Talk:Opus Dei/Archive 2005-3

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Trimmed down OD responses to cult accusations

Instead of transferring the entire section to another article, I have decided to just trim down the wordy OD responses. The opposing sides of this issue, I presume, would prefer to see all the basic arguments on the cult issue retained on this main article. R Davidson 09:05, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Added criticisms on pursuit of power plus improved development of ideas on OD and society

I think it is best to bring out the most caustic and prevalent criticisms against Opus Dei and to let OD answer it. (I changed my previous opinion of not putting Walsh) It is the only way to ensure the neutrality of this page.

In my opinion, after airing out these criticisms, and removing some of the propaganda flavor, this article already has a more neutral tone. If after one more week and there are no other suggestions to the contrary, I intend to remove the disputed sign.

Of course, we have to continue striving to come up with the best article on Opus Dei as the two opposing sides seem to agree on. :-) R Davidson 09:05, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Are you now saying that you will compromise Jimbo's neutrality rules as regards not using dubious sources --like Walsh's trash-- in order to obtain a "neutral" tone? Just asking.

That's a good point. However, Walsh's book may be dubious to you, to me and even to many others who evalute it but it may not be so dubious to quite a number of others. Anyway, the structure of the article allows OD to respond to any kind of allegation. R Davidson 20:42, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Bias against Opus Dei

It apppears to me that this article has a bias against Opus Dei. It breaks the Wikipedia policy on Wikipedia:Words to avoid.

So-called is used to refer to Opus Dei's political pluralism. Link is also used. The word hints at connections with terrorists.

Purported appears many times. Purported means "to assert especially falsely" or "to have the often specious appearance of being or claiming something". Supposed also appears often. Supposed has the meaning of pretended. The article also uses the words claim and suggest when it comes to Opus Dei statements. Wikipedia neutrality rules (see Wikipedia:NPOV tutorial) say that the article should avoid these terms and should prefer "said", "stated" or "wrote." Please change the terminology or I will change it myself. Marax 07:39, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • It's but fair. Let's do it then. I will try to cover what I can. Thomas S. Major 09:06, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • I've just done it. I also removed the condescending word "self-perceived" in Opus Dei's role in society. The word is unnecessary because there are accusations of a different role it plays presented in the whole section. Thomas S. Major 09:28, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Removed disputed sign

After almost two weeks since the time I proposed the removal of the disputed sign, I am removing it. Thanks also to the work done by Marax and Thomas Major to make this page have a neutral point of view from the perspective of Opus Dei. I have just added another paragraph to ensure the continuation of neutrality in the OD in society section. For this, I had to modify some of the good work done by the two, but I hope that it will be acceptable. I hope everyone will continue collaborating to achieve the best non-biased article on Opus Dei. R Davidson 01:18, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Redistributed "unfiled" section

I tried to do something about the weakest part of the whole article: the Other Criticisms Sub-Section. It looked like a dusty storeroom of unclassified things: canonization, cardinal hume, traditionalist criticism, yauyos. I redistributed these, set up a new (short) section on canonization, which I think is very important for any discussion on Opus Dei. For the OD side, it is an "infallible" papal confirmation of their founder's sanctity. For the anti side, it is another example of its shrewd ways. (Removed yauyos criticism. It seems to be a pro-Opus Dei thing masquerading as criticism. It's too small anyway for the major things discussed in this article.)Thomas S. Major 04:41, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • Great move! I placed canonization under Radical Demands. It fits there. Also placed connecting sentences.


I would like to propose putting some pictures. Perhaps one on Opus dei members at work, a picture of one of its social undertakings, and another one of a supernumerary and his family. Walter Ching 00:50, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • It's about time! Please do.Thomas S. Major 04:41, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • I added Franco's photo. Let's keep the neutral tone here even in terms of photos. R Davidson 02:55, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • I also added some more pictures: canonization photo (birds eye view); photo of St. Josemaria as Saint of Ordinary Life; I also added captions to some photos to make them neutral. Walter Ching 09:15, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Copyright and NPOV issues with images

There appears to be a systematic effort to add many images from the Opus Dei website to this article; most of them show smiling individuals, women and children. It seems like a rather transparent attempt to set an emotional undertone for the article. The primary issue with these images, however, is copyright. They are tagged as GFDL, yet there is no evidence that the photographer ever granted permission for their use under said license, which allows modification (including blasphemy!) and commercial use. It strikes me as unlikely that such permission has been granted, and it seems more likely that it is a willful attempt to circumvent Wikimedia's copyright policy to achieve propagandistic goals. Note that the webmaster of the Opus Dei website is not in a position to grant permission; the copyright holder of the images has to do so.

I suggest that only informative images are kept and that, where no permission has been granted, they are appropriately tagged with {{fairuse}}.--Eloquence* June 29, 2005 11:09 (UTC)

  • Very good clarification. The person involved appears to me as a newcomer. So, may I suggest we assume good faith: WP:AGF. He/she has to get the permissions as stated.

The new pictures, from my point of view, are informative and go together with the npov policy of Wikipedia as long as there are other pictures like the cilice and Franco (which I placed) that balance them off. The history of the efforts to make this article neutral shows that the views on Opus Dei are just so diametrically opposed that the trick is to allow both the highly positive and the highly negative views (and images!) to come in together. As regards the images, the captions so far are helping. To my mind, the best thing to do is encourage people to get other images on cults, secret societies, ODAN, walsh or estruch, etc to balance things off. That's what we did in the past regarding npov for the text portion (we've succeeded so far) and that's what is needed, I think, for the images. R Davidson 30 June 2005 04:44 (UTC)

I have no objection to images which add information content to the article and which are free as per our copyright policy or historically important enough to justify fair use. However, yet another photo of Escriva or photos of unclear origin attached to Opus Dei press releases (which could come straight out of a stock photo collection for all we know) hardly fall into this category, and seem to be merely added to have pictures of smiling children and women in the article. Images which I would classify as informative:

  • Escriva or another Opus Dei leader engaged in a representative act such as speaking (in this case, only one photo of the act is needed)
  • Meetings of Opus Dei members and leaders with other church members or politicians
  • Photos of Opus Dei buildings, organizations, projects or workgroups
  • Photos of notable individuals who have a relationship with Opus Dei
  • Diagrams of the structural organization of Opus Dei
  • Photos of elements and objects that play a role in Opus Dei rites and practices

Yes, in general, things will tend to even out, but there's little justification for adding lots of "fluff" photos to this article, especially when their copyright status is not cleared and their content is nowhere fully described.--Eloquence* June 30, 2005 07:05 (UTC)

"Informativeness" of images

The "informativeness" of images is connected to a large extent to the content of the article. This article has a theological, historical, sociological bent. It is theological mainly because Opus Dei is supposed to be a theological reality. It will be almost impossible to get an image of Opus Dei leaders and politicians because they try to avoid being connected with politics. There is also not much structure to talk about because it is a catechesis, a teaching agency.

The theology of Opus Dei has a lot to do with joy and smiling. Escriva calls their spirituality "a smiling asceticism." (This phrase should find its way into the text!) And in fact the photograph which was taken out shows the main content of this article, the fundamental teaching of Opus Dei on cheerfulness, good humor, joy and being a son of God. It's like taking out a photo of Mother Teresa with the sick. Also, Escriva gave a lot of precedence to women and to the youth projects (like Alzavola), to projects for the poor, to trying to reach all people (being international), etc. So the photos of the smiling African ladies and of the girls raising funds for Africa, while at the same time fitting for the content of the sub-sections they are in, are precisely representative of the organization. I agree with Davidson. I'd put back the other photo if you see my point. Thanks for thinking about it.

Lastly, I'd like to say that I do agree that some images of objects and elements playing a role in Opus Dei would be just great. Thomas S. Major 30 June 2005 15:29 (UTC)

  • I just reinstated the removed image and added "smiling asceticism". I also added a photo of Hitler with Himmler, the Chief of the SS (those who round up the Jews for extermination), following the Davidsonian neutrality doctrine of positive-negative coexistence. By the way, that image of Escriva having fun in a get-together with men, also stresses Opus Dei's separation between men and women, its single-sex style of teaching and its catechetical nature. Thomas S. Major 1 July 2005 09:39 (UTC)

So you're saying the article should be full of pictures of smiling people because Opus Dei theology is about smiling and joy? Should it then also be full of people suffering horrible pain because Escriva asked for pain to be glorified? If smiling and joy are, indeed, representative of Opus Dei as you allege, then surely one picture is enough to make this point. We don't need a dozen images of smiling individuals to do so. This is merely an attempt to emphasize the point, which is surely disputed by those who see Opus Dei as a harmful cult promoting dangerous ideologies which lead to the exact opposite results of those which you claim are the basis of its theology.

You have also completely failed to respond to the copyright concerns I raised. Please address this issue, or I will have to assume that you are knowingly ignoring it.--Eloquence* July 1, 2005 12:12 (UTC)

There is an answer to your points. But I'd prefer that things cool down here for some time. :) It's better for the thinking process, for clarity of mind....As for the copyright issues, I suppose Ching has something to say.... Thomas S. Major 2 July 2005 08:10 (UTC)


Thanks Thomas S. Major for naming a doctrine after me. That is not really mine. That's Jimbo's neutrality rule: no biases.

May I propose a compromise between the two positions?

I agree with Eloquence* that the picture with Escriva and the men is redundant. It's enough to have the first one with the women; Of course, you have the option to remove this and place the one with the men. But I personally prefer the one with the women because it looks more dynamic. You may also want to transfer the photo to the Escriva article where the women photo presides as well.

Secondly, I think the pictures of the African women and the girls of the youth club can stay. I know that the anti-Opus Dei crowd concede this fact: the former members say that they "feel they were forced to keep on smiling." So its a matter of perspective: anti-Opus people will see those pictures as forced smiles, pro-Opus people will say that they are smiling despite their pains and aches, because that's what the martyrs did when they were being tortured. Also, I noticed that the Opus Dei ranking at Google jumped from 6th to 4th since those pictures came in. So I think they are good even for readership reasons alone. And it is Wikipedia policy anyway to have interesting and attractive articles. And for the sake of clearer connection with the content, I placed a phrase in the Activities and Work section where the girls club photo is placed, something like: a big percentage of opus dei undertakings, if not the majority, are youth development centers: schools, youth clubs...

Of course, it goes without saying that Walter Ching has to address copyright issues asap. R Davidson 3 July 2005 19:50 (UTC)

  • Excuse me, please. Yes indeed the photos of the smiling blonde girls should be allowed to stay when their copyright status have been addressed. I have nothing personal towards those who might have laicistic or "machistic" prejudices or whatever, but I'd prefer that we do not talk here about readership reasons or "fluffiness" when it comes to showing photos of women and girls, lest we fall into the Old World prejudice that blonde girls should never appear in any serious publication or media except to attract readers. Smiling beautiful women are human beings too, you know. And once the content link has been established between the photo and the text (thanks to you for that) I would say that they have as much right to appear here as the big men or the small boys. I rest my case. Lafem 7 July 2005 07:42 (UTC)

---Oh, I am sorry. My intentions were good...but, oh well, yes, I shouldn't have said that. Thanks for the correction. :-)R Davidson 8 July 2005 08:32 (UTC)

Thanks for assuming my good faith. I agree with what you say above. I am working on what was asked above by Mr. Erik M. However, what if those photos were commissioned? The photographer need not be asked. I also don't understand though why the photos have be Fair Use. Isn't it that Wikipedia prefers GFDL photos so people can copy the article? It seems to me that Mr. Erik has done some anti-Opus Dei edits. I expected a better welcome from an official of Wikipedia. But I will assume good faith as you recommended. Thank you. Walter Ching 4 July 2005 03:07 (UTC)

If the photos were commissioned, we need clear evidence of that. Stating that they were published on the Opus Dei website and you have permission from them to republish them is not sufficient. What was the nature of the contract, and who entered it? You need permission from the specific person who entered the contract with the photographer, and that contract needs to clearly state that all rights are transferred to the contracting party. Finally, the party holding the copyrights must explicitly agree to release the photos under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License or a similar free license (see Wikipedia:Image use policy). In the interest of transparency, it would be best for you to fully document your correspondence in this regard.--Eloquence* July 5, 2005 10:30 (UTC)

Thank you for your explanation, Mr. Erik. I feel better now. I will continue working on what you said above for me to continue helping this worthwhile project. I need to ask one more question. Once I have obtained the correspondence, how will I show it here to prove that it is authentic? Can you also refer to me another expert in the organization who can help me on how to work on these photos? It is not that I do not trust you, but I suppose somebody less busy can help me go through the details. With much appreciation. Walter Ching 6 July 2005 04:01 (UTC)

I would say that putting the text of the correspondence online is sufficient - we try to assume good faith - but that's just my opinion. To get more general feedback on the matter, I suggest visiting the Wikipedia:Village pump.--Eloquence* July 6, 2005 16:04 (UTC)

Images of unclear copyright status

For the time being, I have moved these images here, as there's no evidence that they are indeed under the GFDL, as previously claimed by Walter, and indeed his comments above show that he is still working on getting them to be released under a free content license. I would much welcome such a release, of course. If, however, it is not going to happen, these images will have to be deleted, or tagged as fair use (in which case they must be significant in some way, and content-equivalent alternatives must not be easy to provide under a free content license).

Note that the stamp image is correct GFDL on the Spanish Wikipedia; this is likely inaccurate, as the description appears to state that it was scanned by a certain user. However, being scanned by a user does not make it GFDL -- the copyright of the image shown is what matters. Some countries have policies to release their stamps into the public domain or under a Wikipedia-compatible license -- is this the case here?--Eloquence* July 5, 2005 10:46 (UTC)

Some work will also have to be done about the captions; a number of them either develop themes which belong to the body of the article, or make bizarre and appological asides (Things like "Photo used in the Prayer Card to St. Josemaria: Pope John Paul II calls the founder of Opus Dei "Saint of Ordinary Life""...). Rama 5 July 2005 11:12 (UTC)
I changed the caption for the St. Josemaria picture. I hope it is no longer a bizarre, "appological aside" but something informative. (Sorry, can't find the meaning of the word in the big dictionaries). Rabadur 9 July 2005 09:41 (UTC)

Transfer of Bibliography and external links

Transferred this 10kb long section to new article.

I intend to trim down the cult section (again); it has become even longer now with new additions. I will try to see if I can do the same for other sections like teachings. R Davidson 06:14, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

  • I've cut down the opus dei cult responses. Removed Cardinal Basil Hume issue, which I think is relatively peripheral to the bigger issues. If someone disagrees, just bring it back in. R Davidson 02:07, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Fr. James Martin, SJ

Somebody added "adjectives taken from the search engines on Fr. James Martin's scholarship": Eminent Scholar, Outstanding thinker, Distinguished scholar.

I looked for the definition of scholar in Wikipedia and here is the meaning: A scholar is either a student or someone who has achieved a "mastery" of some academic discipline. Wordnet states: a learned person (especially in the humanities); someone who by long study has gained mastery in one or more disciplines. American Heritage dictionary: A specialist in a given branch of knowledge: a classical scholar. Thesaurus: A usually elderly person noted for wisdom, knowledge, and judgment

Do these definitions fit Martin? I know he is a journalist, but a scholar? and an eminent one? Is he a professor at a university? He has mastery over a specialization? How old was he when he wrote the articles? Thomas S. Major 20:45, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

  • The search engines produce these descriptions based on third-party websites. The source of the article description is:

St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Adults (SILCA) is no longer active.

It says: considered to be one of the best articles available today on Opus Dei; written by the eminent Jesuit scholar Father James Martin, SJ, an Associate Editor at America Press in New York City. :)  :)Lafem 04:50, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Let me just clarify that I do not have anything against Fr. Martin. I'm sure he is a very nice guy. I just don't want him to be misrepresented here. It is a disservice to him if he is there is misrepresentation. Anyway I suppose somebody who has written a lot is in a wide sense a scholar....but eminent is still for discussion. Thomas S. Major 01:18, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Photo of Dr. Bryan R. Wilson

I just added an image of Dr. Bryan Wilson, one of the world's foremost authorities on religious studies. As I stated in the Letter Request to CESNUR Biblioteca which owns the copyright, this photo can be used by other articles which want to bring out a scientific defense against the international anti-cult movement. Thomas S. Major 10:45, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

International English not European English

Somebody has been trying to impose a view that Opus Dei is a European topic and thus has been transforming the English of this article into British English.

Just by reading this article, it is clear that Opus Dei is "international in scope," and its "geographic extent is vast." So this transformation is going against Wikipedia rules of style. Can someone help fix this? Thanks for the helping hand! Thomas S. Major 10:45, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

US English is absolutely not international English. The Opus Dei was founded in Europe, and holds most of its operations outside of the USA; it is therefore legitimate not to use US English. Rama 12:18, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

links to odan, etcetera

i added some links to odan. they were sorely lacking in the cult section.... Desaparecidosdo 09:37, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

NPOV: Neutrality and Non-Equal Validity

Do not be intimidated: the LAW is on your side

I have not heard from Walter Ching since july 6. I hope he was not intimidated by the objections that his photos were "propagandistic".

I dugged up anew the Wikipedia Neutrality Policies I placed in the Talk Pages some months ago:

From Jimbo Wales, September 2003, on the mailing list:

  • If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts;
  • If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents;
  • If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it doesn't belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it's true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not.

From the NPOV Tutorial:

Different views don't all deserve equal space. Articles need to be interesting to attract and keep the attention of readers. For an entry in an encyclopedia, ideas also need to be important. The amount of space they deserve depends on their importance and how many interesting things can be said about them. One measure of a view's importance is the credibility of the experts who hold that view.

