Spain: Opus Dei told to delete ex-member's data

Associated Press/December 4, 2011

By Harold Heckle

Madrid -- The conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei must remove the personal details of a former devotee from its records because she asked it to do so when she left, Spain's Supreme Court said.

The court upheld a prior ruling by the National Court which had ordered the removal of the woman's name, joining and leaving dates from the Vatican-supported movement's database.

The ruling, released late Saturday, said storing the details "ceased being necessary for the purposes which had originally justified their keeping because she decided to stop belonging to Opus Dei."

Opus Dei had based its appeal on a 1979 accord between Spain and the Holy See which it claimed guaranteed the inviolability of its archives.

The court said the former adherent's constitutional rights prevailed over agreements in the accord.

It said Spain's Constitution provided citizens "the fundamental right to protect personal data and guaranteed a person's right to control or dispose of such data."

Opus Dei was founded in Spain in 1928 by a Catholic priest and was given official Vatican approval by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

The group drew worldwide attention when "The Da Vinci Code" novel and film portrayed it as a murderous, power-hungry sect — a view the group vigorously protests.

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