Law Professors

Law Prof Is Member of Opus Dei, Says Whipping Only 'Stings a Bit'


The Da Vinci Code was a public relations disaster for the Catholic organization Opus Dei, with its portrayal of a fictional, murdering monk.

A lay member of the organization, Seton Hall law professor John Coverdale, told the Washington Post that a goal of Opus Dei is to offer Christians a path to a holier life without being a priest or a nun. A tax professor, Coverdale has published a book on the growth of Opus Dei and co-hosted a series for the Eternal Word Television Network about the group’s founder, according to the Seton Hall website.

Members of Opus Dei go to daily Mass, and sometimes fast or give up a treat or pleasure, the Post says. And yes, there is “corporal mortification,” the story says, but not the way it’s depicted in The Da Vinci Code.

Coverdale wears a leg chain with dull spikes for a few hours each day when he prays, but it’s intended to be uncomfortable rather than to draw blood. And while Coverdale whips himself once or twice a week during prayers, it’s not bloody, he says.

“It doesn’t particularly hurt; maybe it stings a bit,” Coverdale told the Post.

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