tract; brief treatise
The Opus Dei, also referred to as la Obra, is an influential but very controversial Catholic association formed in 1928 with the aim of spreading Christian principles in society. It has a direct link to the Vatican by virtue of a special "Personal Prelature" granted by John Paul II in 1982, which in practice means that it enjoys complete independence from local diocesan authorities. During the Franco era members of the Opus formed the intellectual backbone of the régime. Members of the Opus are particularly well-represented in educational circles: the universities of Pamplona in Spain and Piura in Peru are run by it. In 2002 the priest who founded Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, was canonized by Pope John Paul II.