Arthur Silber points out that Rick Santorum hangs out with the folks at Opus Dei. Why am I not surprised?
According to the National Catholic Reporter, Santorum attended the congress in Rome that commemorated Opus Dei's 100th anniversary -- "Santorum told NCR he is not a member of Opus Dei, but an admirer of [the group's founder, Josemaria] Escriva."
I'm not sure this really means he's not a member. As Time, among others, has noted, the group is closed-mouthed about the identity of its members.
Escriva became a saint in 2002. Here's some background information from an article that appeared in The Guardian at the time of the canonization:
Escriva's ultra-conservative movement, which recruited many of its members from Spain's wealthy and powerful families, flourished under Franco and eventually provided ministers to his governments.
Opus Dei's 84,000 members around the world deny he actively supported Franco - though Escriva went into hiding to avoid anti-clerical factions in Republican Spain when the civil war broke out in 1936.
...former members have complained that Opus Dei, whose extreme members expiate sins by committing self-flagellation, exercises a cult-like control over followers.
Members are divided into two groups. Supernumerary followers can marry, have families and are expected to lead exemplary lives. A small number of members take vows of chastity, live in sex-segregated communities and give much of their income to Opus....
Jesus Ynfante, author of the critical Founding Saint of Opus Dei, says that [Escriva] was an unashamed fascist. "He had Madrid under his control, starting with the dictator. Under Franco the clerical fascism of Opus Dei won out over the true fascism of the Falange [political party]," he wrote....
Oh yeah, about that flagellation -- this is from another National Catholic Reporter article, one that's quite sympathetic to Escriva:
I read a new biography by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, Vatican writer for the local paper Il Giornale and someone with whom I’ve shared papal travel. He describes a moment in 1937, in Madrid during the Spanish civil war, when Escriva and his early band of followers were stuck in the city’s Honduran consulate (their previous hiding place from the Republican anti-clerical forces having been a madhouse). Typically, Tornielli writes, Escriva would ask for the use of the bedroom alone when it was time for his spiritual practices. Once, however, his chief aide, Fr. Alvaro del Portillo (who would later succeed Escriva as head of Opus Dei), was sick and could not leave the room. Escriva thus told Portillo to cover his head with his blanket. Portillo described what followed: “Soon I began to hear the forceful blows of his discipline. I will never forget the number: there were more than a thousand terrible blows, precisely timed, and always inflicted with the same force and the same rhythm. The floor was covered with blood, but he cleaned it up before the others came in.”
And Opus Dei members practice "corporal mortification" to this day, as the Opus Dei Awareness Network notes. Some techniques:
Cilice : a spiked chain worn around the upper thigh for two hours each day, except for Church feast days, Sundays, and certain times of the year. This is perhaps the most shocking of the corporal mortifications, and generally Opus Dei members are extremely hesitant to admit that they use them. It is a painful mortification which leaves small prick holes in the flesh, and makes the Opus Dei members tentative about wearing swim suits wherever non-Opus Dei members may be.
Discipline : a cord-like whip which resembles macrame, used on the buttocks or back once a week. Opus Dei members must ask permission to use it more often, which many do. The story is often told in Opus Dei that the Founder was so zealous in using the discipline, he splattered the bathroom walls with streaks of blood.
Remember -- Rick Santorum thinks normal lovemaking between two men is weird, but this is OK.
(Thanks to Atrios for the first link.)