Bill Barr is plugged into, and gets his marching ­orders from, a network of reactionary Catholics, whose tentacles reach into the highest echelons of power. At the center is a sinister, secretive organization with a Latin name: Opus Dei, “the Work of God.”

That’s the impression you might take away from a new profile of the attorney general in The New Yorker. All that’s missing are the hair shirts, cilices and murderous albino monks — the kind of thing too many secular elites believe about the lives of devout ­Catholics generally and members of Opus Dei especially.

The winding and often tendentious essay paints Barr as President Trump’s wartime consigliere, out to dish payback to the US intelligence community for launching #RussiaGate — rather than, you know, look into real abuses recognized as such by foreign-intelligence judges and even FBI honcho Christopher Wray.

Along the way, writer David Rohde dwells on Barr’s Catholic faith and worldview. He brings up Barr’s association with the Catholic Information Center, a small cultural nonprofit in Washington, where swamp denizens stop by to buy spiritual books, hear the Mass and generally find uplift.

“Led by a member of the arch-conservative group Opus Dei, the center is a hub for Washington’s influential conservatives,” Rohde darkly suggests. “The center’s board of directors ­remains a nexus of politically connected Catholics. [White House counsel] Pat Cipollone and Barr have both served on the board, as has Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society.”

It could be that these men meet at the CIC afterhours to plot how to install Melania Trump as the Most Catholic Empress of the Americas. … Or it could be that they, like members of any other faith, seek spiritual fellowship and give their nonworking hours to helping others find the same.

As far as Barr-Opus Dei conspiracy theories go, Rohde’s was relatively mild. The Guardian in October mentioned Barr’s connection to the CIC, which it said is “staffed by priests from the secretive, ultra-orthodox Catholic sect Opus Dei.” The same month, The Nation’s Joan Walsh sounded the alarm about Barr’s links to “extremist Catholic institutions,” while an article on the liberal Web site ­Alternet speculated that Barr may be an Opus Dei member. The group, it said, had taught Barr to “put away his scruples.”

This is egregious nonsense. For starters, Barr isn’t, in fact, a member, as the organization was forced to clarify in November, breaking its usual policy of not identifying members or non-members. More important, people who attend Opus Dei ­activities don’t show up for ­ominous conspiracies.

They — we — go to grow in holiness in our daily lives. Josemaría Escrivá, the Spanish priest who founded the group in 1928, believed that ordinary Catholics, not just priests and monks, could become saints through their humdrum lives of work and marriage. In 2002, Pope John Paul II recognized Escrivá as the “saint of ordinary life.”

To be very clear, I’m not a member of Opus Dei. But I get my spiritual guidance from a priest of the group in Manhattan, sometimes attend Opus Dei activities and “cooperate” by donating a small amount monthly and praying for the success of its work.

The people I meet at these ­activities come from every race and economic background. They try to live lives of prayer, close to the Catholic Church’s sacraments. The expectation is to begin and end each day with 30 minutes of silent prayer, to attend Mass and say the Rosary daily and go to confession once a week.

A typical “evening of recollection” at Opus Dei involves a sermon delivered by one of its priests, followed by confession for anyone who wants it and then a talk given by a lay member and a period of adoration, finishing with prayers in front of the Blessed Sacrament — the body of Jesus in the form of consecrated bread, according to Catholic belief.

I have never, ever heard a ­political talk at these events, ­either from priests or lay members. The message is never: “Vote for the Republican Party.” Or even: “Fight abortion and gay marriage.” Rather, we hear things like: “Buy flowers for your wife.” “Try to bring Christian cheerfulness into your home.” “Let gratefulness to God be the background music to your life.”

Then we grab beer and cookies. That’s it. Some conspiracy.

Sohrab Ahmari is The Post’s op-ed editor. Twitter: @SohrabAhmari

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