this 3-volume series.

[2] See Randy Engel, The Rite of Sodomy, “The Homosexual Network in AmChurch,” New Engel Publishing, 2006, at https://www.newengelpublishing.com/.

[3] Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, a Spanish engineer and Escriva’s closest companion, was beatified on September 27, 2014. After his ordination, Escrivá instructed him to go to Rome where Alvaro built Opus Dei’s headquarters, worked on Opus Dei’s legal status, supervised its expansion throughout Italy, received a doctorate in canon law summa cum laude, and served as the first rector of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. Alvaro served as Escriva’s confessor and right hand. Note that following his death, Portillo was laid out in Jewish fashion on the floor. A picture of Pope John Paul II at Portillo’s funeral preparation, praying over Portillo’s mortal remains, is captured by Santiago at OPUS DEI – TROJAN HORSE OF LIBERALISM IN THE CHURCH (PART III) (mysteriuminiquitatis-2thessalonians2.blogspot.com).

[4] Working for God the world over: What is Opus Dei?: Shaw, Russell: Amazon.com: Books.

[5] Ibid., p.9.

[6] Ibid., p.3.

[7] See the appendix to Pope Pius IX’s encyclical Quanta Qura called the Syllabus of Errors at The Syllabus Of Errors – Papal Encyclicals.

[8] Mirari Vos – Papal Encyclicals. Pope Gregory XVI condemns “absolute liberty”; the “liberty of perdition”; the “liberty of conscience and worship as each man’s personal right,” and the “ecumenical mind-set,” all of which Escriva promoted as the foundations of Opus Dei. The Work includes “cooperators, men and women of any belief or no belief at all, under the guise of “pluralism.”

[9] Ibid., p. 4.

[10] See Libertas (June 20, 1888) | LEO XIII (vatican.va). See Libertas (June 20, 1888) | LEO XIII (vatican.va).

[11] See Notre Charge Apostolique – Papal Encyclicals. Pius X stated: “they [Sillon leaders] have a particular conception of human dignity, freedom, justice and brotherhood; and, in an attempt to justify their social dreams, they put forward the Gospel, but interpreted in their own way; and what is even more serious, they call to witness Christ, but a diminished and distorted Christ.

[12] Ibid., p. 7.

[13] Ibid., p. 9.

[14] Ibid., p. 8.

[15] Santiago. See

[16] Ibid., p. 11. See also, Jean Jacques Thierry, Opus Dei – A Close-up, Cortland Press, NY, NY, 1975, p.98.

[17] See J.J.M. Garvey, A Parents Guide to Opus Dei, NYC, 1989. Although Opus systematically violates parents rights, it promotes itself as a defender if parental rights. See Opus Dei – Family and Raising Children.

[18] My thanks to Father J.M. who provided the following insights: “And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work; with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. 18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.” That is, working BEFORE SIN was a blessing, AFTER SIN it became a curse in the natural form of things. … In addition, note the subtle part of the Opus idea that focuses on self, sanctifying oneself through work etc. However, in the traditional way we are to forget self, give ones whole self, by His grace, to do His will. Adam did his own will and failed. It’s not what 'I' do, it’s what the Lord wants me to do in the present moment by His grace. The height of sanctity is the complete abandonment of oneself, the consecration of one's whole self to Him.

[19] Rabbi Angel Kreiman links Opus Dei Escriva's teaching on work to Talmudic Tradition – Forum | Fitzpatrick Informer (fitzinfo.net).

[20] Joan Estruch, Saints and Schemers-Opus Dei and Its Paradoxes, translated from the Spanish by E.L. Glick, Oxford University Press, NY, 1995, pp. 245-256.

[21] See Santiago, Part III at OPUS DEI – TROJAN HORSE OF LIBERALISM IN THE CHURCH (PART III) (mysteriuminiquitatis-2thessalonians2.blogspot.com).

[22] Shaw, “Working for God,” p. 23.

[23] Ibid., p. 25.

[24] For additional background on Rev. Father Vallet see Nicolas Dehan’s “Opus Dei: a strange pastoral phenomenon.” It was Dehan who first introduced this writer to Father Vallet. The English translation from the French of the Dehan article made by Suzanne Rini is available at Opus Dei: a strange pastoral phenomenon – District of the USA (sspx.org).

[25] Pierre de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, Harper Perennial, N.Y., 1965. As Santiago notes in Part III of his series, Baron Yves Marsaudon, a former official of the Roman Catholic Knights of Malta and a 33degree Scottish Freemason, and author of Ecumenicalism Viewed by a Freemason of Tradition, claims that Chardin’s works were among the most popular books found in masonic lodges.

[26] See OPUS DEI – TROJAN HORSE OF LIBERALISM IN THE CHURCH (PART IV) (mysteriuminiquitatis-2thessalonians2.blogspot.com). Note The Divine Milieu was not published until 1957, two years after Chardin died.

[27] Ibid., p. 113.

[28] Ibid., p.24.

[29] Ibid., p.27

[30] Ibid., p.30.

[31] Ibid., p. 31.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid. p. 33.

[35] Ibid., p. 37.

[36] Shaw, .p.28.

