I’d be very surprised if that’s all it was!
Let’s do some math…
Assuming they had only 5 people working on the canonization for the 20 years it took, and if it cost only $10,000 per year to support each of them, that would be $1,000,000 right there!
If you add in the cost of travel, documentation, research, bulletins promoting his cause, verification of the required miracles, the beatification ceremonies, etc., etc., etc., you can see that the total cost would be well over the $1,000,000 figure that critics complain about.
These are costs that are simply part of the process. Those who are promoting any person’s cause for beatification and canonization have to find a way to pay for them.
Given that Opus Dei has over 84,000 members, the $1,000,000 figure critics find so offensive would work out to less than $12 per member. And that would be assuming no one outside of the Work contributed.
Between 300,000 and 500,000 people attended the canonization. That’s three to six times the total membership of Opus Dei. And there were many, many thousands of people who wanted to attend but couldn’t.
It seems to me that this “criticism” is much ado about nothing. But that’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
One reader accused me of being disingenuous in my answer to this question. He says that the question had to do with accusations that Opus Dei “paid” the Vatican in a sort of “quid pro quo” to have Escrivá canonized. I have encountered these accusations on the Internet, but obviously would have no more personal knowledge of any such alleged deal than anyone else. All I can say is that I haven’t seen any evidence that this is true—just vague accusations of impropriety—and there would need to be complicity with many people in the Vatican, including Pope St. John Paul II, to pull off such a travesty of justice. I wonder how anyone making these accusations would have access to this information. You decide…
I will agree, though, that there is a great devotion in Opus Dei with regard to St. Josemaría. Personally, I don’t have a problem with this. I would be surprised if there weren’t, given that he was the founder, and obviously was fairly charismatic. He wouldn’t have been able to guide and “grow” Opus Dei as effectively as he did if he did not have such a dynamic and attractive personality. Wouldn’t it be kind of odd if the Franciscans didn’t venerate St. Francis?! Even the order’s nickname, “Franciscan,” points to a cult of personality! If the Jesuits didn’t have a great devotion to St. Ignatius and work to spread devotion to him, wouldn’t that be an indication they had, perhaps, lost their original charism?