Few of the conservative-minded members of Opus Dei have joined the resistance to Pope Francis. The leading thinker in the movement on why it remains loyal to a daring reformer
Opus Dei’s global second-in-command is a smart 59-year-old Argentine admirer of Charles Dickens who is close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio and keen to help people understand the once traditional notion that Catholics should be loyal to the Pope.
I first met Mgr Mariano Fazio in Buenos Aires in 2013. His small book on the new Pope’s thinking (now in English as Pope Francis: Keys to His Thought) included a chapter on how the then rector of Holy Cross university in Rome had come to know the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, at the Latin-American bishops’ gathering at Aparecida, Brazil, in May 2007. Fazio hadn’t lived in his home country for a quarter century; but when he stayed with Bergoglio and the other Argentine bishops the two became close, and the relationship continued after Fazio went back to Buenos Aires.
The bond continues now in Rome: Fazio sees Francis regularly since being made Opus Dei’s Vicar General in 2014. How is the Pope? The last time Fazio saw him he was leaving the Casa Santa Marta, walking with some difficulty: Francis has sciatica and some spinal problems but otherwise, says Fazio, his health is good, overall he is in better form than he was in Buenos Aires.