Opus Dei does good PR

Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times has a solid story today about the efforts of Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic group that figures negatively in The Da Vinci Code, to take the edges of its cultish image before the film is released in May. She writes that the group is “promoting a blog by an Opus Dei priest in Rome, revamping its Web site and even arranging interviews with a member said to be the only “real Silas” in Opus Dei — a Nigerian-born stockbroker who lives in Brooklyn.”

A word on that bit about Silas: there is an evil monk by that name in the film.

I am no fan of Opus Dei’s. But I admire their efforts to get out in front of the negative publicity that is surely coming their way, perhaps even turning it to their advantage. I wish my Church had done something similar in the midst of the controversy surrounding the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The Church’s decision to consecrate a gay bishop who lived openly with his parnter alienated a lot of people–some of them Episcopalians. But +Gene’s consecration also impressed a lot of people. Unfortunately, we’ve made little effort to draw members of that second group into our Church. This June, when our General Convention convenes in Columbus, Ohio, our Church’s stance on human sexuality will be in the news once again. This time, I hope we take better advantage of the opportunity to reach out to people of all denominations who believe that treating gay people differently than straight people is simply wrong.

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