The organization is officially endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church. It grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, known as the Holy Crusaders, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. The non-combatant members of the Order managed large economic establishments, introduced new financial techniques that were noted in the literature as formation of banking, and built many fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land. When the Holy Land was lost, King Philip IV of France who was deeply in debt to the Order, pressured Pope Clement V to move against the Order. Pope Clement disbanded the Knights Templar in 1312.
In the early 20th century , the Roman Catholic church in Spain was anxious on the growing anti-religious skepticism and a great fear of losing the bourgeoisie evolved. A Spanish priest, Jos Mara Escriv de Balaguer, decided to start a new Catholic movement and founded the Opus Dei or "Work of God" in 1928 to face struggle against perceived enemies including secularism, Republicanism, communism and Freemasonry. Opus Dei was formed as a new Catholic group that combine traditional theology with modern methods of spreading the Word of God (Beckett, 2005). The Opus Dei is primarily a lay movement, 98% of which are lay Catholics with some priest members. It is governed by an apostolic convention headed by a bishop. The lay people are taught to sanctify their daily lives, especially in work. It places great emphasis that God should be a part of daily life. Opus Dei is centrally organized with specific categories and classes for its members. It is very powerful and influential to the Catholic Church and well-funded and very wealthy. The organization gained power by recruiting agents of influence within the banking, industry, communications and the academic professions. It exerted significant influence on church policy. The movement found favor from Pope John Paul II who elevated the order to the status of "Personal Prelature, "meaning that it is ultimately accountable only to the Pope. This authorizes the organization to go on with their business without being regulated by the bishops. Opus Dei is considered as the elites of the conservative wing of the Vatican, surpassing other Orders such as the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in influence. Opus Dei is able to influence the Vatican's agenda through the presence of its members in secular governments and institutions, academic, medical and grassroots sectors of society. From this perspective, Opus Dei is the Roman Catholic is like the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages. It is also the equivalent of militant Christian Reconstructionist Protestant groups and other religious dominant groups who claims mandate from God to take dominion of governments, societies, nations and all individuals. Its rapid success brought suspicion/speculation about new Opus Dei takeover of Rome" (Allen, 2001).
The Opus Dei is facing a lot of criticisms. Their desire for secrecy, their overreliance on authority like having people read their mail if a full member, and having people tell you what you can read or not read if you are a subordinate, and the heavy-handed recruiting techniques, made the Opus Dei appear like a cult. The press in the United States describe Opus Dei as secretive, powerful, cultlike, dangerous, and mysterious. The Opus Dei claim that their belief is the only way to holiness for a lay person. Another practice of Opus