While it fronts as an educational and spiritual organization giving guidance to lay Catholics, Opus Dei is the Vatican’s answer to the supernatural threats. They were established at some point during the 7th century. Few people within the church had the sight, but repeated incidences that ran against the church ideals about ‘magic’ and ‘witchcraft’ lead to the formation of this group.
They were established formally in the 7th century at the Vatican under another name. Their mission was fairly simple: Gather all possible information on the magical and supernatural. The idea was that the Church lacked enough information to deal effectively with the supernatural threats it faced. Which was true, most of the Churches efforts to deal with Supernatural threats were failures. So they started to collect magical tomes, make contact with early groups of Wicce and others to learn of them, and at least learned of many organizations that preferred to remain hidden.
After a century of work, their superiors came to a single conclusion: Only those with magic could fight magic and supernatural threats effectively. Mundane attempts to do so were several times more costly and took much more knowledge to be successful. Because of this, and using the links the proto-Opus Dei had, they were now to fashion a weapon for the Church. One which would later be known as the Sentinels, those with magical abilities which could stop threats the regular agents of the church failed at.
However the Church knew this was a short term solution. Fighting fire with fire, just lead to someone getting burned and they didn’t want it to be them. So the proto-Opus Dei would continue to collect the knowledge acquired during the activities of the Sentinels. During this time the Church publicly demonized most magic, but wasn’t active in hunting those humans who could use magic unless they caused problems. Instead as many gifted were gathered to be part of the Sentinels as possible and sent out to the far edges of the known world to tackle supernatural problems.
On December 5, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII ordered the Sentinels put down. He decreed that the time had come to put down all the remaining threats to the the Churches rule. The group that would become the Opus Dei had collected information they used to cripple all the Sentinels within Rome. Within days they had taken down all the Sentinels within Italy. Only those farthest away managed to escape the purge. At the same time it would mark the beginning of the use of the inquisition to actively hunt ‘witches’.
With the fall of the Sentinels the Opus Dei were retasked. Not only would they continue to gather and collect arcane lore, but they would be used to build a very special army. An army trained to take out supernatural and magical threats to the Church and it’s parishioners. They would also be the troops used in the inquisitiosn when hunting down witches. They continued in secret for hundreds of years. At least until the 20th century, which was when the Pope of the time gave it a public face and a new name.
Their public face was founded in 1928 in Spain when they gained their current name. That side of their organization was partnered by the Knights of Malta and was used to eradicate Communism. They formed links with Intelligence Agencies, Fascist Groups, and Secret Societies with the open agenda of defeating Communism. They worked with both the OSS and CIA to spirit away German scientists and Nazi fugitives at the end of World War II. Mafia produced Heroin and other narcotics flowed through those same channels only a few years later. All under the ideals of educating and giving guidance to lay Catholics on the outside. Internally these efforts were used to fund their own secret programs.
In modern times they recruit from the lay community to become soldiers in their army. With the advent of augmentation many willingly offer themselves up for mechanical augmentation to become more capable against supernatural threats. Those who do not are given training in the use of powered armor, several specific designs of which are exclusive to both the Church and the Opus Dei specifically.
All members of the Opus Dei are Roman Catholics with all the highest ranking members being clergy. So their primary beliefs are the ideals of that religion. However their task is much more specific. They are to bring an end to all the dark forces of the world or die trying. To accomplish this they continue to enhance what is arguably the most complete archive of occult lore in the world. For knowledge is power.
At the same time they maintain an army that is trained specifically in how to counter supernatural threats. It also maintains forces across the world in secret to protect Church interests.
The face of Opus Dei is composed of clergy under their own Bishop and they operate all over the world supporting church interests. It could be any other branch of the monolithic Catholic Church. Beneath this are two other sections of the Opus Dei. The Archivists and the Inquisition Army.
The Archivists maintain the occult archives in the Vatican. They are composed entirely of researchers from the ranks of the clergy. The researchers rarely if ever leave their posts. They also include a number of engineers and doctors who operate in a support role to the Inquisition Army. These will sometimes be found out in the field.
The Inquisition Army is composed of lay men and women who believe in their cause. They train to fight magical and supernatural threats. While the majority are stationed in the Vatican, though some can be found anywhere they are needed.
While clergy are chosen for their abilities and directed to work for Opus Dei, lay people have a more complex route. Usually these people are chosen for their dedication and natural aptitude. Opus Dei wants people who are intelligent and athletic yet absolutely dedicated to the Church. A few are victims of supernatural attacks which they survived. This was in fact much more common before modern times.
They have a very specific history with the Wicce (who they they helped murder in large numbers during the inquisitions), The Rosicrucians (who they also helped to hunt down during the inquisitions), The Knights Templar (who they had dealt with during the crusades), The Sentinels (who they actively tried to destroy), the Sidhe and Unseelie (who they have hunted since they existed), and literally hundreds of smaller groups. None of these groups is ever likely to trust or cooperate with Opus Dei.
Opus Dei also suspects that The Cabal may have influenced the Church over the centuries. It’s possible some of their agents are even among the clergy. They don’t let on they have a clue about that though and as their goals don’t specifically call for them to be in conflict they chose to ignore the Cabal unless they need to.
While not officially allies, The Combine is the closest in ideals. However they lack the core belief system of the Opus Dei and so are unlikely to be considered allies. Neither group knows any specific details of the other, however both know that some group like the other exists. That said of all other organizations they might be the only ones who would work together with the Opus Dei.
Skills and Abilities
One part of the faction is composed entirely of clergy and so have appropriate skills for that. The lay section is full of people trained with military and special operations skills, as well as occult lore and counter magic tactics.
All of their members are mundane, though their troops operate power armor or get mechanical augmentations.