[37] See Engel, “The Special Case of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin,” The Rite of Sodomy (2006), pp. 889-917.

[38] Ibid.

[39] The Pittsburgh Catholic, February 10, 1995.Shaw does not mention a particular document, but he is referring to Pope Pius XI’s encyclical, On Christ Education (Divini illius magistri) issued on December. 31, 1929, in which the Roman pontiff condemns the “ugly” term and practice of so-called “sex education,” that “falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.” See Shaw’s condemnation of Mothers’ Watch in The Washington Times, “Sex Education and the Catholic Church,” July 20, 1994.

Divini Illius Magistri (December 31, 1929) | PIUS XI (vatican.va).

[40] Attorney James M. Bendell, Virginia Right to Life Newsletter, “Lawyer Challenges HLI’s President.” (Undated).

[41] Mothers’ Watch, “HLI – Teen STAR – Hanna Klaus ,and Population Control,” 2000.

[42] “Sex education in parochial Schools,” The Washington Times, May 11, 1994).

[43] Father McCloskey attended Columbia University and was A Wall Street magnet and Opus numerary prior to being ordained in 1981 at Torreciudad, Spain, the location of the Opus Dei Marian shrine built in Aragon by Escrivá in 1975. He served as chaplain at Princeton before becoming head of Opus’ Catholic Information Center, a powerhouse for conservative Congressmen and Senators and Washington, D.C. elite.

[44] C. John McCloskey: Opus Dei paid $977,000 to settle sexual misconduct claim against prominent Catholic priest – The Washington Post.

[45] Statements Regarding Fr. C. John McCloskey – Opus Dei.

[46] Canon 1378 imposes a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication for any priest who hears a confession, and grants absolution, to a person with whom he commits a sexual sin. Although more common among homosexual priests, the practice also applies to heterosexual clerics. Canon 1378 imposes a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication for any priest who hears a confession, and grants absolution, to a person with whom he commits a sexual sin. Although more common among homosexual priests, the practice also applies to heterosexual clerics.

[47] Fr. C. John McCloskey, Opus Dei, and me | Sean Dailey (patheos.com).

[48] Christopher White, “Case of Opus Dei Priest raises fresh questions about clerical abuse crisis,” Crux, January 15, 2019.

[49] Zenit, Don't Just Keep the Faith, Spread It (catholiceducation.org).

[50] McCloskey is given credit for the conversion of prominent public figures including Senator Sam Brownback, economist Larry Kudlow, Judge Robert Bork, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, journalist Robert Novak and publisher Alfred Regnery.

[51] Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith (catholicity.com)

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Section 114 reads: “Limiting use of funds for abortion – None of the funds made available to carry out this part (Part I of the Act) shall be used to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce anyone to practice abortions.”

[67] The USCL members of the Bucharest International Team included Chairs Dr. Albert Kapusinski (USA) and Rev. Paul Marx (USA), and Professor Charles Rice (USA), John Harrington (Canada), George Barmann (USA), Rev. Pedro Richards (Uruguay), Dr. Herbert Ratner (USA), Dr. John Linklater (England), Dr. Patrick Dunn (New Zealand), Rev. Michel Welters (Haiti), Rev. Anthony Zimmerman (Japan) and the only prolife woman on the team, Frances Frech (USA).

[68] See doc.php (uscl.info).

[69] Forty-six million dollars went into the development of new means of fertility control including the Ravenholt-backed once-a-month pill that would insure the non-pregnant state at the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. One hundred-forty million dollars went directly to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and a sundry of other population control groups including the Pathfinder Fund, the Rockefeller Population Council, and Population Services International. One hundred-five million went to university, private, and quasi-governmental agencies to institute population control research and propaganda programs. Copies of the Pro-Life Reporter on USAID population control funding are available at www.uscl.info.

[70] See National Catholic Register Interview, March 24, 2021 at Former Knights of Columbus Chief Sees Two Decades as Living Call of Discipleship| National Catholic Register (ncregister.com).

[71] Robert Hutchison, Their Kingdom Come-Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei, Doubleday, London, 1997, p. 360.

[72] Tenley Center, a spacious Opus residence complex located on Garrison Street, NW, in Washington, D.C. is an exclusive “study center” for young upward-bound male students at middle school through college levels. Its stated mission is to provide academic and character formation to young men whose spiritual care is entrusted to Opus Dei. It is staffed by Opus numeraries who collect no salaries. Annual budget is within the three-quarters of a million dollar range (IRS 990 Forms). Note that the reference to superspy Robert Hanssen will be followed up in Part IX of this series.

[73] Breaking the Opus Dei code: the secretive Catholic group's name means 'Work Of God,' but in Washington, D.C., that divine task has a decidedly political bent. – Free Online Library (thefreelibrary.com).

© Randy Engel


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Randy Engel

Randy Engel, one of the nation's top investigative reporters, began her journalistic career shortly after her graduation from the University of New York at Cortland, in 1961. A specialist in Vietnamese history and folklore, in 1963, she became the editor of The Vietnam Journal, the official publication of the Vietnam Refugee and Information Services, a national relief program in South Vietnam for war refugees and orphans based in Dayton, Ohio... (more)


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