HORRIFIC SELF-TORTURE OF IRELAND'S OPUS DEI MEMBERS; 20pc punish themselves daily with metal leg band.
ONE in every five Irish Opus Dei members subject themselves to physical abuse just like murderous monk Silas in The Da Vinci Code.
Many wear a cilice, a spiked band, around their leg for two hours a day and use a braided cord to beat themselves during prayer.
The group say 20 per cent of its Irish members live in celibate communities and undergo "corporal mortification" for spiritual benefit.
A major BBC documentary to be screened tonight about Opus Dei in Ireland shows how some in the cult torture themselves.
Film maker Michael Beattie spoke to a number of members of Opus Dei, which means God's work, who subject themselves to physical discomfort.
Mr Beattie said: "I hate to spoil the story but Opus Dei is not that much of a secret. And it doesn't have any monks, mad or sane.
"Most of the people I interviewed for the documentary are speaking publicly for the first time.
I found them sincere, devout Catholics, determined to bring their faith into every aspect of their lives.
"A small proportion live in a celibate community and practice corporal mortification.
"By this I mean they subject themselves to physical discomfort for their spiritual benefit. The cilices are worn two hours a day and apparently they come in single or triple row spikes.
"They are made in France and are shown in the film. They are not heavily spiked and do not break the flesh like the one shown in The Da Vinci Code.
"The whip or 'discipline' is used once a week during prayer. It is shown in the film also and is a braided cord used for beatings.
"I let the viewer decide whether these are normal people or religious nutters."
According to Beattie, Opus Dei has just 800 Irish members yet managed to raise d8million to renovate the stately Lismullen House in Co Meath where conferences are now held.
OPUS Dei Unveiled will be shown tonight on BBC1 at 10.40pm.
'Viewers will decide if they're normal or religious nutters'
- FILM MAKER MICHAEL BEATTIE
SINISTER: Silas the murderous monk from The Da Vinci Code