Walter, I hope you see that those positive photos even if they far outnumber the negative ones are totally in accord with Jimbo's NPOV Policies: (1) They belong to the majority viewpoint (not to the "vociferous minority" who produce atrocity stories); they are substantiated by commonly accepted reference texts on Opus Dei, (2) They deserve more space than the negative ones because the view that they espouse belong to the most credible experts (Dr. Bryan R. Wilson, Prof. James V. Schall, CNN's John Allen, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, respected historian like Berglar and a respected journalist like Messori, and as Samuel Howard argued: Escriva's teachings=Opus Dei as Thatcher=Thatcherism) VERSUS (former members Alberto Moncada, John Roche, Tammy DiNicola, C. del Tapia, Fr. Vladimir Felzmann, former Jesuit Walsh, social scientist Estruch of Cataluña, Spanish commentators of the Franco era, Rick Ross, American Family Foundation or ICSA, Urquhart, etc.), and lastly, (3) Those photos are very interesting indeed.

Be not afraid, Walter. Jimbo is on your side. Marax 08:26, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Excellent argument. I cannot agree more. Rabadur 14:47, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree, of course. Balance and co-existence do not mean equality. Proportion, yes.

This conclusion, though, brings up some very interesting ramifications, issues or questions. For example, should the view espoused by the apostates of Opus Dei then be considered as belonging to an extremely small minority (while extremely vociferous at the same time), and does not belong therefore to Wikipedia as Jimbo states?

With the coming of Dr. Wilson and Kliever, we are told that it is irresponsible for scholars and journalists to rely on apostate testimonies distorted as these are. Does this mean that Wikipedia as a responsible encyclopedia should oppose the publication of such testimonies and delete the cult section? Does this also mean that their statements should be seen as propaganda (defined as misleading information) and should therefore be deleted from this article?

Some people might legitimately bring all these up later, that is why I am bringing them up now. People who hold this view might start deleting the criticism sections. My personal opinion is that these apostate views do belong to a significant minority (even if their significance is only based on their noise). I also think that it is good for both sides (anti and pro Opus Dei) to be heard, even if the price this article has to pay is a bigger size than what is preferred.

Also here is the neutrality rule that precedes Jimbo’s list:

If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties. None of this, however, is to say that minority views cannot receive as much attention as we can possibly give them on pages specifically devoted to those views. There is no size limit to Wikipedia. But even on such pages, though a view is spelled out possibly in great detail, we still make sure that the view is not represented as the truth.

As regards the text, we then have put into effect the right proportion between the two camps. Right now the answers of OD are more or less the same length as the anti-OD. There are two ways to go: (1) Cut length of the anti-OD or (2) Lengthen the OD responses. R Davidson 14:29, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Thank you so much for the support you are giving to the images I uploaded before. It is true that I was intimidated at first. But the support of people of Wikipedia has been so overwhelming that I am continuing to work on this despite the other concerns I am also involved in. Yesterday I uploaded one photo that has a clear copyright holder, the Communications Office of Opus Dei in Rome.I am corresponding with them. I am also most grateful to Mr. Erik M. for his clear instructions. He was merely protecting Wikipedia, protecting all of the Wikipedians so we can continue working on this project. Thanks also to Tom Major for showing the pattern on how to upload images, by his brilliant move to request for an image of Bryan R. Wilson. Please pray that we obtain information on the copyright holders of the other photos. Walter Ching 12:02, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Consequence of non-equal validity: redistributing Two Perspectives sub-section

Given that there should be no equal validity nor equal space given to either side, the earlier move by R Davidson to create the sub-section on Two Perspectives has to be reversed. This sub-section gives the impression (or misimpression) that the two sides are equally valid.

I merged this sub-section with the sub-section on Opus Dei's professed mission. I added the phrase "its general strategy" in the title since two paragraphs there describes this.

I also transferred the paragraph describing the "other perspective" to the Allegations, its proper place. Marax 02:08, 31 July 2005 (UTC) P.S. Keep it up, Walter. I am with you.

I dont think that criticism of Opus Dei can be regarded as a minoritary yet noisy tendence. The general point of view which I´ve met, and which the media portrays, goes from negative to neutral-negative.

The problem nowadays is that whatever the western media says is taken by many in the west as the view of the world. The media, composed of a small percentage of professional writers and editors compared to the rest of the world, is quite dominated by an Old World liberal and materialistic thinking. The thinking of the majority of the billion Catholics all over the world, represented by their bishops and the Popes and the common people that the Church helps and the religious people of Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc is very different from the thinking of these secular thinkers, who mainly come from a specific quarter called the West. Sorry, the wild West is not the world and some of its thinkers (especially people like Dan Brown who draw from testimonies of apostates) are not very credible.

  • Yup, there are so many things which come out in the media which are not accepted by experts. Many journalists and novelists are just not scientists, doctors, jurists, historians, theologians, philosophers.

I can understand though that for some people like Krasniy Volk who wrote about criticisms on Opus Dei not being minoritary, most of the people he might be meeting in his place in the world have a neutral to neutral negative point of view.

However, Jimbo distinguishes between two types of majority. He says: "we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties."

As regards experts, it is clear that the anti-Opus Dei view is in the minority as Marax very well pointed out.

As regards total world population, it is also clear that there are more religious people in the world than atheists, secularists, rebellious apostates, and non-believers. And among the billion Catholics, there is a wide-spread devotion to Escriva. Also a few years ago, he was voted among the topmost Catholics of the previous century. Lafem 09:45, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Another consequence of non-equal validity. I started putting in the term corporal mortification without totally removing the term mortication of the flesh which still appears in the cult section. Reason: this is the more common, traditional, institutional terminology. Even ODAN uses it. It is Dan Brown who wanted to produce a melodramatic and sinister image of this Church practice who also wants to influence people to use this terminology.

Neutrality = right proportion between credible experts and representation

I am happy to see the photos that Walter and Lafem have put in. Aside from making the article much, much more attractive and readable, this article is at last establishing the correct proportions based on Jimbo's NPOV rules. I am also happy that some people have erased the defensive sounding captions for supposedly NPOV purposes. The huge disparity between the two sides, which as Davidson says might even show a legitimate basis --on the part of some people-- for elimination of the criticisms, is a very strong basis for this "lop-sided" treatment. Of course, let me clarify that I agree that the minority has the right to be heard. But it should be clear over-all that they are part of a small minority. Up to now though there seems to have been not much attempt to cut the length of the criticisms which Davidson suggested as one of the two options. I will see what I can do regarding this. Thomas S. Major 02:55, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

  • What would be the quantification of the right proportions if the disparity is enormous or lopsided? 95-5, 90-10? There are now 16 "positive" photos versus 4 "negative" photos (Cilice, Franco, CIA, Masonry). That's 80-20. Rabadur 10:05, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

If we are talking about credibility and use the comparative list of Marax (John Paul II, Bryan Wilson vs Tammy DiNicola, C. del Tapia, etc) then it's 100-0. But if we are talking about representation and use Lafem's world-wide representation (secularist writers vs religious people around the world), then it could go to 90-10 or 80-20. So we end up with an average of 95-5 or 90-10: wow! your gut feel jives with this. Still, since there seems to be a consensus to air the negative views, these proportions can be stretched to 80-20, but that's just me talking... Others might just want to stick to your 95-5 or 90-10. Thomas S. Major 02:38, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

  • I support your views, Tom and Rabadur! Walter Ching 11:17, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I am in favor of the 95-5 to 90-10 range. Now that there is a clear agreement on this (Thomas's mathematical conclusion has basis in reality, "cum fundamento in re", and his "stretch" alludes to exceptions), I propose we state the agreement this way: "The range of the right proportions for NPOV in this Opus Dei article should be between 95-5 to 90-10 in favor of the majority position. Exceptions which go beyond 90-10 should be discussed case to case and should only be done after clear agreements. Exceptions will then be a bending of justice for the sake of charity, but should be decided on with prudence for it can create bias and injustice against the majority position. However, there should be extremely rare possibilities for exceptions --which should be avoided with all possible means-- because there are always ingenious ways of editing so as to preserve the appropriate and just proportions." This agreement will be the foundation for the neutrality of this article and hopefully prevent future disputes. Marax 05:50, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

This is ok. It's a good move to have clear guidelines. I suppose this is possible now especially with the increase in break out articles where, as Samuel Howard put it, the disputes can be isolated--and aired accordingly. R Davidson 12:03, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

  • I agree with Marax. I would go for the upper range, 95-5, myself. Some of the negatives are utter invention. Asoane 10:11, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I would go for the 95-5 as well. My reason: Representation usually refer to people who know the facts, as the people in a House of Representatives get to know the facts of the case. Who are the people who know the facts about Opus Dei intimately? The members and ex-members. And among the ex-members, the "overwhelming majority" according to the scholars, do not have ill-feelings. Thus members and non-members together cannot go to 80-20, the swing factor. It should be 90-10 at most for the minority and together with the 100-0, that's 95-5 at most for the minority.

Keep in mind also that all the four investigative journalists --non-members--who have intimate knowledge about Opus Dei and who wrote books not mere articles, take the majority position: V. Messori, John Allen, Thierry, and W. West who later became a member. Lafem 01:08, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Non-proportionate = non-neutral subtitles

Based on the foregoing consensus, there is a bigger problem of neutrality that has to be fixed: the subtitles of the allegations. These sections are suppose to contain lengthier discussions on what the credible experts say but the subtitles do not express them at all.

I propose then to change some of the subtitles;

1. (Present title) Feminist Criticism to (proposed title) Authentic feminism vs. reactionary doctrine on women

I would transfer the Traditionalist Criticism to the answers to the Ultraconservative Criticism, since they do constitute an answer.

2. (Present title) Allegations of Secrecy and Pursuit of Power -- this should be broken up into two subsections:

(Proposed titles)

Privacy and Secularity vs Secrecy

Ethical Social Influence vs. Pursuit of Power

This solution will allow the minority position to be aired in the sub-titles, but also, and more importantly, the majority position.

I would keep the Allegations on Far-right politics as is, since they are in response to the previous section on Political Pluralism. Thomas S. Major 07:21, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I have always thought those subtitles were biased and did not represent correctly the content of the subsection. I think the proposed sub-titles are neutral and respectful, more like an encyclopaedia entry. Asoane 15:16, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
  • That's a good move, Thomas. How about the sub-section title of Allegations of Ultraconservatism? Following your lead, may I propose: Truth, Morality, Fidelity vs. Ultraconservatism. R Davidson 11:04, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Introduction: one paragraph is unfair to Opus Dei

This paragraph from my point of view is unfair to Opus Dei and the majority position:

In the 1940s, Opus Dei was denounced as a heresy and a secret society by well-placed ecclesiastics. Since then it has been described as a secretive, authoritarian organisation. Beginning with Spanish writers of the Franco Era, some allege that it has connections with right-wing organisations. Lately, it has also been described a cult, especially by former members who question its practice of corporal mortification.

Given the nature and the limits of an introduction, the paragraph does not allow Opus Dei to respond to each one of the criticisms

I propose to have a short paragraph which says something like:

Criticized in various ways throughout its history and described as one of the most controversial groups in the Catholic Church today, Opus Dei has been called by Catholic theologians a sign of contradiction.

The length of this paragraph will then obey the 95-5/90-10 proportions agreed upon above. Marax 05:50, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

This seems reasonable. I didn't like the word "controversial" in an earlier version of the intro, but the way it's used here is fair enough. Asoane 10:17, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

I've just implemented it. I also tried to edit the cult accusations for brevity and in accordance with the agreement to shorten the criticism sections. I tried to keep the basic ideas there intact as much as I can. Marax 10:53, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Those were good moves. I slightly changed the phrasing of the intro paragraph to provide for NPOV. Yes, we have progressed a lot in creating what The Anome appealed for--the best-NPOV based article on Opus Dei. For that we have to keep on improving...:-) R Davidson 22:59, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Right you are, R (whatever that means)! Thanks and yes, as St. Josemaria said: Work like the best or better than the best, that means ,,, there's a long way to go. :-) Marax 1:29, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Seems a bit POVish

I am a disinterested party -- I knew nothing about Opus Dei, was curious, and read the whole article. I found external fact to mesh too much with internal belief structures and POV, which is why I then read the entire discussion.

  • The flow of it reads as a well-written and fairly objective religious pamphlet -- good in the context of a church/religion, but way too strong a point of view for an encyclopedia
  • The claims of possible Franco connections and the testimony of former members that OD is a cult were both dismissed out of hand by the way they were mentioned in the article and immediately refuted. Again, I really knew nothing about OD other than it being part of the Catholic Church, and had never heard either claim; however, the defensiveness came through clearly, and, if anything, cause me to be suspicious of the authors' motives. Why not have a non-OD member work on the criticism section, then both OD & non-OD people work together to incorporate the sections?

It seems from the discussion that the page has gotten much more neutral; however, as an outsider, I think it needs more work. Eeblet 19:58, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks so much for your nice comments, eeblet. (that's a cute name!) I've been waiting for comments on this page and I was pleased to hear your comments as an outsider.

This is how I see the work that has been done here:

1) As regards its being "good in the context of a church/religion" but "way too strong a point of view for an encyclopedia,": Here is my personal opinion: There are many types of encyclopedia or collections of knowledge/information. The types depend on the information it handles, the kind of society that produces it, its policies, etc.

Wikipedia is neutral because it takes on different points of view, whether those points of view are radical, laid-back, watered down, etc.

It is also neutral in the sense that it is open to all kinds of information which includes religious and church information. It is not neutral in the sense that it is secular or non-religious. That is why there is a lot of information in the encyclopedia on Christian theology.

This particular piece talks about Opus Dei which contains a view on "the radical demands of Christianity". Also, the Opus Dei founder has strong convictions and a forceful style (see quotes from Vatican theologians). Neutrality here means to present Opus Dei as it presents itself with the major information it wants to present, without taking its side. Thus as you can see it is full of quotation marks. Neutrality in Wikipedia means this, in my opinion.

I also want to stress the word "major" information. Based on my research, this article presents also the major points from the point of view of criticisms using their major proponents: Fr. James Martin, Estruch, ODAN, Alberto Moncada, Carmen del Tapia. Even von Balthazar is included here.

2) As regards non-members presenting the cult side: For your information (you can read it above), I asked for criticisms at one point, and texts in the cult section and on Franco appeared. So those sections already have inputs from what we call here "anti-OD" camp. Perhaps there were also members who helped put them in. But my own take is that they were largely put in by non-members. If there is more important information which you think should go in, please bring it up here for the contributors to study it.

3) Perhaps the POVishness could proceed from the lopsided proportions. But as the discussion above goes, that is what neutrality means in Wikipedia, at least from what the guys here think.

Anyway, I'd like to hear about specific places where there may be lapses of neutrality, i.e. the encyclopedia qua encyclopedia, in the words of the NPOV policy, has taken a stand and has become biased.

Thanks a lot again. R Davidson 03:34, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

  • I just looked again at the portions you mentioned and yes, you are right. Some people here in the effort to shorten the criticisms vis-a-vis the majority position summarized them too much. I've just expanded the Franco criticism and re-added a strong point from John Roche about Opus Dei as cult. I think it should be placed in. It does have additional content and expresses the strong feelings of the minority position. Hope all these take care of your comment, eeblet. As you can see above, I've tried to balance the two camps. It's difficult but I'm happy there is progress.  :-) R Davidson 06:13, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I've also re-read the article and changed some phrases that were in fact POVish. You might want to check if things have improved. R Davidson 06:26, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I am happy to hear that this is page is just a bit POVish. Thanks again to R Davidson for immediately doing something about it. Sorry I was the one who summarized the cult portion a bit too much.

I would like to explain the enmeshing of external and internal which eeblet saw. My take on how this article is approaching this material is this: it is trying to enter each camp from the best angle it has and using the leading proponents of each camp.

  • The OD camp from the theological perspective. I think -- and this is not just because I studied theology -- this is the best approach to the subject even from the OD perspective. Many writings about OD like Berglar, Le Tourneau, Fuenmayor, have approached it from a historical, canonical point of view. They had to also because of their disciplines. But for a serious encyclopedia any subject matter has to be approached from its own field. I think the approach of this article from the OD camp viewpoint is the best one since OD is primarily a theological reality from the point of view of the expert on this field: the Catholic Church. It has pronounced that Escriva founded it ductus divina inspiratione. It is a work of God.

Thus, most of the perspectives are provided by writings of theologians about the subject. There is a plethora of literature on OD theology, the most profound of which is Holiness and the World, where prominent theologians like Ratzinger and William May have contributed. I intend to put this citation in the text since this is one of the most important books about the subject. Of course, it contains the theological writings of Escriva. He said he can only write about they have to be theological...

Also many canon lawyers have already stated that the theological perspective is also the best way to understand Opus Dei. That is why one of the best books about Opus Dei is that of Pedro Rodriguez, Ocariz and Illanes: Opus Dei in the Church. Those are heavyweight theologians studying this phenomenon. Thus, this article puts the prelatic discussions after teachings. The external prelature status follows logically from the Opus Dei theological spirit.

  • The anti-conservative camp from the political perspective. At one point the leading proponent here was von Balthazar.
  • The anti-cult camp from the sociological perspective, plus some psychological treatment. ODAN, ICSA and Rick Ross Foundation are the leading proponents here.
  • The anti-fascist camp from the political and historical perspective. The Spanish commentators are the lead here.
  • The feminist camp from its feminist perspective. Urquhart who wrote a book on Opus Dei is the leading proponent here.
  • The anti-secrecy and pursuit of power camp is led by Fr. James Martin and the earlier Jesuits. Of course, Dan Brown.

Also, since the editors of this article have identified a majority position based on an analysis of experts, the minority camp accusations have to be answered by the majority position.

I also saw how the anti-cult part grew. There were quite a number of things written against Opus Dei as cult before I arrived last March: love bombing, threats, mortification of the flesh, cilice, blessed be pain, aggressive recruitment, etc. From what I know, those accusations were not touched at all, they were treated like sacred pieces and they kept on growing. Yes, they were edited for brevity recently and summarized. By me. But it was because of space agreements. And the main essence continues to be there. And I also treated them with much reverence. Marax 14:36, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I just placed the Holiness and the World as citation. I'd like to thank ebblet as well for your comments. They will be useful for getting this article peer reviewed, and eventually sent as a proposed feature article.

