I've had first-hand experience with Opus Dei ("ODDIES" as we used to call them at Uni).
My first Semester at university was spent at an Opus Dei residential college at the Unviversity of NSW (Warrane College). It was not advertised as an Opus Dei college. After one semester, I couldn't stand it any more and took refuge in New College (an Anglican college). I kept getting into trouble at Warrane for ridiculous things like speaking to a female student in front of the college entrance (females are not permitted to enter Warrane), also, because I would not attend Mass in the college chapel or go to the weekly Chaplain's talk. I did attend Mass there once to appease one of my friends there, and it was strange. During the Eucharist, even though they used the Novos Ordo, a huge screen consisting of copper plates with religious symbols was drawn across the Communion rail to screen the altar- kind of like an Iconostasis without the Icons; and Communion was distributed to kneeling communicants on the tongue only, which was strange, since I had attended a few funeral Masses before and never saw any of this.
I remember, I spent a lot of my time at Warrane in the gym punching the punching bag.
If these practices make George think they are a "sick cult," I shudder to think of what he considers Mount Athos. I am surprised to hear from Orthodox
criticisms about Opus Dei separating the sexes (except for the majority supernumeraries, who are married!), being strict, observing ascetic practices. What on Earth is wrong with that? The wonderful thing about St. Josemaria Escriva is he told the world that the way of perfection is NOT limited to "elite" classes of priests and monks. The layman, living in the world, can and should do the same.
St. Josemaria was on the fast track to canonization because so many reported miracles poured in during the years following his death---literally hundreds. It did not take long to verify the necessary two.
George, every Opus Dei Mass I've been to uses the "Benedictine altar arrangement"* and has communicants receive on the tongue with a paten under their chin.
And what is so unusual about this? The Holy Father does it:
Receiving on the hand, standing, is an EXCEPTION (indult) to the rule.
I am blessed to have a relationship with a local Opus Dei house. The good men there are serious about their faith and serious about evangelization. It's downright uncharitable to smear them as "sick cultists."