Meanwhile, critics accuse Opus Dei of elitism. "Opus Dei has consistently sided with the powerful against the weak, theologically and politically," says Johann Hari. "Opus Dei has been a major force on the Catholic right opposing social change." Robert Hutchinson (1999) stated that it has become very powerful and is "the Catholic Church's paramount financial power."
As a result of his research, Allen says on the other hand that while the main apostolate and social work of the members takes place through their daily relationships, they also cooperate with other people in setting up many social initiatives. According to his 2005 study, there are at least 608 such projects in different countries guided by Opus Dei laity and priests: 41% of these are primary and secondary schools, 26% vocational-technical or agricultural training schools, 27% university residences, and the remaining 6% are 17 universities, 12 business schools and 8 hospitals.
He also reports that the worldwide revenue of Opus Dei is only that of a mid-sized American diocese. He says Opus Dei has only 39 bishops out of the 4,564 in the world. And there are only 20 members working in the Vatican, out of 3920 people in total who work there. John Cardinal O'Connor said: "I believe it critical to dispel the notion which borders on calumny that Opus Dei is concerned only about the wealthy and the well educated." Scott Appleby, a Catholic history expert at Notre Dame, estimates that through programs for nonmembers and the articulate piety of its members, Opus Dei informs "about a million conservative Catholics" in the U.S.