I've also been thinking of your comment that the accusations on being a cult and pro-franco were "dismissed." I looked up the meaning of the word in the dictionary and I saw two which can correspond to what you are saying.

  • rejected as a matter of consideration - My opinion is that this article does not do that. One paragraph of the anti-cult paragraphs remains as one of the longest paragraphs in this article. Their "right to be heard" is very much respected as the discussions above show.
  • to cancel a charge or a case for lack of evidence - this the Opus Dei camp tries to do for sheer "right to self-defense." Since this camp adduces very powerful witnesses and experts (John Paul II and respected historians and investigative journalists) it sounds like there is a dismissal in this second sense. As the editors of this article have seen, the credibility of the Opus Dei camp witnesses far outweigh the witnesses of the anti-cult camp and thus they are also given more space based on the rules of non-equal validity. Marax 06:32, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

The NPOV tag

I am sorry to say that this article fails to meet Wikipedia's NPOV guidelines. Much of the article is written from Opus Dei's point of view. Often, these problems appear in the text's tone. Here follows a non-exhaustive list of problem areas :

  • "Catholic officials say that Opus Dei is faithful to the Church's revealed truths and moral teachings." should read "According to Catholic officials, Opus Dei is adhears to (or "follows") the Church's doctrinal and moral teachings."
  • Dated language "Lady participants", "feminine issues"
  • "By sanctifying their professional work, there are many women of Opus Dei who have proven to be achievers in their field: business, fashion, learning, journalism, etc." -- Pure pov.
  • Pictures and their descriptions seem as though they were taken from a promotional brochure e.g:
"Kinal Technical Training Center in Guatemala. Escriva says that Opus Dei's social impact is an ethical one: the rich and the poor, by doing their work with excellence, build a human, just and progressive society."
"IESE Business School in Barcelona: A top business school, according to Financial Times."

This article shows real promise, but until these points (and others) are addressed, it will not be NPOV. --Zantastik talk 10:54, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

I am happy to see an instance of a well-used NPOV tag, for once, with a detailed list of problems and even suggestions of their resolution. Rama 11:39, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks a million for your detailed comments and your help. I appreciate your effort to enumerate them. I hope we can discuss them calmly and point by point. I already started to correct those which I understand as NPOV violations. Please see the corrections I just made.

To correspond to your generosity, here are my comments to your feedback and the action I have taken:

  • re faithful or adhere: just to quash all doubts that the Church does say that, I just copied a statement from Benedict XVI. With this we follow the NPOV policy:
Where we might want to state an opinion, we convert that opinion into a fact by attributing the opinion to someone. So, rather than asserting, "The Beatles were the greatest band", we can say, "Most Americans believe that the Beatles were the greatest band," which is a fact verifiable by survey results, or "The Beatles had many songs that made the Billboard Hot 100," which is also fact. In the first instance we assert an opinion; in the second and third instances we "convert" that opinion into fact by attributing it to someone. It's important to note this formulation is substantially different from the "some people believe ..." formulation popular in political debates. The reference requires an identifiable and subjectively quantifiable population or, better still, a name. (bold in the original)
  • re fidelity, truth and morality vs ultraconservatism reading like a response:
NPOV policy says: We ...adopt the looser sense of "human knowledge" according to which a wide variety of conflicting theories constitute what we call "knowledge." We should, both individually and collectively, make an effort to present these conflicting views fairly, without advocating any one of them, with the qualification that views held only by a tiny minority of people should not be represented as though they are significant minority views, and perhaps should not be represented at all...We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view. To give such undue weight to the lesser held view may be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties.

I would like to understand more about the problem of this section vis-a-vis this NPOV rule.

I've also changed the heading to "Fidelity to Catholic faith vs. ultraconservatism". I don't know if you think this is now more NPOV.

  • Dated language: changed lady and feminine to "women." I hope that is what you thought was the correct, modern word.
  • Pure pov - you are right on this. This was the result of somebody breaking up the long paragraph. What it really lacks is the phrase "supporters say". I corrected that. Thanks.
  • Kinal - I removed the Escriva quote and placed it in the text. I suppose it was inserted as a caption because it is a quote anyway (using Samuel Howard's "Escriva is to Opus Dei as Thatcher is to Thatcherism") and not necessarily a stand by the editors. I suppose for some sensibilities it sounds like a hard-selling sales pitch.

IESE - I am not sure if it is indeed POV to keep the caption. It is a quote from Financial Times and not from the editors. What do you think?

  • Franco and political pluralism section - same comment as bullet point number two.

I am as concerned as you, Zantastik and Rama, that this article take on a genuine NPOV. I hope that we can collaborate and discuss this peacefully using the Wikipedia NPOV rules as our basis. All the best! Thomas S. Major 09:50, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

To: Zantastik and Rama

I would assume that you think that I have already addressed your NPOV concerns if I don't hear from you before 0900 UTC. Then I will remove the NPOV tag. :) Thomas S. Major 07:30, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

From credible experts's point of view; not OD point of view

I disagree with Zantastik that this article is written from the OD point of view. To my mind, it is written from the point of view which Wikipedia wants: the credible experts point of view on the field of their expertise: Ratzinger, John Paul II, Messori, Allen, Catholic theologians and canon lawyers, historians, etc. plus the main proponents of the anti-opus dei groups. Lafem 03:25, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

I would just like to add that there should be no reason as well to be biased against Opus Dei official literature or perspective. Please read the following exchange in the Archived Talk Pages:
I do think it would be an idea to move some of the personal teaching to Josemaría Escrivá. I think that is quite appropriate, and would also help in shaping this page. Charles Matthews 07:52, 21 Apr 2005
Um, not appropriate at all. The teaching of Escriva=Opus Dei. As the founder he was responsible for formulating their charism. According to Catholic polity, they are responsible for keeping it up and are judged by how closely he followed it. We're not talking about a founder like Charles Boremmeo who was also a Bishop and did other things, Escrivas work and teaching is embodied in the doctirne of OD.--Samuel J. Howard 09:03, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)
I totally agree with Samuel Howard. Plus, Escriva is much more credible (he was declared a saint after the longest, most detailed and gruelling process of canonization in history: see article Josemaria Escriva) than Walsh (former Jesuit) and Urquhart (former Catholic priest). Thomas S. Major 03:57, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

NPOV response to FAC

According to the editors, the view of these experts and their credibility and expertise has an overwhelming and lopsided advantage [...] giving what some people said is a "Catholic" tone to the article, or a “Pope’s point of view,” [...] I need your help to resolve this basic issue.

Here is my attempt to read through the article and state clear actionable problems with NPOV.

Firstly, what is NPOV:

"assert facts, including facts about opinions — but don't assert opinions themselves."

to which we have to add Verifiability

"The threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth."

So let's take the first, disputable but not too difficult fact.

"the prelature has about 85,500 members in 80 countries"

The [BBC claims] that Opus Dei membership is secret. Thus this is a fact which can't be verified. Rewritten as

"Opus Dei membership lists are closed, but it claims to have more than 85,500 members in 80 countries{{ref|membership}}"

with a reference below,


This can very simply become NPOV. The difference is not in what fact is stated, but that it is clearly attributed and treated as no truer than the trust of the source which provides it.

Now let's continue to the next such statement.

Opus Dei's aim is

Opus Dei is a controversial organisation. This simply must be rewritten (with appropriate reference) as

Opus Dei's published aim is

Of most importance in the introduction is what is missing. To be frank I have little interest in Opus Dei, and haven't even personally read "The Da Vinci Code", but the main reason for my hearing about Opus Dei recently is a) that book and b) that Cherie Blair is accused of being a member. Opus Dei themselves even dedicate an web pages to answering problems with it. In general, the accusation that O.D. is a cult and some of it's more strange practices such as corporal mortification are the prime reasons why it is interesting to many people and should be mentioned (the latter is at least mentioned later in the article).

  • clearly present each statement which might be disagreed with as attributed to someone
  • dominant view points need to be presented where others are not, but they should not be treated as true; the language should clearly imply that other POVs exist.
  • expert opinion is not the only form of "majority" opinion. "Uninformed" mass opinion needs to also be represented, even if a clear rebutting can be done from other sources.

Looking through the article, certain things stand out clearly in terms of NPOV failure. Every critic

Some critics however say that Opus Dei has problems...

is followed by an immediate rebutting

On the other hand, Fr. James V. Schall,

often with ad hominem attacks immediately following

Estruch says, for example, that priests go to seminary only to improve their lot.

The context clearly implies that this "must" be wrong; that, however clearly breaches NPOV. If we changed it to

Schall claims that Estruch says that "priests go to seminary only to improve their lot." a statement which Schall considers to be patently rediculous

Then NPOV is restored. There are many many examples which can be found based on the above list. If you run out of things to fix then I can definitely have a look through again. Mozzerati 22:29, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

NPOV policies to consider

Thanks Mozzerati. Thank you for spending time analyzing NPOV with the editors. Frankly, I've been very much involved in this issue, that I wouldn't want to comment yet. I'd like to think about it, leave it for a while, so as to be detached. I see that there is a new guy --Mitch73-- who has come in editing for NPOV. Perhaps he can help disentangle this issue that you raised.

The only thing I'd like to do now is to quote other things from NPOV so it can help all of us to further analyze this. Thanks again. Please bear with me. I need to rest a bit...

Where we might want to state an opinion, we convert that opinion into a fact by attributing the opinion to someone. So, rather than asserting, "The Beatles were the greatest rock band," we can say, "Most music listeners believe that the Beatles were the greatest rock band," which is a fact verifiable by survey results, or "The Beatles had more Billboard #1 hits than any other rock band," which is also a fact. In the first instance we assert an opinion; in the second and third instances we "convert" that opinion into fact by attributing it to someone. It's important to note this formulation is substantially different from the "some people believe ..." formulation popular in political debates. The reference requires an identifiable and subjectively quantifiable population or, better still, a name.

Kindly look as well into the paragraph above:[wiki/Talk:Opus_Dei#Neutrality_.3D_right_proportion_between_credible_experts_and_representation]

And the resulting quantification. Part of the problem as I see it is this: the editors see the contrary position as being in between a significant minority and an extremely small minority. The first one has proponents mentioned. The second one should even be in a separate article.

Second part of the problem is that there are two types of majority-minority ratios: Majority and minority in terms of credibility. The present ratio is 100-0. And majority and minority in terms of representation. The ratio is wavering between 80-20 to 90-10.

If the credibility ratio is at 100-0. Then the majority position has a go to say whatever it wants, without fear. That is what is happening right now in some articles, where the "majority position is taken as the only position." And other positions are disregarded.

If the representation ratio is not 100-0, then the minority position is allowed to say something, but taking into account the policy of non-equal validity/and undue weight:

"We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view. To give such undue weight to the lesser held view may be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties."
"Points of view held as having little credibility by experts, but with wide popular appeal (e.g.: the belief in astrology, considered as irrational and incorrect by the vast majority of scientists and astronomers), should be reported, but as such: that is, we should expose the point of view and its popular appeal, but also the opinion held by the vast majority of experts." Some editors here argue that theology and history are technical scientific fields, and popular views should be dealt with in this way.

There is also the attribution policy to take into account:

"It's possible to introduce your own bias even while attributing. Take this sentence as an example: "Duane Gish said that the Earth and its living creatures were created by God."
"This is a neutral statement as it stands. But what if "said" were substituted with:
   :* noted
   :* explained
   :* pointed out
   :* claimed
   :* suggested
All have different connotations, which could introduce bias, depending on context. "Noted", "pointed out", and "explained" in particular, imply that the Earth indeed was created by God, which many people consider false. In choosing words, imagine how a sentence will read to someone with another POV, and choose carefully. Whenever "said", "wrote", or "stated" are options, they are usually the safest."

Hope this helps. Thomas S. Major 02:34, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

I corrected the Schall phrase in line with the attribution policy: Schall ... says that Estruch's work is subjective, arbitrary and unscientific. Schall gives as an example that for Estruch priests go to seminary only to improve their lot. R Davidson 09:14, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

From NPOV tutorial: Things not to avoid

Some Wikipedians, in the name of neutrality, try to avoid making any statements that other people find offensive or objectionable, even if objectively true. This is not the intent of striving for neutrality. Many groups would prefer that certain facts be stated euphemistically, or only in their own terminology, or suppressed outright; such desires need not be deferred to. Lafem 05:26, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

New Book of John Allen supports the overwhelming majority position

Opus Dei: secrets and power inside the Catholic Church

See also Decoding Opus Dei

Marax 02:39, 3 October 2005 (UTC)


Since people kept silent regarding the question of Thomas S. Major and of Davidson whether this article is using the credible experts, we presume that the answer is yes. With the new book of Allen (see above), the overwhelming majority position has been further strengthened. If we presume that there is both internal and external assent to this position, then the structure and main contents are correct in substance.

Thus, the penultimate stage for this article is to ensure that the intro summarizes the contents of this article. (The last stage is to ensure that all the details of attribution and flow are taken care of. )

Please see what I wrote as intro.

In the first paragraph the emphasis is on OD being a structure of the Church serving a message. As P Rodriguez says it is both a message and an institution bearing a message, having a specific mission which "partakes very profoundly of the aim of the Church itself."

The second paragraph explains the structure more, i.e. it is something emanating from the Church itself ("a development of the Church itself" says Rodriguez): (the source or efficient cause in Philosophy) and what it is composed of: prelate, clergy and laity (the material cause). From here it flows into the logical support of Catholic leaders (because OD is Church). And then follows the criticism, which according to theological analysis of the "sign of contradiction", flows from OD being essentially Church.

The third paragraph develops the message some more, starting with the credibility or "ethos" of the messenger (he is a saint). The first sentence covers the basis or "logos" of the message/mission that is mentioned in the first paragraph. And the second sentence presents the formal cause (what the prelate, clergy and laity offers differently from the other ecclesial circumscription): spiritual training.

I am still not so sure whether we should bring back "sign of contradiction" in the intro: As Walter and Rabadur have clarified, this falls under the categories of Catholic theology, history, prelatures, doctrine, etc. Marax (forgot to sign last time: sorry)

Whoa. Presuming that silence gives consent sounds like a dangerous move on a volunteer website. Contributors have limited time, and those who took the trouble to comment fully on the WP:FAC nomination can hardly be expected to restate their positions on this page yet again. Please look again at the FAC discussion. Have the objectors withdrawn their objections? No? See, that means that the objections still stand. That the assumptions on this talkpage have started to drift in the opposite direction doesn't mean that there is consent, it only means that some people have more time to edit than others. I suppose you're technically free to ignore comments outside this page, but it won't make for high quality if you do. You received FAC comments from contributors with a lot of editing experience, and with collectively a lot of Featured articles under their belts; ruleslawyering selected passage from Wikipedia policy pages is no substitute for taking those comments, especially about the concept of NPOV and the question of "credible experts", with full seriousness. Btw, could you please sign your post so that others may know who is speaking? Bishonen | talk 15:42, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I did not write the paragraphs above but I agree with the first paragraph. This article cites the credible experts. I recall this specific question coming up on the FAC and there was no objection. By the nature of the question consent would probably be inferred if there were no voices of disagreement, i.e. a suggestion that one of the sources quoted is not a credible expert, or that another unquoted source is more credible. It must be one of the central issues. Asoane 20:44, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

I wrote the paragraphs. I forgot to sign, sorry. I fully agree with Bishonen that the question of credible experts has to be taken with full seriousness. It is indeed the central question. That is why I understand the plea of Tom Major. That is also why I waited for many days before I posted what I posted above. Today it is more than a week since Davidson asked Eloquence and Giano that question. The question continues to be unanswered.

I don't think though that citing policies is automatically a case of ruleslawyering--an attempt to annoy or to be pedantic, or to use the rule for personal benefit. I believe it is a sincere attempt to know the limits, to have a sense of order, to avoid anarchy, to be rational, reasonable and objective in our discussion, to be at peace while we work on this.

Again, I agree with you Bishonen that the question on credible experts is a serious question and has to be dealt with seriously. I hope you can help us figure that question out. As Davidson said, we are ready to change this article if necessary. I can personally say that I am sufficiently detached from it. But this objectivity also propels the mind to do what this encyclopedia is aimed at: to "create a reliable and free encyclopedia—indeed, the largest encyclopedia in history, in both breadth and depth. Wikipedia has some policies and guidelines that help us to work toward that common goal." Wikipedia is a "collection of synthesized knowledge presented from a neutral point of view," and here "research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is strongly encouraged." I understand that "It's an obligation of Wikipedia to its readers that the information they read here be reliable and reputable, and so we rely only on credible or reputable published sources." (From No Original Research.) Marax 03:34, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Comments about the FAC discussion, in response to Marax

Hi, Marax. In response to your request on my talk page, I've re-read the FAC discussion carefully, to try to figure out exactly how your reasoning above relates to it, and I have to say I'm a bit appalled by the consistency with which the article's defenders responding there assume on WP:FAC as well that silence gives consent. To improve the article, you really need to disabuse yourselves of that notion! Rama and Zantastic did not tacitly agree to the proposition that the sentence "Opus Dei's Christ-centeredness urges Christians to live like Christ in everything, even if their behaviour "clashes" with a "paganized environment"" can be NPOV'd by inserting "supporters say" into it. They merely didn't respond "in time". Perhaps they had other things to do..? Perhaps they gave up because nobody seemed to be listening? Anyway, when it was explicitly stated on FAC that they had tacitly agreed, they turned up, to say "not at all". I would have thought that that incident would suggest the dangers of your assumptions.
Eloquence and Giano did not respond to your rather imperious challenges to go read more ("I would like to ask both of you --and the others -- to read the NPOV tutorial rules"; "Kindly read the Talk Page of Opus": they went away, having said their say. I don't know Eloquence, but I happen to know Giano, and know how busy he is in Real Life. You guys don't sound on FAC quite like you realize that Wikipedia is a hobby, a spare-time activity, for the editors you try to browbeat (that's what it amounts to, IMO) into reading more--even, incredibly, into reading the whole content of your bibliography!

