.- Britainâs recently appointed Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has come under fire in the British press for her association to Opus Dei, a Catholic group founded by St. Josemaria Escriva. She admitted on BBCâs Breakfast with Frost that she receives spiritual support from Opus Dei. The group has come under a lot of media scrutiny due to its strict observance of Church teachings and its unfavorable portrayal in the recent book, The DaVinci Code.
"People know that Iâm a Catholic and that I take it seriously. And I come to this job as a Catholic, as well as a parent and with all sorts of other influences," said Kelly.
The 36-year-old pledged, however, that her Catholic faith would not affect her position in public office and judgment as a minister.
Her political adversaries disagree, alleging that her faith may stop her advancing the governmentâs agenda on such matters as stem-cell research and abortion.
"I am absolutely clear that, as a member of this Government, I have collective responsibility for government policy," said Kelly, the youngest woman ever to be appointed to Cabinet.
She also denied telling Prime Minister Tony Blair she cannot work in the International Development Department because it distributes condoms to fight AIDS in Africa.
Kelly did not disclose in the interview whether she was a supernumerary, one of the terms used to describe committed members of Opus Dei.
Opus Dei has about 500 members in Britain and 80,000 worldwide.