As the Founder of Opus Dei and the force behind a wide range of university-level educational centres all over the world, could you tell us both why Opus Dei has started these centres and what are the principal features of its contribution to this level of teaching?
The aim of Opus Dei is that many people all over the world may come to know both in theory and in practice that it is possible to sanctify their ordinary tasks, their daily work; that it is possible to seek Christian perfection in the middle of the world without having to give up the work in which our Lord decided to call us. Thus, the most important apostolate of Opus Dei is that which each member carries out individually, through his professional work done with the greatest human perfection possible — despite my personal shortcomings and those which each individual may have — in all environments and in all countries: for among the members of Opus Dei there are people of some seventy countries of all races and social conditions.
Besides, Opus Dei as a corporation, with the help of very many people who do not belong to the Work and who often are not Christian, fosters corporate activities through which it seeks to contribute towards solving the many problems which face the world today: educational institutions, welfare centres, schools for professional development and advancement. etc.
The university-level institutions of which you speak are another aspect of this task. Their principal features can be enumerated as follows: to train people in personal freedom and in personal responsibility. With freedom and responsibility, people work enthusiastically and wholeheartedly, and there is no need for controls or supervision. Everyone feels at home and therefore all you need is a simple schedule. Another characteristic is the spirit of living together in harmony without discrimination of any kind. Here, in this living together, personality takes shape. Each individual learns that, in order to be able to demand respect for his own freedom, he must respect the freedom of others.
Finally, there is the spirit of human brotherhood. Each person's individual talents have to be placed at the service of others: if not, they are of little use. The corporate works which Opus Dei conducts throughout the world are always at the service of everyone, because they are a Christian service.