If one looks at the extensive bibliography, the proportions and the structure of the article reflect existing scholarship: a great deal of literature on theology, some juridical studies, historical and sociological literature, and some cult and anti-Opus Dei issues. The article also reflects the contents of the monographs. Anybody who wants to propose changes to the structure of the article should read these books written by credible experts." (User:Marax, support vote.)

Let me say that I doubt any individual has read all these books, and I assume you're not seriously proposing that FAC editors go read them before commenting. The alternative meaning of what you say seems to be "Since you haven't read the books in the bibliography, you don't get to comment on the structure." Right...? Now that's not like inviting advice from the community, it's more like trying to preemptively prove that any outside criticism of the article's structure will necessarily be invalid.
When I read the FAC vote in order to add my own 2c, I speed-read it, and I was struck by the many courteous expressions, thanks and so on, from the article's defenders. Now that I look more carefully, this urbanity looks like a bit of a sham. You guys don't give an inch. You expect to be able to argue, bully (frankly), and, yes, ruleslawyer the commenters into withdrawing their objections. They didn't, though. I repeat: objections on FAC that haven't been withdrawn are assumed to still stand. That's how that page works, and it's the only possible way for it to work: articles aren't supposed to become featured merely because their proponents never stop arguing. Iff Eloquence and Giano (and I, and a few more) had been convinced into withdrawing our original objections, Opus Dei would be Featured now. Because of the intransigence of the defenders of status quo, I doubt that it ever will be.
This paragraph on the FAC vote worries me:

Kindly read the Talk Page of Opus where the editors have discussed (based on Wikipedia method of consensus) who the reputable, credible experts are in this field who use the common methods of the field. If both of you can mention other credible experts on the field, then all of us will listen, and then we can work out a consensus based on the above rules. If we agree that their credible expertise is above the following experts who support each other: John Paul II, Benedict XVI, John Allen, V. Messori, James V. Schall, Bryan R. Wilson, Dr. Kliever, St. Josemaria himself, and the Catholic leaders whose testimonies are found in a separate article, then I suppose we will just have to decide to give them more space than these people, and change the whole tone of this article. R Davidson 14:11, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

The trouble is that R. Davidson swallows the camel "the field" in passing, before going on to argue about some gnats. Which field? It's only if the field is "Catholic exegesis" or "Catholic theology" or suchlike that popes, or José Maria, are the experts. In the Catholic Encyclopedia, they surely are the experts, but, as Eloquence pointed out, that's not what Wikipedia is. Here, popes represent one POV; there are other equally valid POVs. Therefore R. Davidson's implicit assumption that popes are better than other experts because they are the ultimate authorities on Catholic theology is fundamentally misconceived. Popes need to have their say in the article, but because of their great "inside" authority, they actually need more, not less, balancing from the outside.
I hope I don't sound too negative. I'm actually trying to help. This is my best shot, though; I'm afraid I won't have time to dialogue any more. I wish I did, but it's the third time I've written--twice here, once on FAC--and that's it, sorry, I've got articles to write. Best wishes, Bishonen | talk 21:49, 5 October 2005 (UTC).

With all due respect to the views of Bishonen and understanding where she is coming from, I just want to say that I feel slighted by what she said about "bullying," "sham" courtesy, intransigent defense: "you guys don't give an inch". I have seen how the guys here have reacted to the specific constructive comments of Sdedeo during the peer review and also in the FAC. There were immediate corrections made on some of his comments, there was dialogue on comments that were not immediately understood, but when they were understood there were also radical changes made on the article. It is on record that I apologized and rectified.
I think what happened here in the FAC is that there were generic proposals for radical changes in structure like these two ("I recommend someone with no relationship towards OD, the Catholic Church, or any anti-cult group take a look at the article and pare it down as much as they can." "The article needs to be restructured...As it concerns an organization that very much operates in real world business and politics, the theological writing needs to be toned down, and the structure must allow easy access to key information about OD's acitvities.").
The guys here worked hard on the article, researching assiduously on what the credible (non-member; non-Catholic; non-religous) experts say. So there is a dire necessity to understand whether the research done here is going to naught. Or should be left to ideologues or amateurs on the field to write. And so I understand the emphasis of the guys here on the NPOV policy of attributing the article to credible, external, objective experts, and to understand the policy more.
I also work in the REAL world. And I know that I will be sacked if I don't follow policy. I have never thought that I can be perceived as a bully if I try to put policy into practice, much less if I plea for help to understand the policy. In such situation, it's an insult for me to be called a bully.
I am open to listen and will continue to listen for constructive, actionable, policy-based feedback. And I am sure the other guys feel the same. Lafem 02:15, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

I am thankful for her feedback. I see her point that the article seems to have been written from only one point of view. People here on the other hand see that this is being written taking into account all the POVs together while giving a lopsided preponderance to a point of view which is supported by majority of experts--Catholic, non-catholic, and non-believer. I suppose one direction this article has to look at is to look for experts who, as fuddlemark says, have "no relationship towards OD, the Catholic Church, or any anti-cult group." This is also the preferred road offered by the NPOV policy:

the core of the NPOV policy is to let competing approaches of the same topic exist on the same page: work for balance, that is: divide space describing the opposing viewpoints according to reputability of the sources. And, when available, give precedence to those sources that have been the most successful in presenting facts in an equally balanced manner.

We have to search for this type of sources. Marax 06:00, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Allen, Messori, Wilson, West, Kliever, Thierry, Rodriguez, Friedlander are not the Pope. Urquhart, Walsh, Hutchinson, Moncada are not the Pope.

I admire your courage, Bishonen. But clearly you are incorrect.

You are correct, Marax. But please do not feel any inferiority complex for the experts this article has. They are the most credible experts available and we report in proportion to the credibility of the experts.

Please see what I wrote below. This article is definitely not written from a Catholic Encyclopaedia point of view. Rabadur 07:47, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Religious experience must be approached with religous categories

May I also add what V. Messori said: We need to pay attention to all the words, especially, "The purpose for which the Lord brought this kind of supernatural reality into existence..." ...What many intelligent people seem to have forgotten for decades is a clear necesity: religious experience must be approached with religious categories. ... So many distrusts and hostilities, which burden the Work especially, have their origin in inadequate methods of interpretation....A religious reality --and something that does not intend to be anything but radically, and essentially, religious like Opus Dei--almost winds up being analyzed and then judged according to political, economic or sociological categories. Important categories but categories that exhaust the realities of politics, economics, and society....the most relevant sociopolitical consequences of the actions of a person of faith are nothing but the consequences of the choice of faith. For this adequate categories need to be observed, or at least taken into account. Baruch Spinoza taught that the actions of men are not to be laughed at or scorned, but understood."...Opus Dei is defined as a specific calling from God and the search for sanctity....(Messori, 1997, p. 82-83)

In my opinion, the deeper the understanding of the search for sanctity which defines Opus Dei, the deeper the understanding of Opus Dei will be. Lafem 02:15, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Strengthening the non-catholic/non-christian perspective for NPOV

After thinking about Bishonen's comments, I am now of the opinion that the lopsided treatment of the majority position should allow more treatment of the minority position and POV. The established 90-10/95-5 ratio should be seen for example in the introduction by explicitly stating the criticisms on cult-like behavior, ultraconservatism, rightwing and balancing them in some way. Please see what I placed in the introduction. Marax 02:40, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

I've also added the minority POV in the introductory paragraphs for the section on Opus Dei and Catholic Demands and Opus Dei in Society, as a balance for the majority POV. Marax 09:35, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Not Catholic Encyclopaedia POV!!

I changed the direct quote from Woodward's "shadowy church within the Church" to more encyclopaedic language. Please let not this article do a pendulum swing to non-serious encyclopaedic writing "just for the sake of NPOV," just so it won't appear to the FAC objectors as the Catholic Encyclopaedia. Please!

I said in the Peer Review that I don't understand why many Wikipedians think the photos of the girls doing good is promotional and the photos of Sex Positions informational. And now I also don't understand why many (some?) Wikipedians think that this is written as the Catholic Encyclopaedia would. Please! It won't even cross the mind of the CE to argue at length the utterly ridiculous notion that one of its strongly supported Catholic prelatures is a cult!! It's self-contradictory! It's irrational!! Untrue!! The CE won't refer to one of Church's much loved institutions as a right-wing fundamentalist secret society!! It won't try to use the arguments of the Catholics for Free Choice. It won't quote Urquhart and Hutchinson, etc. Hey guys, this article is much more of Wikipedia than other Featured Articles that are monopolized --tyrannized-- by ONE POV. Rabadur 09:58, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

I haven't understood a word of that. Rama 10:23, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
I suppose by CE he meant Catholic Encyclopedia? Thomas S. Major 06:25, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

He who has ears to hear let him hear. You may also want to see what I wrote to Bishonen's tirade above. Rabadur 07:36, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

If you check out Bishonen's Userpage, you might understand her tirade. If you visit Eloquence's work at Talk:Mother_Teresa, the FAQ is his, you'll understand his NPOV objections. Cabanes 10:30, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Subsections and separate articles

Breaking out articles by Lafem

Lafem broke out some of the OD sections into separate articles. In the process, he also changed (and in my opinion violated NPOV) the content. For example, he's added in praise, and removed criticism. In addition, his "broken out" pages are full of copyvio (and promotional blurb) from the opusdei website. For these sins, I reverted the article to the previous non-Lafem state. The article is long, and should be broken up one day, but not by this underhanded means. Sdedeo 02:39, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

ok. mea culpa. I moved too fast. As explained in the edit summaries, I was working for brevity: the article has 67 kb. So please do not call the move underhanded, it was out in the open. I did not remove criticism and add praise. You can check it out again, if you want. I summarized the entry and put a link to a new article where everything is intact. The new article on Opus Dei and source of controversies is not copied from elsewhere. I agree with you and we are thinking of the same objective of breaking it up, I just made a mistake of not writing my intention here. So here is it now, for people to consent to or not. As I told you in your user page, I thank you for the reminder and correction as regards copying from the OD website.  :) :) Lafem 03:06, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Hi Lafem. No problem. The cuts and pastes from the OD website made me very suspicious of you, but I am sure you meant well. I just happened to stumble by "recent changes" and see the new articles. I don't want to get otherwise involved in what is surely a very contentious subject. I suggest you try to enlist help from other talk page contributors. Good luck! Sdedeo 03:47, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Well, thanks to you, for understanding, and also for your vigilance (we need it here). I will wait for some time and if nobody objects I will bring back the Opus Dei and Source of Controversies edit (for brevity) and try to do something about the two other new articles so that they won't violate any copyrights nor NPOV. Godspeed, Sdedeo! Lafem 04:18, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm... I think Sdedeo is right. Writing from the Opus Dei information office I am happy to overlook copy violation, Lafem, and can even authorise the copies from the opusdei website re incorporation into the prelature and the priestly society of the holy cross. But I think it is clear you need to edit the text for NPOV and style. Asoane 15:26, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Unless the text is realeased under the GPL, it can't be included here, even if it is "authorized" by the copyright holder. Sdedeo 08:35, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

The permission granted for the relevant sections would be GFDL (GPL is for free software). But according to the above exchange Lafem is going to do something about the sections anyway. Asoane 15:32, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Thanks, Asoane, for your kindness.

You may all have noticed that the two articles on the priestly society and incorporation have been done. All the contributors here may want to check them out for NPOV and other needed improvements, as suggested to me by Sdedeo. Thanks. Lafem 15:48, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Separate article on Opus Dei in society

I plan to summarize the Opus Dei in society section and transfer the section to a new article of the same name. By doing this, we shorten the criticisms and we shorten the article. Perhaps we should keep in the summary the section on Revolutionary or conservative. It gives a good ending and ensures a neutral reading of the text.

I also plan to execute immediately what Lafem intended: shorten the discussion on Estruch. This can and should be done now even while waiting for Lafem to create the new article on Source of Controversies. The discussion on this book is inordinate--disproportionate, to use the current terminology. It takes up too much of precious space. Rabadur 15:19, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

Sub-dividing the OD responses: on theology of sanctity and apostolate

Since there seems to be some changing and rechanging of the subtitle on the theological viewpoint, I added some subsections to clarify further the content of that subsection and help the readers: Miseducation on the Christian vocation and Positive Meaning of the sanctity and mortification. Thus I think the first proposed change for the subheading is correct: Theology of Sanctity and Apostolate.

I suppose there should not be any neutrality problems with these subtitles. They are but an enumeration of the theological responses.

I also changed the subtitle on authentic feminism and feminist criticism. Women in Opus Dei is more neutral and covers the total content Rabadur 01:23, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

Improving titles of sub-sections

I propose to change the title of Opus Dei supporters response to cult accusations to Response: sociology of religion and theology of sanctity. The sub-sections will be entitled accordingly. These titles are more in consonance with the content. Rabadur 02:00, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Moving subsections on Escriva's theology to Escriva entry

Entries 6.1 and 6.2 (Escriva and the theology of sanctity, and Radical demands of Christianity) are all about Escriva's theology and don't mention Opus Dei. Also, the Opus Dei entry is quite long, and it already has a section on Opus Dei's mesage and teachings where Escriva's theology gets some treatment. Would anyone have any objections if I moved them to the Wikipedia entry on Josemaria Escriva?

unsigned comment by Mitch73 (talk · contribs). please sign your comments by putting ~~~~ at the end of them.
I personally have objections. I won't speak for the others, but it seems clear to me that the founder's theology is Opus Dei's theology. All the researchers are unanimous about this, including the critics: the manuals of Opus Dei are either written by him or are based on his writings. He is also considered as the model vocation of Opus Dei. Members are told that they are following Christ well if they follow Escriva's example. To understand Opus Dei with some depth and breadth one has to understand Escriva with depth and breadth.
If there seems to be a repetition, I think this is only apparent. These sections go deeper into a specific but central aspect of Escriva, and therefore of Opus Dei: Christ-centeredness and radicalness which are only implied in the teaching section. I think it is able to explain to a wider audience the very core of Opus Dei, its specific difference. And this is done with scientific accuracy and encyclopedic clarity.
May I know the author of this proposal? Lafem 07:18, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
The author was Mitch73 in this edit [1]. You can use the history button at the top/side of each page to find that out. It is true that this article is probably over-dominated by the theology Opus Dei claims to espouse. A better alternative would be an entire article, The theology of Opus Dei which goes into it in detail, including any modern additions to Escriva's original theology. The current article could then cover Opus Dei much more broadly. Here are just some basic suggestions.
  • Opus Dei financial issues
    • Organisational Financial Status
    • Sources of finance
    • Financial status of members
  • Opus Dei Influence
    • Influence on leadership
    • legislative influence (could be part of legal)
  • Opus Dei Legal
    • Law suits involving Opus Dei
    • Legal Repression of Opus Dei
  • Opus Dei in print
    • Popular literature
    • Representation in Media
      • Contrast between catholic and non catholic countries??
  • Opus Dei Disciplinary structure
    • Handling of criminal activity by members
    • Handling of breaches of internal discipline
  • Opus Dei Good works (NPOV title??? Charity works??)
    • Charity from Opus Dei
    • Charity from members
    • Use (or non-use) of charity as a method of spreading theology
  • demographics (add to membership)
Mozzerati 13:26, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

I would tend to agree more with Lafem. I did explain to Eloquence in the FAC that issues like the business deals of Opus Dei are discussed in Walsh's book. The book is mentioned in the Activities and Work sub-section. Walsh is not for a serious encyclopedia really. His work is dubious. He is more of a tabloid guy. Thomas S. Major 15:41, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

I guess your comment is in reply to my comment? It somehow doesn't seem to fit to me. These are the sections which should be written for this to become an article about Opus Dei. If Walsh isn't the source to use, then use a different source. If there is no different source then make a comment such as "there is no source of information about XXX apart from Walsh who is controversial, he says .....". That he is more of a tabloid guy. is a POV which can be stated simply by pointing to others who criticise his analysis. Mozzerati 16:05, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, Mozzerati, I was not clear enough. Here is what I quoted for Eloquence from the NPOV policy:

Title: Dubious Sources "For an encyclopedia, sources should be unimpeachable. An encyclopedia is not primary source material. Its authors do not conduct interviews nor perform original research. Hence, anything we include should have been covered in the records, reportage, research, or studies of others. In many, if not most, cases there should be several corroborating sources available should someone wish to consult them. Sources should be unimpeachable relative to the claims made; outlandish claims beg strong sources."

Nonetheless, yes, come to think about it, there are credible sources which can discuss the financial issues, financial demographics of the members, sources of financing. Allen, Messori and Gomez Perez discuss them. I'll try to see what I can put together. Then we will place it in the Opus Dei in Section. Thanks, Mozzerati, for your help. Thomas S. Major 18:05, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Reply to Tom

Thomas Major asked my opinion on my talk page...having looked over the article, I think it's likely ready for FAC. The only glaring issue I saw was this paragraph: "Opus Dei's teachings on Christianity contrasts with the views of some people. The next section shows its place in Catholic teaching, how its critics view its practices as cult-like, and its supporters response. The canonisation of Escrivá and process of beatification of some of his followers will also be discussed." I tend to find self-referential paragraphs distracting--it's a poor transition, and can be dispensed with (perhaps replaced with information that makes the transition without stating it so flatly). The article occasionally feels fragmented due to short paragraphs, but I don't feel that it is actually fragmented. You'll probably catch some flak for the feeling, but I didn't see much to suggest in the way of changes to address that (other than perhaps combining paragraphs on occasion, where appropriate). I do not much care for leaving the references and links to a separate article, but I'm not aware what the style guidance is on this--certainly someone will raise the objection in FAC, but we'll see what consensus forms. If you can see a way to reintegrating those sections, I'd sit more at ease. But in general, I'd say this is clearly some of WP's best work, certainly in the controversial area of religious organizations and movements, and I would support it if it were nominated for featured article status. Hope this helps, Tom! Jwrosenzweig 05:51, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks a million, James. Please see my comments in your talk page. :) Thomas S. Major 03:58, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I decided to copy it here as well for the others to see:
Thanks for the feedback, James, and the support. I'm so glad to hear your comments, especially that it is likely to be ready for FAC, and one of the best works in WP.
I just looked into the article and one of the editors, R Davidson, already removed the transition paragraph you referred to. I'll look into the short paragraphs if there is something I can do about it. I read somewhere in one of the style guides that WP recommends short paragraphs, but I will have to double-check that. I'll do the same for the bibliography and references. Well, thanks again... and I'll wait for your comments when it is nominated as FAC. Even though the editors worked on it quite harmoniously, the topic is controversial per se. So I am not so sure what to expect when it is nominated. Anyway... all for the best! Thomas S. Major 02:49, 24 September 2005 (UTC) :)
I also tried to improve the transitions of paragraphs. I hope that takes care of the awkward feeling, at least in part. Thomas S. Major 05:34, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Opus Dei in fiction

This article needs a section on how Opus Dei is portrayed in fiction, I would be willing to guess that most people are looking up Opus Dei because of the Da Vinci Code.

