Besides the obvious lure of Tyco lucre, McCloskey is drawn to converts of a particular ideology. His list of converts beyond Belinick and Regnery sounds like a conspiracy theorist's dream:
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, who was personally involved in 75,000 abortions, before becoming a prominent pro-life advocate with the book "Aborting America" and the stunning video, "The Silent Scream."
- Lawrence Kudlow, a CNBC economic commentator, whose career was nearly ruined by a cocaine addiction before his conversion.
- Robert Novak, a syndicated political columnist for 40 years and a non-practicing Jew, often called "The Prince of Darkness" for his gloomy presence on CNN's "Crossfire" and "The Capital Gang."
- U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Methodist and a conservative who teamed up with liberal Sen. Paul Wellstone to sponsor a law to curb sex trafficking, which brings 50,000 prostitutes for brothels in the U.S. annually.
- Judge Robert Bork, who was nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, but suffered defeat in a Democratic Senate opposed to his pro-life views.
With its single-minded devotion to wealth and power, does it come as any shock that Opus Dei is a glimpse into the most craven soulless Republicanism of the American 21st century?
And McCloskey himself, where did he come from? Why surprise, surprise: he picked up his soul-harvesting tricks at Merrill Lynch, where he learned the sales techniques of the world's Number One wealth manager.
Only this time, instead of selling hedge funds, he's selling homophobia: "[A gay civil union] opens the door to anything from incest to bestiality," said McCloskey. "The whole question is: What is a family? What constitutes a marriage? There's no wiggle room, certainly, in that area." (Let's leave the intensely criminal homosexuality of Catholic clergy aside for the moment. Our theme today is cabalistic power, not institutionally-endorsed pedophilia.)
So is Opus Dei just a curious self-flaggelating cult, or is it the same old conspiracy we've grown so used to: media, publishing, finance and politics — all huddled in one sanctimonious chapel together to screw everyone else?
In its goofy sensationalism, The DaVinci Code tells the wrong Opus Dei story. The one in which its members find themselves in eternal hellfire. But, of course, that's fiction.