Please see old discussion this:

I would suggest the removal of the section regarding The DaVinci Code as mostly irrelevant to the purpose of portraying Opus Dei and as more accurate belonging with a discussion of the book itself. Its being a work of fiction means that any and all claims and allegations included within are made to further the plot of the novel, not as a form of attack or commentary on any organization.

A mention of the reference and responses thereto are appropriate, but any further indepth discussion ought to take place on the page for the novel itself, where claims of its veracity can be placed into proper context.

--Agamemnon2 13:59, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

   I agree. That section does not belong here. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 14:13, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Section neutrality warning

I gave a section a neutrality warning because it treats the reliability of apostates in an unfair and unbalanced way. The reliability of apostates is a complicated and controversial issue and should not be simplified by using selective quotes copied from the website of scientology. Besides I think the section would be better if it were more specific. The section should treat the question if and why the apostates of Opus Dei are (un-)reliable, not the reliability of apostates in general. I consider general statements in the article about the reliability of apostates as insulting and irrelevant as a statement in the article Angela Merkel that she cannot become chancellor of Germany because women are on average less intelligent. Andries 13:40, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

I will try to improve the section but that takes some time. Andries 13:42, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

With all due respect to you, Andries, as I understand this issue, the responses refer to the conclusions of social scientists. Science is supposed to be knowledge that is universally or generally applicable, i.e. gravity, law of supply and demand, DNA, etc. Of course, social science which refers to human beings who are free and contingent, the general statements are less rigid and more carefully worded to allow for bell-curve situations, exceptions, etc.

The conclusions of Wilson (atheist), Kliever (protestant), and Introvigne (catholic), etc. agree on these general statements which are placed in the article. As scientific statements, they do not intend to insult anybody. They are stating general trends and there can be exceptions. As you can see the statements are carefully worded to admit of exceptions:

that one of the reasons for such claims is that people leaving religious groups can feel themselves in need of self-justification. A person who leaves may then view himself as a victim who has been hurt by the organization.
I hope this answers your comment. If you have other ideas, please say it here. So we can work towards removing the NPOV tag. Lafem 01:03, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
There are other social scientists and religious scholars, like Benjamin Zablocki, Jean Duhaime, and Stephen A. Kent who have different, more positive idease about the reliability of apostates and their motivations and their views should be mentioned here too. Andries 06:31, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
And when you mention Kliever then also write that his article was written upon request for Scientology. Andries 06:34, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Concerning this NPOV tag, please note that Andries, does not like generalizations made against apostates only because he is one, and his belief that these statements by scholars challenge his own victimization narrative (that could be sincere and truthful, but that is not the issue). By Andries own admission: "[...] I have to admit that I have been a POV pusher on the latter subject [apostasy in cults] because I am an ex-cult member and I hate to be called a liar with regards to a very difficult experience of my life that I tried to tell in an accurate, factual way to others."[2]. So, this NPOV tag is not about Opus Dei, but about Andries himself and his attempt to use this encyclopedia to resolve a deep personal issue by means of advocating for apostates. We have to understand and see that in almost all religions, and more evidently in non-mainstream religions, the role/allegations/narratives of critical leavers is consistently the same: a demonization of their former devotion or belief and their leaders. Note that I am not judging if they are right or wrong, but these are proven facts. Also note that I absolutely respect Andries' feelings and wish him the best in resolving his deep personal conflicts, but I will continue to oppose his attempt to use WP as a platform for that resolution. That is not the purpose of this encyclopedia and it will never resolve anything, just prolong his angst and anger. -ZappaZ Yin yang.svg 02:55, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Zappaz is wrong when he says that "the role/allegations/narratives of critical leavers is consistently the same: a demonization of their former devotion or belief and their leaders. ". Critical leavers are diverse , disagree among each other and have only two things in common, they are critical and they have left. In many cases they do not demonize their former group, but want to make humans out of saints and self-proclaimed gurus, deities, and prophets. I am such a critical leaver and I challenge everybody who believes Zappaz to check the articles that I wrote about my former faith in Wikipedia. See Beliefs_and_practices_in_the_Sathya_Sai_Organisation (this article contains no criticism at all) and Sathya Sai Baba I admit though that some critical former followers are angry and feel betrayed which may be visible in their writings. Andries 18:09, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Zappaz, for your comments. I truly appreciate them. I also appreciate Andries coming forward to express his personal ideas.

I agree with Zappaz that these are statements of facts. I also agree with Lafem's point that these are scientific statements not meant insult anyone. And here in the Opus Dei article they have been expressed very carefully.

I do not see any problem of neutrality here. Perhaps there might be problems of completeness of information. But that is another thing. Not neutrality. So please allow me to remove the NPOV tag as we work towards completeness. Thomas S. Major 09:18, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Zablocki and Duheim to criticism and Introvigne to response

Please see this statement from a review of Zablocki's book: "critics of the anticult position still enjoy a comfortable majority in NRM studies (a fact both acknowledged and lamented by Zablocki and Beit-Hallahmi)." [3]

Here the Opus Dei response is based on the majority of scholars. The minority scholars can be placed in the criticism section and the majority scholars in the response section. This solves the problem. Please see the changes I made. Rabadur 03:26, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

  1. The main topic of the book by Zablocki that Introvigne reviewed is, not the reliability of apostates, but brainwashing and I admit that scholars who do not believe in brainwashing form the majority. In other words, Introvigne makes no statement who has the majority on the topic of apostate reliability. Andries 19:42, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
  2. Besides Introvigne is very partial in this matter and he has every reason to portray the people who disagree with him as a minority.Andries 19:42, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
  3. I think that the extreme views of Wilson are a minority. I do not know other scholars who go so far in their view. Eileen Barker who is very mainstream certainly does not go as far as Wilson. A typical anti-cult (and I admit minority view) would be to believe apostates uncritically but this is not what Duhaime an Zablocki propose. Philip Lucas, founder of the magazine Nova Religio, got the same results as Zablocki. Andries 19:42, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
  4. When assessing the testimonies of apostates, sociologists, like Bromley, make a distinction between the factual events and the interpretation by them. The latter are treated with more skepticism than the former. Andries 19:42, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
  5. Above all, I think that the section contents is bascially wrong: it treats a specific subject with general statements. As I said, the article should state why the apostates of Opus Dei are (un-)reliable. This is no pyhsics: generalizations about people are often wrong, daily life and history have shown. If you want to discuss this subject then you should write something like
"Adherents of Opus Dei point in response to the accusations to the fact that several sociologists and religious scholars, like Wilson, treat the testimonies of critical former members with skepticism. See apostasy. "
That sentence must be enough. 19:42, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Section is factually wrong

Introvigne did not respond to the empirical research by Zablocki about the reliability of apostates in Introvigne's book review of Zablocki's book Misunderstanding cults. I am too tired to correct it now. Andries 18:27, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

A neglected sub-topic: involvement in far-right politics

Dear all in Wikipedia. I just want to add one concern about one of the sections of the article "" and one of the articles that were derived from this one, that was unreachable (because the link was wrong) and that I was trying to edit: "". I explain some of my concerns in the discussion I have had with Lafem in the discussion page of that article. I have not time today, so I just copy my answer to Lafem here. Bye.

I have written an introduction summarizing the content of this page and I have renewed the link in the main page -as it was wrong and did not send anywhere. --Uncertain 17:06, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

I reverted Lafem's reversion because it was not explained enough. He, as anyone else in Wikipedia, should discuss his insights before he changes anything in a topic as controversial as this one. Most of history schoolbooks in Spain, both in the highschool and in the university, explain the strong relationships Opus Dei had with the Franco's dictatorship. This is not fair to dismiss it saying it is "new research". Maybe OD does not want to have such an involvement with any government now. But this is part of its history which cannot deny. Which cannot hide. --Uncertain 20:15, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you, Uncertain, and welcome to Wikipedia! I am happy that you explain your intervention. I am sorry I felt I had to revert your contribution because it is a policy in Wikipedia that contributions without attributions, i.e. seemingly original research cannot be allowed in the encyclopedia: Wikipedia:No Original Research Many other Wikipedians are on the lookout for such contributions as has been shown in other articles and in the Opus Dei article where non-attributed interventions were routinely removed until the contributor gives references.
I am not going to revert your contribution but I will await a few days, let's say 3 days, to wait for references, books or titles that you are using for your contribution.
I would also like to disagree that many history books connect Opus Dei with Franco. John Allen who wrote the latest book on Opus Dei confirms the political freedom of Opus Dei members and what Opus Dei spokespersons have been saying: "Opus Dei is filed under F for Franco," concedes Jack Valero, the organisation's spokesman in Britain."Some members worked in Franco's Spain, became ministers of his. But Opus Dei people are free to do whatever they wish politically. Other members were against Franco." He cites the dissident Rafael Calvo Serer, who was driven into exile in the early 70s and saw the newspaper he published closed by the government. Allen confirms that by the latter stages of the Franco era, Opus Dei in Spain was divided "50/50" over the regime. [4] There are also a number of books which confirm this. Books by Crozier, Preston and of course, Berglar, a member. The first two are not.
So your contribution could be said to be not Wikipedia:NPOV (neutral point of view) and even not accurate, non-verifiable: "However, Opus Dei was not only linked but also tightly interwoven with the power structures of the Francoist dictatorship soon after the Spanish Civil War, although its stronger involvement in the government came in the late 1950s. Spanish history textbooks agree that the Opus Dei had a strong influence in the regime."
I will gladly collaborate with you in a scholarly way on this one, and based on the policies of this encyclopedia. While I await your references, I have placed a tag on neutrality and factual accuracy. A ver si podemos colaborar bien. Muchas gracias. Un saludo. Lafem 03:47, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Dear Lafem, I find that you has arrogated yourself an authority you have not: to impose deadlines. You claim my editing is NPOV and "original research". I can claim that your intervention is vandalism. Intellectual vandalism, if you prefer.
I will give you my answer in less than three days, although I am not in my ow university and it is very difficult to me to take some time to make bibliographical investigation--that at home would be very easy. So, please, Lafem, do not press me. You are not the landlord of this page.
Let me explain my will and my concern with this article: as I will explain later, when I have time, I want to separate allegations and implicit accusations in the actual article of the Opus Dei being related with today's political involvement. I think this article should focus on historical well proven facts. It is proven enoguh that Opus Dei HAD strong links with the Franco's dictadorship. The point is to separate individual involvement of some member or from organizational or ideological involvement of the Opus itself, if it is posible.
My will, when I started editing the article with good faith and little of Wikiskills, was to highlight that even if it is proven that Opus Dei, as an organisation, had some links with Francoism in the past, it does not mean that it is now involved with neo-fascism, conservatism or any other -ism. Or that indivisual involvement of members does not mean that this is the policy of the organization--althought this involvement have implied direct advantages to the organization, perhaps unwanted. Those are different issues.
Conversely, if it is proven beyond any doubt that Opus Dei has not current political involvements or that it tried to avoid them in the past, it does not mean that it did not had.
This is what I feel it lacks in the article, that is much to biased to accusation of surrent involvement and veiled denyings of past facts.
I would like to put all these concerns in the main discussion, because this one is hidden--to the deep sinful happiness of Opus Dei hard line supporters. Majorities cannot deny truth.
Finally, I will plea for interventions in the main discussions about the current state of the Opus Dei article's section "Freedom and pluralism vs. far-right politics": I think this is the most neglected part of the article and it is, to me, extremely biased. However, I am not going to give you three days before I put the sign of "Accuracy dispute". See you around. -- 18:04, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, I was not looged in.  :-/ This is my signature: --Uncertain 18:09, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Uncertain, I am thankful for your intention to help and to research on the area of Opus Dei and politics. Please take your time. Although I see the point of Lafem, I think that it is not right to give deadlines. We are all volunteers here. Very well, then, see you around too, Uncertain. Marax 02:10, 18 October 2005 (UTC)


I removed the disputed sign in the sub-article. I think the solution to this problem is easy. I just moved Uncertain's contributions on Franco to the Franco section of the sub-article and kept his excellent introduction. And then I added what should be added to make this piece neutral: the other side. Please keep the following guideline in mind and hopefully there won't be any further problems: Wikipedia:Wikiquette ;-) Rabadur 08:51, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for correcting the introduction, Rabadur. I feel, however, that it now cast doubts, inadvertently I assume, on the fact that Opus Dei members supported the regime.
I have seen, none the less, that each new addition to the article has enhance the role of some members of OD on opposition to Francoism —Antonio Fontán, for instance—, and has diminished the much larger role and number of those who supported it. The picture of Fontán posted by Thomas S. Major (in the place that was full by Franco one month ago) is but an example.
OD prominent members that publicly opposed Francoism where a minority, and they did in the very last years when it seemed likely that the regime was going to change. Some of them, such as the cited Calvo Serer, only changed their position after they had supported the regime for many years, in its darkest moments. For instance, Calvo Serer wrote a book against Lain Entralgo, who changed his mind long before, supporting the Franco’s regime for endorsing National-Catholicism. See . He changed after he was fired from its position in the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (see also Preston 1990: 123). A more balanced point of view should take into account that the majority of international scholars on Spanish History portray Opus Dei as one of the members of the ruling coalition—although a minority one and far more moderate than that of Falange or of Convervative Catholics.
I beg you for a more balanced view and a vider bibliographic reference. --Uncertain 09:35, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

A bibliography about Francoism and Opus Dei involvement in the dictatorship

I think the discussion on the involvement of Opus Dei in Francoism is limited because it just uses a few books (I have counted just four), and most of them written by members of, or simpathetic with OD. I think the discussion needs some scholarly input from Spain History books.

These are some books on general history of Spain durign Francoism or the whole Twentieth Century that cite Opus Dei's involvement in Franco's politics. All of them devotes at leats ten pages to the topic, and cites OD in several others. Most of them portray OD as a secretive organization deeply involved in francoism from its very beggining--One of the so-called "families" of the Regime's "Movement". On the positive side, most of them portray OD ministers after 1956 as some of the builders of Spanish economic development.

Most of those books have been written by prominent international scholars [Preston, Payne, Carr, etc.] or have been published by well-known international presses or universitites [Longman, Prentice-Hall, HarperCollins, etc.]. I have found both old and new prints. I have just added one from an Spanish printing house, one of the largest and more reputable [Planeta]. I hope this will be usefull for all the students of Spain, Francoism, Fascism, and Opus Dei. I have not tried to be balanced: overwhelmingly all the books I have found so far (in a common British universitary libary) portrays OD this way. --Uncertain 08:55, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Arango, E. Ramón. 1995 (1985). Spain. Democracy Regained (Second Edition). Boulder, CO: Westview.
Carr, Raymond, and Juan Pablo Fusi. 1991 (1979). Spain: Dictatorship to democracy. London: Routledge.
De Blaye, Edouard. 1976 (1974). Franco and the Politics of Spain. Middlessex: Penguin. [original title Franco ou la monarchie sans roi, Editions Stock]
Ellwood, Sheelagh. 1994. Franco. Harlow, UK: Longman.
Garriga, Ramón. 1977. El Cardenal Segura y el Nacional-Catolicismo. Barcelona: Planeta.
Graham, Robert. 1984. Spain. Change of a Nation. London: Michael Joseph.
Gunther. Richard. 1980. Public Policy in a No-Party State. Spanish Planning and Budgeting in the Twilight of the Franquist Era. Berkeley: University of California.
Herr, Richard. 1971. Spain. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Hills, George. 1970. Spain. London:
Payne, Stanley G. 1999. Fascism in Spain. 1923-1977. Madison, WI: Wisconsin University.
Preston, Paul. 1990. The Politics of Revenge. Fascism and the Military in Twentieth-Century Spain. London. Unwin Hyman.
Preston, Paul. 1993. Franco. A Biography. London: HarperCollins.
--Uncertain 08:55, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Some evidence:

In his history of Francoism, Franco, Preston writes very balanced (1993:669):
"The arrival of the technocrats has been interpreted variously as a planned take-over by Opus Dei and a clever move by Franco to 'fill vacant seats in the latest round of musical chairs' [he quotes Yntfante's Santa mafia]. In fact, the arrival of the technocrats was neither sinister nor cunning but rather a piecemeal and pragmatic response to a specific set of problems. By the beggining of 1957, the regime faced political and economic bankrupcy. Franco and Carrero Blanco were looking for new blood and fresh ideas. To be acceptable, new men had to come from within the Movimiento, be catholic, accepted the idea of an eventual return to the monarchy and be, in Francoist terms, apolitical. López Rodó, Navarro Rubio and Ullastres [members of OD] were ideal. López Rodó was the nominee of Carrero Blanco. [He quotes López Rodó's Memories]. The dynamic Navarro Rubio was the Caudillo's choice. Franco had known him since 1949. He was a Procurador en Cortes for the Sindicatos and had been highly recommended by the outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Rafael Cavestany. Preston quotes Navarro Rubio's memories]. Both López Rodó and Navarro Rubio suggested Ullastres. [López Rodó's memories]. Without being a monolitic unit, López Rodó, Navarro Rubio and Ullastres worked together as a team, despite occasional frictions, to push for the administrative and economic modernization of the regime". --Uncertain 10:08, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

(Preston 1993:632n)

"Opus Dei was an increasily powerful Catholic secular order --a conservative elite whose members were enjoined to perform their apostolic task by excelling at their chosen profession"
--Uncertain 14:03, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

I would be happy to cite Paul Preston as main expert on Franco. I would add as one more to the above list Brian Crozier, author of a well known biography of Franco. Neither author has any link with Opus Dei. They both tackle the question of whether Opus Dei supported Franco, and they seem to agree (some members clearly did; Opus Dei did not). Incidentally, Vittorio Messori has no link either with Opus Dei and there should be no problem with quoting him as an independent expert on Opus Dei. (Ditto John Allen.)


1) Paul Preston, Franco. A Biography, London, 1993:
"The fact that López Rodó was a member too led to speculation that the three constituted a sinister block at the orders of a secret society... Falangist resentment, combined with a readiness to believe in sinister masonic conspiracies, led to the emergence of the idea of the Opus as a Catholic freemasonry or mafia." (p. 669)
"The arrival of the technocrats has been interpreted variously as a planned takeover by Opus Dei and a clever move by Franco to 'fill vacant seats in the latest round of musical chairs. In fact the arrival of the technocrats was neither sinister nor cunning but a rather piecemeal and pragmatic response to a specific set of problems... López Rodó was the nominee of Carrero Blanco. The dynamic Navarrio Rubio was the Caudillo's choice. Franco had known him since 1949. He was a Procurador en Cortes for the Sindicatos and had been highly recommended by the outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Rafael Cavestany." (p. 669)
"Bright, hard-working functionaries were emerging who were more concerned to get top jobs in the state apparatus than to implement the ideology of Falangism. That was entirely true of men like López Rodó and Navarro Rubio who were labelled as being primarily of Opus Dei but were more accurately seen as being part of what came to be called the 'bureacracy of number ones', those who had won competitive civil service examinations or university chairs while still very young. Other prominent administrators of Francoism in the 1960s, like Manuel Fraga and Torcuato Fernández Miranda, were usually described as Falangists... Ironically, in the early 1960s, there was more tension between López Rodó and Navarro Rubio than between López Rodó and Fraga." (p. 695)

I see I have used part of the same passage cited by Uncertain, so I think a consensus should be attainable as long as the entry stays reasonably close to the sources. Crozier's outlook is usually quite different from Preston's, but on this particular subject they more or less coincide.

2) Brian Crozier, Franco. A biographical history, London, 1967:
"The charge that Opus Dei had been aiming at political power, and had achieved it at last, was heard in February 1957, when Ullastres and Navarro Rubio joined Franco’s cabinet. In this bare form, the charge seems to be unfounded because based on a misconception of what Opus Dei is.
It is not, as its enemies either think or want others to think, a political party; nor is it a political pressure group. Nor, for that matter, is it a kind of super labour-exchange for politicians. In February 1957, Franco did not turn, as one would almost conclude from reading hostile comment, to Opus Dei's leadership, saying, in effect: 'I have vacancies for a couple of technocrats. Send me some candidates and I shall make my choice.' This would not have been Franco’s way, even if it had been Opus Dei's ambition. What happened was more pragmatic and less sinister. Franco had heard of the intellectual and technical merits of Ullastres and Navarro Rubio and sent for them; they happened to be members of Opus Dei. On the same occasion, he had heard of the intellectual and technical merits of Castiella and Gual Villalbi and sent for them; but Castiella and Gual Villalbi happened not to be members of Opus Dei.
In other words, Opus Dei was not a group to be conciliated by being given a share in power, as the Monarchists were, or the Falange, or the Army." (p. 460)
"In the meantime, Opus Dei offers a remarkable diversity of opinions: for instance, Rafael Calvo Serer, one of [its] leading thinkers, is an enthusiastic Monarchist, while Ullastres is cool towards a restoration. Other shades of opinion range from the authoritarian right to the Christian social left." (p. 461)

Finally, the first Spanish government to include members of Opus Dei started on 25 February 1957. In my opinion, to say that Opus Dei supported that Spanish government is as much a misunderstanding as to say it supports the present British government, or any other. Asoane 15:27, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

This is wonderful. Great research, Asoane! Thomas S. Major 08:15, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
I suppose Uncertain will be happy to know that there is a Spanish site containing ample bibliography on Franco. Indice de Preguntas sobre Franco; Bibliografía de Franco y el Opus Dei Perhaps you can help translate these into English. Thanks for your help. :) Thomas S. Major 09:48, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
I see, Thomas, you are improving your readings. That's good! However, you should look outside the Opus Dei Web site to look for more balanced points of view, don't you think? I agree that this bibliography, althogh incomplete, should be in English and I encourage you to translate [translations should be done preferably by natives, and I am not]. If it is not made, some bad hearted people could think that you are trying to conceal information to English readers--most of those of Wikipedia.
I think you are happy to find a place that have this bibliography already made so you have not made too much effort. Congratulations! --Uncertain 12:52, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Asoane, there are more material on the campaign against the technocrats of Franco that happened to be members of Opus Dei, that coincidence. See for instance the book by Payne [in the bibliography]. I chose Preston's because I find him the most balanced: he underlines the campaign was driven by the Falange controled press. Only two newspapers had owners that were members of Opus Dei, the often cited Madrid and Arriba [I am not sure about this late, I am citing from my memory]. The origin of most of the material that portrays Opus Dei as a "secretive society" or a "dangerous group" comes from this era: Falange was jealous of loosing its power within the cabinet. Is the origin of most of Opus Dei's "black legend". In fact, Madrid was mostly prosecuted from the government after the so called "technocrats" lost places in the cabinet and Falange regained them.
My point when I quoted those paragraphs was not to deny that those ministers were promoted by Franco because they succeded as technicians within Francos' administration: Preston, or Payne, underlines somewhere [please do not make me to look again for it!] that Franco always prefered technicians more than ideologists, although he had to balanced the "families" of the regime.
My point was to underline that, (1) some members of Opus Dei werr part of the Franco's cabinet, (2) that, althuogh a limite number, they were in very important places, that (3) they enjoyed the trust of Franco, not because they were to support the regime --it was just their professional work, wasn't it-- but because they were not against [in that time Spain, "apolitical" meant "not against Franco" (see Payne)], that (4) they enjoy a position that were ban to most of the Spanish society of the time --they were lucky or extremely good technicians--; Opus Dei was, perhaps accidentaly, overrepresented in Franco's cabinets. It is undeniable (5) that there is a link, perhaps accidental, of Opus Dei and the highest positions of Spanish government before and, specially, after 1957.
(6) Also, this was my main point, your answer arises different topics than this one, that most of the historians call this "family" of the regime "the Opus Dei family", althoght the most serious of these stress the word "technocrats" to refer to this group. To quote Preston, that you find balanced too: "With Juan Carlos now named as successor, Solís was frantically seizing the las chance to break the hegemony of the Opus Dei group before the post-Franco future began. In part also, the scandal-mongering of the Movimiento press represented an effort to revive declining circulations with sensationalist mud-slinging. Whatever his motives, Fraga, as Minister of Information, let it happen, but the anti-Opus Dei tactic of Solís backfired badly. Franco did not believed that the ministers linked to Opus Dei acted as a sinister independent block and delighted in their absolute personal loyalty to him, commenting that "they are perfect gentlement". They had solved problems and caused him no embarrassment." (Preston 1993: 744-45; stress is mine). Of course, this is a case of personal loyalty, and it is a coincidence that they were members of Opus Dei. In his book index, Preston summarizes all of this under "Opus Dei and cabinet".
I would like to highlight that one of those few ministers that happened to be members of the Opus Dei, was NOT in a "technical" position: Torcuato Fernández Miranda was "Minister Secretary-General of the Movimiento", the chief of the only allowed party in Franco's era. This used to be a very ideological position, although his main job was to "De-Falangizing the movimiento" (Preston 1996:746).
Asoane, perhaps you would enjoy this quotation in Payne's book (because it supports the idea that Falange began the so called "black legend"): "For camisas viejas [old members of Falange], the "Opus ministers" represented a "new right" who were selling the birthright of the Nationalists of the Civil War for a mess of foreign investment, and at one Movement meeting in Madrid in June 1964 they accused the technocartic government of killing the spirit of the Eighteenth of July. In April 1966 Franco complained of these criticisms, lamenting that "the only newspapers who do not say what their owners want are those of the Movement". Verbal assaults on Opus Dei, however veiled, became so persistent that than on 28 of October Monsignor Escrivá de Balaguer, the institute's founder and director, wrote directly to Solís to protest against "the campaign against Opus Dei that is carried out so unjustly by the press of the Falange, dependent on Your Excellency."" (1996:441-42)
--Uncertain 12:52, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Again, I feel that is the moment to start correcting the article and the section in the main one, instead of grabbing to find another Opus Dei member that once was against Francoism. --Uncertain 12:52, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you Uncertain. One would not have to go far to find other members of Opus Dei who were jailed or detained for some protest act or other under Franco, whether by writing or demonstrating against the regime. John Allen's recent book mentions several (pp.59-60), and I personally know another. Allen mentions Manuel Fernandez Areal, jailed for critical pieces he published in the Diario Regional de Valladolid, and Pere Pascual who founded a clandestine union for journalists and was involved in the caputxinada in Barcelona. Most of the others listed in the book would be invisible to political historians, who, coming from another angle, concentrate on the great and good (and not-so-good), but after all this is an entry about Opus Dei, and for this purpose they as members are well above the radar.

Although I agree with much of what you say, and I realise that you are interested in fairness, I am especially concerned about the labelling of *Opus Dei* as one of Franco's families of support - not only because Opus Dei did not support Franco, but because of (and for the sake of) the many Spanish members of Opus Dei who opposed him. If members were well-represented in Franco's government after 1957, they were also well-represented among those people, both well known and not so well known, who demonstrated against him. Payne's amusing observation on the word "apolitical" may have its uses from the Francoist angle, but with regard to Opus Dei "apolitical" does not just mean "does not oppose Franco": it really does mean that Opus Dei, which is not just Spanish, takes, and took, no political stance.

I do appreciate the extract of the letter to Solis. Escriva's letter is cited at some length in Messori's book (in the original Italian edition, and in the Spanish), and the jist of it is a complaint that members of the Falange were attacking Opus Dei per se. I don't think he or any member of Opus Dei would have complained if Solis had attacked the individual members of Opus Dei who were, as you say, acting under their own responsibility. This has been the consistent attitude of Opus Dei and its founder, and it goes to the heart of the entire discussion and I think the Wikipedia entry as well. (Messori's book also confirms that a later secretary general of the Falange [albeit briefly], Torcuato Fernandez de Miranda, was a member of Opus Dei, which shows inter alia how independent members are.)

If some future historian were to say that Tony Blair, or "Blairism", enjoyed the support of Opus Dei because of Ruth Kelly I would object similarly: here in Britain the fallacy should be obvious without need to consult the historians. As regards the terminology "families of support" it is by no means universal among the historians cited, but I would not object if it were used with "technocrats" as one of the families - not Opus Dei. Asoane, 14:18, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

This is simply looking good. What historical research and discussion! I like it, guys. Uncertain, Asoane, Tom, the only contribution I can put forward is something I read (from Messori?) saying to the effect that there were many other politicians from other Catholic groups who worked with Franco. And so I'd disagree Opus Dei was especially favoured or there was a ban for other people to work with the gov. If there were only 8 from OD out of 116, I am sure there were many many more from other groups, is it Catholic Action? whatever. Well, well, just keep it up guys; I will be out for sometime.....the real world beckons. ;-) Rabadur 12:01, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you Rabadur. Well, I gave two inaccurate references above, trying to quote Messori's book from memory. The corrections are:

  • a) Torcuato Fernandez de Miranda was not a member of Opus Dei: I confused him with Fernando Herrero Tejedor (one of his successors as secretary general), and I assume Uncertain's source must have done the same.
  • b) the letter from Escriva to Solis is cited by Messori, but not at great length. The place to find it given in its entirety is in Cavalleri, Intervista sul fondatore dell'Opus Dei, Milan, 1992.

On the question of newspapers, Messori's book states "A similar case [to 'Madrid'] is that of the 'Europa Press News Agency' and the daily 'El Alcazar', where the journalists included many who were and still are famous in Spain. Some of these journalists were members of Opus Dei (about ten out of two hundred). 'Europa Press' was subjected to repeated harassment and in 1967 'El Alcazar' was by government order taken out of the hands of the editor and the journalistic staff."

I think 'Arriba', mentioned earlier, must have been a Falangist publication, and I gather 'Alcazar' likewise was (again) from 1968. Asoane 21:27, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, Asoane, it was El Alcázar instead of Arriba. In fact I did a bad joke --inadvertendly, I promise: Arriba was one of Falange's most important newspapers and it was against the Opus Dei's technocrats in government. My memory, sometimes... --Uncertain 09:37, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
This quotation from Hills supports the idea that Opus Dei technocrats were appointed to the government because of their technical skills: "Three of the Ministers [of the October 1969 cabinet], all concerned with economic affaires, are known to be members of Opus Dei. Much more importance should be given to their being technocrats than to their religious affiliation. The economic development overlord, López Rodó, is one of them" (Hills 1970: 451). Opus Dei, as an organisation, was not directly linked to the government --but, again, this was not my point. Opus Dei members in the government helped to curve the Falangist ideology of the regime and helped to open it economically. Outside the government, some of them were active to liberalise the press, specially after Opus Dei members left the cabinet. But, again, this was not my point. --Uncertain 09:37, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Finally, the difference between the Blair's and the Franco's government [specially the Franco's one in the 150s] is that Franco's governments were those of a bloody dictatorship, appointed by an illegitimate ruler. This make them difficult to compare in an example, Asoane. Can you see the difference? That was my point: Opus Dei members could have said "no" to the dictator. Why they did not? The ten commandments do not state "You will not support a bloody dictatorship", but there is room to interpretation. "Technocracy" or "technical positions" are not an excuse. However, I have not written that the Opus Dei as an organisation was directly involved, did I? Read my original introduction to the "Opus Dei and allegations of involvement in far-right politics" article: I clearly separate the individual from the institutional. My point is that Opus Dei was overrepresented in government (not only in the cabinet) and in the University, and that the organisation took advantage of the Regime to spread and prosper. Well, it is again a joke to speak of "representation" in a dictatorship. My point is that this representation is overwhelmingly larger than the handle of Opus Dei members that were against the dictatorship --those you are looking for in the footnotes of History. It portrays Opus Dei members' majority as conservative at that time (and still now in Spain), and the Opus as an organisation related with mostly conservative thinking. [Someone told about majorities in this "Talk"]. It portrays it taking advantage of a situation that made Spain worst-off. This is Opus Dei's "original sin", which price is paying today. --Uncertain 09:37, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Whoops. I added something about Arriba to my earlier post before realising you had already made the point in the meantime. Sorry about that...

My main concern is, as I wrote earlier, to point out that Opus Dei did not support Franco. Some of its members supported him. Some opposed him, and they are not all footnotes of history - although footnotes are not irrelevant. I looked for them only because of the apparent challenge, and I rather hoped they would be welcomed. But on the main point, if you agree that the individual should be separated from the institutional, a sentence such as "Opus Dei was overrepresented in government" blurs the lines. I am hopeful that we can agree on this and the comparison between governments holds up at this very point (not on others, I agree).

There is something new in your last posting, or at least I did not catch it before: the statement that Opus Dei took advantage of the situation (presumably intentionally, if it can be described as a "sin") and is paying the price. First of all one would have to show in what way Opus Dei took advantage, or whether it was just some members who did so. Or perhaps it was just a viewpoint for the discussion page.

I agree with you on some things and have dug up facts in support of your propositions nos.1, 2 and 3 (far above). I think no.4 is problematic but perhaps it is just the wording that makes it so. Ditto no.5 (perhaps "accidental" makes it ok). It is chiefly with this no.6 that I do not agree. Asoane 11:34, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Opus Dei did not take advantage of Franco's regime and was not overrepresented

I am beginning a new section to make it easier to focus on the issue raised by Uncertain. Here is the basic issue:

My point (Uncertain's) is that Opus Dei was overrepresented in government (not only in the cabinet) and in the University, and that the organisation took advantage of the Regime to spread and prosper..... It portrays it taking advantage of a situation that made Spain worst-off. This is Opus Dei's "original sin", which price is paying today.

My point in turn is the title of this section.

1) OD, could have taken advantage, but did not take advantage of the Franco Regime to spread and prosper.

Allen recalls the Benelli story: Benelli --right hand man of Paul VI--wanted a Catholic Party in Spain a la Italy's Christian Democrats and wanted all Catholics to tow the line. Escriva, who was truly desperate in asking the help of Benelli to talk to Paul VI re personal prelature status, refused Benelli. And later complained to Benelli for holding Opus Dei hostage so Benelli could have his way. Allen says: "The Benelli story offers a good case for testing whether Escrifva was serious about OD having no political agenda. If ever there was a set of circumstances propitious for a "power grab", this situation presented them. ...If OD led the way in the creation of Spanish version of Christian Democ, its imaginable that its total of 8 ministers in 36 years under Franco would have been swamped by its representation in a new Spanish government."

Escriva stated in Conversations that Opus Dei had the hardest time and the greatest difficulties in Spain. I think partly because of accusations like these without any foundation in reality, "sin fundamento in re."

2) OD could not have been overrepresented in the government.

There were only 8 ministers of 119 in 36 years, one died three months after he took over and 3 others were there only for one term. And that is 1957 when Opus Dei already expanded so much. There were several other Catholics from other associations involved with Franco.

[[Nice point, Marax. I have seen these Messori's figures quoted several times in this discussion, and in other pages. Lets accept the rough figures, although it is difficult to say who was a member of Opus Dei (or not, I wrote --following Preston-- that Fernández Miranda was a member and Messori seems to deny it, but I think he has the same evidence than Preston; E. Ramón Arango (1995) doubts that even Carrero Blanco was a member) and I do not really know how many ministers served under Franco (the cited Gunther says --following Amando de Miguel-- that were 87 ministers until 1974, the year before Franco died). Lets accept those figures.
When I say that the Opus Dei was over-represented in Franco's governments I do not mean that the technocrats that-happened-to-be-members were representing any organisation. I do not even mean that there were any kind of representativeness (it was a dictatorship) although all the authors I have quoted underline that there where "quotas" for the powerful groups of the Movimiento. When I say that the Opus was over-represented I mean that it was over-represented in statistical terms.
8 ministers of 119 mean a 6.896%. If they were a proportional representation of Spain, the Opus Dei should have had 2,109,168 members, something that has never happened in the whole world [I take the population of Spain as 30,582,936 in 1960]. Conversely, this figure means that for one member of the Opus Dei to reach the cabinet the chance is very low. Lets say that the Opus Dei had then the members it has today, about 80,000. The chance that one would have reached the cabinet is, at least, 80,000 / 30,582,936 = 0.00261 [one member cabinet; for a cabinet of, lets say, 10: 0.0261] For three ministers, those of the 1957 cabinet, for instance, the chance is 0.00000000000468 [0.0000000000468 for a cabinet of 10 members]. This is what I mean when I say that the Opus Dei was over-represented. I can say, in the same way, that the women were infra-represented, Am I wrong? [Well, if there is a mathematician around, please, correct my figures  ;-) ].
We know that they were good technicians. They should be extremely good technicians to compensate such adverse probability.
By the way, I would add to the bibliography the books I have just cited:
- Gunther, Richard. 1980. Public Policy in a No-Party State. Spanish Planning and Budgeting in the Twilight of the Franquist Era. Berkeley, CA: University of California. ]]
- Arango, E. Ramón. 1995. Spain. Democracy Regained. Boulder,CO: Westview
--Uncertain 19:52, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
Re over-representation, one can make a calculation closer to home: if a member of Opus Dei is in the present British cabinet with, say, 22 other ministers, then with a population of approaching 60 million obviously there are between 2 and 3 million members of Opus Dei in the UK. :-) Actually there are 520 members. So Opus Dei is over-represented in the British Government, then? The answer is clearly no: in fact it is not represented at all.
The problem of "representation" has to do with the separation of the institutional from the personal. Opus Dei was not in government (how many times does one have to cite the opposition of other members of Opus Dei before this is accepted?). You say you don't mean it that way, and I accept that.
But then, what is your objection to saying that "members of Opus Dei were" in (and over-represented in) the government? I would not object to that, as one can also add that they were in the opposition. What I object to is that statement that "Opus Dei was" in (or over-represented) in the government. Asoane 13:15, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Asoane wrote in my discussion page:
Hello Uncertain. I'm sorry if I sometimes come over as ironic: that is not my intention. I just want to ask here whether our difference is just over the question "Opus Dei was over-represented" (you) versus "members of Opus Dei were over-represented" (me), or whether there is more. Obviously that reflects a deep difference but in practical terms for the entry it might not be so great. I expect the Wikipedia entry could set forth both opinions although naturally I object strongly. ;-) Asoane 21:10, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
And I replied:
Hi, Asoane! I have just seen your comments in my message board. The question you ask is key: "Opus Dei was over-represented" (me) versus "members of Opus Dei were over-represented" (you). I agree that the most correct is the second one. None the less, as far as each individual member was not representing himself, the correct sentence would be something like "membership of the Opus Dei was overrepresented in the government", although it is an odd sentence.
However, and I think this is important also, an organisation is made by its members. And this is specially important when there are few members and when its organisation tries to be "reserved". I accept that an organization is something different and, in some way, more than the sum of its individual members. That's why I can accept that Opus Dei, as an organisation, did not explicitly supported Francoism when some of its members entered the cabinet in the late 1950s. But I cannot accept that those unlikely coincidences (the proportion among the members of the cabinet, first, the proportion among the higher staff and proprietors of Spanish banks, secondly, the proportion of journalists and journal owners, thirdly, and the proportion of middle-upper and upper classes in their firsm members, finally) does not mean purpose. And thus, I underline these "coincidences", first. And I analyse the kind of people was recruited in the very firs years of Opus Dei (around the Civil War), and why. Aand, as far as we cannot resolve if most of historians lie (or are wrong), I prefer to believe the history those eminent historians told, first, and to rely on reliable knowledge such as statistics, secondly.
And, if you don't mind, I prefer to make these discussions publicly. --Uncertain 15:14, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
--Uncertain 15:14, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

We seem to agree at least :-) that using "members of Opus Dei were" is more accurate than "Opus Dei was", in this context. I agree to reject the third option on the grounds of oddness.
You refer to an analysis of those who joined Opus Dei in its early years around the Civil War. The names of the each of the people who joined Opus Dei from 1928 to 1939 are known; they can be gleaned from several published sources about Opus Dei, most notably "El Fundador del Opus Dei" by Andrés Vázquez de Prada, Madrid, 2002, but also the biographies by Berglar, Gondrand, Bernal, Sastre, Coverdale, Keenan, Azevedo, etc, not to mention the earlier biography by Vázquez de Prada (1980). The numbers of Romana (Opus Dei's half-yearly bulletin) are good sources.
Most of the first members were students. Of the fifteen or so who were left standing when the dust settled at the end of the Spanish Civil War, the only ones older than their mid-twenties were Isidoro Zorzano (railway engineer, aged 36) and José Maria Albareda (inorganic chemist, aged 36) – the latter had joined Opus Dei in war-time Madrid in September 1937 (Keenan, Leominster, 2004). Rafael Calvo Serer was already a member in March 1936, at the age of 19 in Valencia (Coverdale, New York, 2002). Make of that what you will, but purpose seems unlikely at that stage.
The historians are hopeless sources for this sort of information because their interest is in politics, not in Opus Dei. Asoane 12:58, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Serer was removed by Franco from the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in 1953 for an essay he wrote against Franco government.

He was fired because he supported the Franco's bête noire, Don Juan, the father of Juan Carlos I (the king nowadays). Don Juan was claiming his throne and, after Franco restored the monarchy (although he did not restored the monarch himself) he claimed his position. He was fired in one of the inner battles of the Movimiento. --Uncertain 15:34, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Herran was a young man after the civil war when he protested against Franco and jailed.

And WHO is Herran?
Sorry I was referring to Julian Herranz! Please see article on Opus Dei and allegations of... I think there is a reference there. Marax 07:15, 7 November 2005 (UTC) (Been very busy lately. Thanks, Lafem, for continuing the discussion, I would have wanted to say something similar).

Thus, in this issue, the institution of Opus Dei as such has no sin. Some members might have helped support a dictator. And if it were a sin to help your country in that situation by being "proponents of rapid capitalist growth" and of the "neutralization of politics through prosperity" (Carr and Fusi in Allen),* then it's their sin, their personal accountability. Just an example (not true): If my brother helped Idi Amin, and I fought against Idi Amin and was persecuted, jailed and exhiled, while my parents left us to be totally free in politics, I would argue and demand extremely clear evidence against anybody who accuses that my mother and father took advantage of Idi Amin's regime to spread and prosper. And I would demand even more evidence especially when the evidence that my parents left us in freedom is even more abundant and attested by credible experts and the latest research.

* Marax, you should have quoted the whole sentence or the whole paragraph, to avoid anyone to think, by chance, that you are interestedly misquoting to support your argument. "But Calvo Serer’s ‘third force’ monarchism had no attractions for Franco. Serer was in touch with the Caudillo’s bête noire, Don Juan, even if his vision of a traditional, Catholic anti-parliamentary monarchy was unacceptable to the Pretender; his attacks on Falangists as a gang of opportunists were unpalatable to Franco. The man of the Opus Dei were increasingly ‘technocrats’ like López Rodó, proponents of rapid -- capitalists -- growth and of the ‘neutralisation’ of politics through prosperity." (Carr and Fusi 1993(1979): 30). This is a bit more complete. I am glad that you accept Carr and Fusi as authorities in this topic.
This paragraph also casts light on the interpretation of Calvo Serer's opportunistic position. I will quote it at the end of the section. --Uncertain 19:12, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, this is my small contribution to this wonderful historical discussion. I studied history in my undergraduate studies and studied theology later. They go well together in the search for truth.

I would also like to add that I understand where Uncertain is coming from. He is a Spaniard and I am happy he is discussing the recent historical issues of his country with a truly admirable tenacity to ferret out the truth. Marax 06:53, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Nice point, Marax. I too understand the environment where Uncertain proceeds from, still highly polarized by the divisions of the 19th and 20th century. Thomas S. Major 00:47, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Dear Marax, dear Thomas, I thought this discussion page was to discuss about Opus Dei's article, and not to discuss about personal backgrounds. This would be an ungly 'ad hominen' argument, isn't it? I do not feel I am digging the truth: I just expose the contents of the history books I have found. Their authors were the ones that really made the hard work. [Back to the books I have found: have you, Marax, read the rest of the paragraph you are quoting from Carr and Fussi (1991)? I will discuss it later, if I can.]
I would like to clarify the trajectory of Calvo Serer and the reason why he was fired from the CSIC but, as you see, I have little time to discuss to all of you at a time. Calvo Serer and, specially, Albareda are key persons in Opus Dei persistance due to their position within the CSIC, as Maria Del Carmen Tapia explain in "Beyond the Threshold: A Life in Opus Dei" (for instance). But later, later. --Uncertain 09:09, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

In May 2000 the International Press Institute nominated Antonio Fontan, a member of Opus Dei who opposed Franco, as one of its fifty 'Press Freedom Heroes' for its 50th anniversary. It is not personal merely to point out that he is Spanish, any more than it is personal to point out that the only Spaniard on the list of fifty is a member of Opus Dei.

Rafael Calvo Serer, another Spanish member of Opus Dei opposed Franco. All the sources agree on this, e.g. his obituary in The Times of 21 April 1988. Now his motives are being called in question, as if his opposition to Franco might not be genuine. But it is likely that people of that time and place owed their stance towards Franco to all sorts of motives. Some of these motives might be personal, at least in part. Some may have had their eyes opened or changed their opinion at some stage. Some could even have stood to gain somehow, or had little to lose. While this can be taken into account when assessing one's personal qualities or foresight, none of it changes the fact of opposition to Franco, nor therefore of pluralism in Opus Dei. Asoane 16:34, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

In this book "The politics of revenge” , Preston states: "The areas in which some commentators have seen Mussolini falling short of 'full-scale' fascism, that is to say, of a notional approximation to Nazism, are precisely where his regime coincides with that of Franco. Just as the existence of political and economic pressure groups created a narrowly restricted pluralism under Mussolini, so too did the Franco regime experience a constant jockeying for power and influence and between generals, Falangists, Catholics, monarchists, the Opus Dei and other political factions.” (1990:15).
Later on: “Beneath the great umbrella of the Movimiento, however, real political power was something that in part had to be wheeled and dealed for and in part depended on the Caudillo’s [Franco’s] view of how best the survival of his power might be secured. After 1946 the burden passed to the Francoist Christian Democrats deriving from the CEDA and associated with the Catholic Pressure group, the Asociación Católica Nacional de Propagandistas. Until they were supplanted by the Opus Dei technocrats in 1957 the ACNP Catholics provided the regime’s public legitimacy.” (1990:114).
Richard Gunther, the political scientist I cited above, wrote in his book about policy making and budgeting during Francoism: “A limited form of pluralistic conflict among individuals, however, was “certainly tolerated and often rampant” under the Franquist regime. Franco acknowledged the coalitional nature of his support and recognized that his supporters would inevitably hold conflicting interests. As a mean of maintaining the continued support of most or all groups in the original Nationalistic coalition, the Caudillo usually recruited his Council of Ministers from a pool lf “ministrables”, representing each faction of the coalition. Not only did he make sure that each major cluster of supporters was represented on the Council, but the practice soon developed of making control of certain departments almost “hereditary”: the Minister of Justice was almost always a Carlist traditionalist; the military departments were always controlled by career military officers, Foreign Affairs and education were usually headed by “Catholics”; economic ministries (Finance, Inddustry and Commerce) and the Planning Subsecretariat were dominated, after 1957, by members of the Catholic lay organization Opus Dei; and social ministries (Labor, the Movement and/or Syndicates and, at first, Housing, by Falangistas.” (33-34). He adds nine names in a note: “Navarro Rubio, Espinosa, Monreal, López Bravo, López de Letona, Fontana, García Moncó, Ullastres and López Rodó”. And in another place he quotes Tryhall: “As tryhall has written (p. 227): The Opus outlook was in tune with Franco’s. It believed in probity and in professionalism; it believed in technical progress but in political and religious conservatism; it was hostile to aggiornmento in the Catholic Church, and rejected democracy on the grounds that equality is a dangerous myth, that ‘only the truth has rights’.” (343).
How many full professors in prestigious universities should I present before I can write that “most international historians say that Opus Dei was linked to Francoism”? Do I show journalists as Messori? What are the criteria in this article for a credible source? --Uncertain 20:49, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

For one thing, Messori identifies the ministers in Franco’s government correctly. That is why he can cite the figure of eight. They were: Lopez Rodó, Navarro Rubio, Espinosa, García Moncó, Ullastres, Mortes, Lopez-Bravo and Herrero Tejedor. Preston claims Fernandez Miranda was a member of Opus Dei: he is simply incorrect. On the other hand Ramón Arango is correct when he says Carrero Blanco was not a member. Asoane 12:44, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

How do you know? Do you have access to the Opus Dei's membership lists? Where can we find it? Is it reliable? Is it public? Can anyone access? How can you know that he is citing correctly? [By the way, do you know Messori? Are you Messory?]
I admit I should have never written this. This is the purest ad hominen argument -- I rejected. --Uncertain 19:12, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
I do not think that Carrero was member of the Opus Dei (Gunther does not, either). The problem is that this is difficult to check. --Uncertain 14:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

In contrast with the historians whose sources are clearly inferior in this area, Messori is credible, unless you are disinclined to trust him (or perhaps the distrust has more to do with Opus Dei) in the first place. With accurate facts one can draw better inferences. Gunther is perhaps a bit less reliable, as you can see from some of the names he gives. Asoane 12:48, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

I am really disinclined to believe Messori, yes. He is a catholic convert and, if we follow the sociologist Bryan R. Wilson, cited in these pages, the testimony of those who apostate is not reliable.
I disagree that on "Opus Dei and allegations of far-right links" those historians on Francosim are not good authorities. Opus Dei sources are not reliable, because they are interested. And, when it is related with the history of Francoism, I trust historians and professors more than journalists [Although I have cited one]. --Uncertain 14:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Messori also gives names of people in the opposition. Ditto John Allen’s book, a work that I disagree with in many ways, but it is accurate when it cites facts. If you would like criteria for a "credible source" for an entry on Opus Dei, perhaps factual accuracy as regards Opus Dei might be high on the list. Asoane 12:49, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Some members of Falange were also in the opposition. And some later fought against Francoism. Dionisio Ridruejo, for instance. But you cannot deny that Falange was part of the Francoist coalition. --Uncertain 14:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

As you can see, I am not impressed by the speculations of certain of the historians: expertise on Spanish politics is no indicator of expertise on Opus Dei. The extracts from Preston and Crozier quoted far above are reasonable. Perhaps we should discount entirely any historian who ever wrote that Carrero Blanco was a member of Opus Dei. :-) Asoane 15:05, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

I have not read it anywhere. But I have read that Carrero sympathise with the Opus --which is not a crime, anyway. --Uncertain 14:51, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I assume that some of your comments are tongue-in-cheek, such as the suggestion that Messori is not to be trusted because he is a convert (sorry, "apostate"). And the real career of Dionisio Ridruejo is well publicised: he left the Falange and changed sides, unlike Calvo Serer, Fontan, et al., who were in the opposition and at the same time members of Opus Dei one hundred percent.
Yes, Asoane, I was trying to be ironic in some way. Sorry about that. Messori can have better data about Opus Dei memberchip that had those authors so long ago. I wonder if they had the same possibility when they wrote their books.
Calvo Serer also changed sides: he was first Francoist and then he changed sides and became anti-Franco. But I am not sure that he was against the dictatorship but against Franco, or against Franco's point of view about monarchy and about Don Juan. Being against Franco does not guaranty rejecting totalitarism. It demonstrates that members of Opus Dei were free to change sides, but does not goes against the idea that most of them were Francoist and conservative. Or against the idea that the presence of members of Opus Dei in the government and in the cabinet was extraordinary. --Uncertain 19:23, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
As regards Dionisio Ridruejo, the correct emphasis above was that he “left the Falange”. In contrast, the members of Opus Dei who opposed Franco did not have to leave Opus Dei. Why should they after all, because it was pluralist, unlike the Falange. That is the true point at issue: the Falange and Opus Dei are completely different types of institution. The fact that there were prominent members of Opus Dei who opposed Franco gives the lie to the argument that Opus Dei supported Franco. Asoane 16:03, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
To respond to your question, I am not Vittorio Messori, nor do I know him. My handle here is my real name (first initial and surname), and as my page has always stated, I manage the Opus Dei Information Office in London.
I do not pretend that my viewpoint is likely to be unaffected by my membership, but your stance that facts from Opus Dei are unreliable goes much further than recognition of unconscious bias, and is actually an avowedly anti-Opus Dei POV. Why not simply write that Opus Dei is not to be trusted and have done with it?
Perhaps this bias is no more than the mirror image of my own. But I did not say that the historians are untrustworthy tout court, merely that they tend to be wrong when they touch on membership of Opus Dei – which is obvious, seeing as they often disagree with each other on this subject.
And I can reply that Opus Dei tends to be biased against the Spain's History books. But it is a fact that the common image among historians is --no matter who says it or when, independently of his or her background-- that they were one of the regime's "families", that it had strong links, that if gave them much too power in a precise moment of history, that the majority of the members were recruited among the political economical elites and among university students [at that time most of them were middle-upper and upper classes], and that most of them were conservative in politics and, often, extreme-right wing. At that time. Maybe all of them are wrong, maybe most of this is spurious. But most of these are facts. --Uncertain 19:23, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Now the ground has shifted from writing “Opus Dei was such and such” to “it is said by historians (or whoever) that Opus Dei was such and such”. None of the mainstream writers go as far as to claim that Opus Dei gave its support to Franco – this is true of the quotations given above (and below, at this moment in time). I think they all mention that one or more members of Opus Dei opposed him.
I have not been able to find either a statement that the situation under Franco gave Opus Dei “too much power”. Asoane 17:37, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
But the position reaches a real reductio ad absurdam in spurning an accurate list and preferring the speculation of academics who specialise not in Opus Dei but in Spanish politics, whose lists of Opus Dei members differ from each other, and who even admit they do not really know who was in Opus Dei (you yourself say "it is difficult to check"). Who should they be checking with if not the Opus Dei Information Office?
But the point is that you are trying to diminish their whole point of view because they speculate in some of the members. The general picture made by the majority of scholars does not change because they are wrong in data that used to be hard to find. How many books about the Spain's history denies this point of view? The section I discuss is about links with politics and we need specialists in the politics of the countries where that link is alleged. --Uncertain 19:23, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
I was not diminishing their importance but defending Messori as a “credible source”. This is a issue which you brought up, not me; but I think it has been a good idea to discuss it. I defended Messori by saying more or less: he may not be an academic, but his facts are correct. You respond by saying, roughly, that even if they get details wrong the historians are prestigious academics who deserve to be taken seriously as regards the big picture. This is obviously a strong argument when they get their facts right (allowing for some latitude). But for Gunther to include three false “members” including Lopez de Letona, after he publicly declared several times that he was not a member, is asking for a negative evaluation on very reasonable grounds.
Obviously when one says that Messori and Allen et al., are reliable, that refers to what they write about Opus Dei. When they venture elsewhere they might be less reliable, e.g. Spanish demographics. You cite an example below. But my contention is that this applies the other way round: the historians are likewise venturing off their speciality when they write about Opus Dei. This is not to attack them, any more than you attack Allen.
As I wrote above I accept Preston and Crozier, and by all means include others in the bibliography. Asoane 17:44, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Messori is not a member of Opus Dei, but presumably he checked his facts with someone. In contrast it seems to me that some of the "historians" merely quote the guesses of those who went before. This may be reasonable with ancient history, but not when you have ways to find out properly.
If you have any problems with the names that appear above feel free to share them. Messori's book is in fact more trustworthy than the political historians in this area. This is clear when names such as Ibañez Martín are being bandied about by full professors.
As you say, Messori's book is most trustworthy in the details, but I do not think so about the whole. And, who cites Ibáñez Martín as a member? --Uncertain 19:23, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Re Ibáñez Martín, that comment was provoked by seeing his name on a list of “prominent members of Opus Dei” on another page on the Wikipedia. I admit I should not have aimed that remark at you, and I see also that you later removed his name (before my comment). Asoane 17:16, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
However, Simon Preston's biography of Franco (1993) is reasonable, allowing for one or two errors, and so is the biography by the earlier writer Brian Crozier. The memoirs of Navarro Rubio are a useful source, as are those of Lopez Rodó; and so is Pilar Urbano (El Hombre de Villa Tevere, Barcelona, 1994). Asoane 14:53, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

The book that Marax qouted above have some more material on the Opus. I quote extensively because it leads with the position of Calvo Serer and with some of the points I was trying to rise. This is in a sub-section entitled "(iii) The Catholic church" within the section "The institutionalised families":

"It was the subsequent advance of the Opus in the world of business, in the professions and in government that was, in the sixties and seventies, to attract most attention, because it was more successful. From 1951 its share of cabinet posts increased steadily. This ‘politisation’ of the institution was not to the liking of the Vatican. Calvo Serer, as energetic a man as Escrivá himself, became the ideologue of the Opus. For Calvo Serer, Spain under Franco had returned to its true intellectual moorings, lost in the eighteen-century Enlightenment and the individualistic liberalism of the nineteenth century. But Calvo Serer’s ‘third force’ monarchism had no attractions for Franco. Serer was in touch with the Caudillo’s *bête noire*, Don Juan, even if his vision of a traditional, Catholic anti-parliamentary monarchy was unacceptable to the Pretender; his attacks on Falangists as a gang of opportunists were unpalatable to Franco. The man of the Opus Dei were increasingly ‘technocrats’ like López Rodó, proponents of rapid -- capitalists -- growth and of the ‘neutralisation’ of politics through prosperity." (Carr and Fusi 1993(1979): 30).

They follow comparing ACNP and Opus Dei and their respective positions within Francoism:

"The ACNP [National Association of Propagandists] and the Opus were rivals with common characteristics. Both rejected the accusation that they were political parties or pressure groups engaged in a concerted, planned operation to gain influence in high places. ‘I belong to Opus Dei,’ López Rodó was apt to repeat, ‘as I belong to the Royal Madrid Tennis Club, which has nothing to do with my political actions.’ Both are involved in the periodical press and publishing: the ACNP has a daily, Ya; the Opus,, magazines and a publishing house. Both distrusted and were distrusted by Falangists whose hold on power they weakened. Both started as enthusiastic supporters of Franco and both developed an ‘oppositional’ wing more or less tolerated by the regime. By the 1960s Ruiz Giménez, the *propagandista* whom Franco had considered his most docile minister, was calling himself ‘more of a Social Democrat than a Christian Democrat’ and had become the leading spirit of the only critical magazine of this time, Cuadernos para el diálogo. Calvo Serer likewise moved from qualified disgrace into open opposition and exile; but he was considered an eccentric. The Opus Dei never established genuine contacts with the opposition." (Carr and Fusi 1993(1979): 30-1).
"Thus, by the 1970s both the ACNP and to a markedly lesser degree the Opus were divided between reformists who wanted to ‘open’ the regime and rigid conservatives, a development which cynical critics attributed to a desire to be on the winning side should Francoism disintegrate. Both professed concern for the working classes but both were essentially ‘parties’ of the grand bourgeoisie -- the Opus more than the ACNP which kept a wing influenced by advanced Christian Democrat thought and attractive to the young. The ACNP carried on the Catholic corporatist tradition which could be, somewhat uneasily, incorporated into the syndical organisation of the regime where ‘vertical unions’ were intended to end the ‘sterile’ was between capital and labour by harmonious co-operation in the interest of higher production. The labour economic of the Opus appeared more modern and have been castigated as a defence of neo-capitalism. Employers must accept collective bargaining in return for productivity agreements; workers must accept that higher production meant, in the end, a larger national cake to be cut up." (Carr and Fusi 1993(1979): 31).
"When the influence of the ACNP weakened in 1956, and with the economic boom of the sixties, it was the Opus which emerged as the ‘organised’ Catholic support to Francoism, backed, as its members were, by the most trusted of Franco’s ministers -- Admiral Carrero Blanco. The Opus was more ‘dynamic’ than the ACNP and its attractions for the ambitious more obvious; but in the end, in politics, as in the campaign to conquer the university, it overplayed its hand. Its fall from political grace in 1974 was resounding, and much of its former influence was inherited by the propagandistas. They reappeared in influential posts in the cabinet of Adolfo Suárez in 1976." (Carr and Fusi 1993(1979): 31).

Raymond Carr, I do read in the 1993 edition, are respectively Warden of St Anthony's College, Oxford and Director of the Iberian Centre, St Anthony's College, Oxford. --Uncertain 19:23, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

By the way, the two previous paragraphs of the cited book are also interesting, spacially in their oppinion about Escrivá; but are nor related with Calvo Serer and my main interests. I will copy them later. --Uncertain 19:28, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Preston deals with Calvo Serer in 1953: “to Franco, his ideas smacked dangerously of political parties”. Preston continues, “In an article published in Paris in September 1953, and widely circulated in the Francoist establishment, Calvo Serer claimed that the Falangists and the regime Catholics had lost their way. For suggesting that only the new group could renovate the regime, liberalize the administration and modernize the economy, Calvo Serer was dismissed from his posts in the [CSIC]”. (Franco, pp.632-633) Preston does not make him appear a totalitarian.
I do get the impression that you tend to go further than many if not most of the historians in attributing a sinister or political “purpose” to Opus Dei (in Spain at that time), and minimising the opposition of some of the members to Franco. I wrote earlier that I would be happy with Preston, Crozier et al., if we stayed close to what they actually said, meaning avoiding a less balanced position - a reference to the posts I was responding to at the time, where you wrote that you “had not tried to be balanced”! (Maybe that was a typo.) Asoane 15:40, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Lafem argues that there was no representation of Opus Dei and of Opus Dei members in the Franco government

If you will allow me, Uncertain, Asoane, Marax, Tom, can I bring in my views to focus on the big picture, the forest so to speak.

Let me quote the dictionary definitions of "represent": (a) to stand in the place of, (b) to speak and act for by delegated authority, (c) to act in behalf of, (d) to serve as an agent for.

  • From the point of view of the government: Preston stated that these gentlemen were picked for their talents, and not as representatives of OD or OD members. See again the text of Preston quoted by Asoane above:
Bright, hard-working functionaries were emerging who were more concerned to get top jobs in the state apparatus than to implement the ideology of Falangism. That was entirely true of men like López Rodó and Navarro Rubio who were labelled as being primarily of Opus Dei but were more accurately seen as being part of what came to be called the 'bureacracy of number ones', those who had won competitive civil service examinations or university chairs while still very young.
Thus, to answer the query of Uncertain to Marax: yes they were extremely good technicians. Preston says so.
  • From the point of view of OD: OD categorically states that it does not have anything to do with politics. It did not send the gentlemen as members of Opus Dei to represent or act as an agent of OD.
  • From the point of view of OD members: members who were against Franco could not have sent these gentlemen.
  • From the point of view of these gentlemen: they said they were representing themselves and only themselves.

I would strongly object to the use of the word "representation" in the text, even if it is couched in statistical terms, because to use the term is to "misrepresent" or mis-depict (this is the other dictionary meaning) what happened in history. Lafem 08:38, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Hi, Lafem! I see you are taking over. Welcome back. --Uncertain 19:25, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia has a "Disambiguation page" about "Representation": One of the possible pages it refers to is "Group representation":

''Group representation, a way of viewing a mathematical group in some more concrete way.

And the connected page is I am sorry that you disagree with mathematicians and statisticians. And, probably, with linguistics. --Uncertain 19:38, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

'In fact, as you probably has seen, this meaning has little to do with my main point. But I have a few examples. I have found them writting "over-represented" in Google:

Racial Inequity in Special Education - Executive Summary for Federal Policy Makers
Harvard University's The civil rights project

"(...)inappropriate practices in both general and special education classrooms have resulted in overrepresentation, misclassification, and hardship for minority students, particularly black children."

They use in the same meaning I use it. But maybe Harvard researchers are wrong too.

Statistical analysis of over-represented words in human promoter sequences
In the Abstract the authors write:
"Several over-represented eight-letter words have known biological functions described in the eukaryotic transcription factor database TRANSFAC; however, many did not."

On social issues also:

Children of Color Over-Represented in Child Welfare System in King County
African American and Native American Youth Disproportionately Represented
"A county-wide coalition of child welfare and human services organizations today announced findings from its study indicating that children of color in King County are over-represented in the child welfare system and fare worse by all measures than their Caucasian counterparts.
"Although children of color are one-third of the child population in King County, they make up more than one-half of all children in foster care in the county.
"'Not only are these children coming into the system at a disproportionate rate, but this racial imbalance increases at each step as you progress through the child welfare system,' said Judge Patricia Clark, King County Superior Court, and co-chair of the King County Coalition on Racial Disproportionality. 'The deeper you go in the system, the worse it gets.'"

It seems the same meaning I have used. Another example:

Sudden Cardiac Death - Competitive Athletes not Over-Represented

I have looked outside to see if someone thinks that Opus Dei is over-represented in governments, and Internet is an open box of surprises:

Sunday Morning Herald - Australia
Politicians focus on our sinful ways
June 6, 2004
"By Australian standards, practising Christians are over-represented in Parliament, writes Brian Toohey."
"With few Australians going to church these days, it may seem odd that Peter Costello placed so much faith on religious remedies in a recent speech on society's ills. The speech is less puzzling, however, once it is realised that Costello needs the support of parliamentary colleagues who are far more committed to Christianity than the Australian population as a whole.
"According to the latest National Church Life Survey conducted by multi-denominational groups, slightly less than 9 per cent of Australians go to church each week - a 7 per cent drop in attendance since 1996.
"The picture among parliamentarians is much more encouraging for Christians who want a bigger influence on Australian life. Precise figures are not available, but the number of active Christians in Federal Parliament is much higher than the national average.
"The Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, convened by the NSW Liberal backbencher Bruce Baird, enjoys remarkable support. Baird, a moderate Anglican, says the group draws on a pool of about 60 members.
"But another member says off-the-record that the total pool is about 75, although not every Christian MP joins. Even so, the membership estimates are impressive - the total number of federal MPs is only 226. If the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship reflected national averages for committed Christians, it would have a membership of 20.
"While some Christians don't join, several less-than-devout MPs allegedly see a political advantage in doing so. One Liberal said privately: 'Belonging to the Fellowship doesn't hurt your chances of being elected to a parliamentary committee, let alone a leadership position.'
"Although Labor MPs such as Kevin Rudd and Kim Beazley are members, most come from Coalition ranks. There's no doubting Costello's sincerity, but colleagues say he would be well aware that his recent speech on religion would do his leadership ambitions no harm.
"Costello claimed in the speech, excerpts of which appeared in a national newspaper, that Australian society "was founded" on the Christian faith. This claim is disputed by historians who give vivid accounts of the wildly irreligious behaviour exhibited in colonial Australia. But Costello insisted Australia's Christian traditions were "fraying all around us" and that a "recovery of faith" would combat the "moral decay" typified by drug dealers and rap music. [Let me add a commenton rap music:  :-D (Uncertain)]
"The Christian message takes many forms, including the way Jesus urged people to disdain earthly possessions and "turn the other cheek" when attacked. These qualities are not conspicuous among our politicians. Christian MPs usually focus more on the moral decay regarded as inherent in sexual promiscuity, abortion and stem cell research.
"With fundamentalist Christians from the Opus Dei Catholic movement and Pentecostal churches joining political parties in growing numbers, the 91 per cent of Australians who don't make it to church each week can expect to hear a lot more about their sinful ways."

Also in Sweden, I have found this in a British Catholic magazine, The Tablet:

The Tablet - Saturday, 8 November 2003
Sweden’s seedling Church
Werner Jeanrond
"Catholics are making an increasing mark in traditionally Lutheran Sweden. But they have not yet settled on the role they should play in this secular society. (...)
"The ranks of Catholics in Sweden have also been swelled by an influx of thousands of immigrants.
"Sweden has absorbed sizeable numbers of refugees from Hungary, Poland, Latin America, the former Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Iraq, in addition to a great number of workers from Mediterranean countries. Many immigrants have adjusted well to their new cultural context, others have drifted into the criminal scene and eventually ended up in prison. As the former Bishop of Stockholm, Hubertus Brandenburg, has said, half seriously, “Catholics are over-represented in two institutions in Sweden: the Swedish Academy and the prisons.”"

This is the opinion of the bishop: I am sure he does not agree with me, but he uses the two-words term with the same meaning. Maybe he is wrong. By the way, there is an interesting paragraph from the Swedish public opinion:

"The common view in Sweden that the Catholic Church is a monolithic institution is strengthened by official statements from local Catholic authorities. When a leading newspaper, Expressen, questioned the mysterious role of Opus Dei in Church and society in Sweden, the bishop whole heartedly defended the organisation. Any critique of Opus Dei was interpreted as an attack on the entire Catholic Church."

Lovely surprise: John Allen, journalist and corresponsal in the Vatican of a Catholic Magazine, Nationalcatholic, often quoted in this website, uses it in a chronicle:

Pope displeased by Europe's rejection of Christian roots; Roots in Spain are robust; Bush's appeal to the Vatican; Possible papal travels
"The political dimension to U.S./Vatican ties is hardly surprising. The pope is not just another foreign head of state, but the supreme authority of a church with 65 million adherents in the United States. Though American Catholics rarely vote as a block, presidents dare not ignore them. This has never been more true than today, when Catholics are over-represented in the key battleground states that determine presidential winners and losers."

By the way, he wrote that "roots in Spain are robust" because 90% of the people has Baptism.  :-D Who said that Allen is a reliable source? --Uncertain 12:06, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

I do not follow. The section on group representation you quoted above was about pure mathematics (group theory). In this sense, a 'group' is a set which obeys some mathematical axioms. The term 'representation' is similarly a technical mathematical term. My understanding is that you would have liked to relate these senses of 'representation' and 'group' to the one under discussion. Presumably this must be the sense of the posting. But now you seem to be going in a different direction. Asoane 13:22, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
I was wondering whether you were appealing to the Wikipedia disambiguation page, or whether you are actually rejecting it. Asoane 16:32, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
The reference to group representations is a red herring. This has to do with Group Theory and not Statistics. The use of the words "groups" and "representation" has nothing to do with their usual uses in common speech.
You are fully right, Asoane, this was an unwanted red herring: I recognized it immediately in the next paragraph (see #redherring), although I did not remove it because I though that maybe someone had seen and wanted to reply (as it has been the case). We could erase it, if you don't mind.
For me, the important thing are the examples below that paragraph. I'll try to fix the format to make them clear.  :-/ --Uncertain 18:41, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
Ok Uncertain, that's clear and helpful. Personally I think the rectification is already enough, although I defer to Lafem whose point you were responding to. Asoane 12:27, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
But assuming you are now proposing a different argument, the obvious point is that in this context the word "representation" is ambiguous (it has an explicitly political overtone) and is better avoided. From a statistical point of view you could say that there were more members of Opus Dei in Franco's government than there would have been if Franco had picked his government by some sort of proportional representation.
However, this really says nothing, and I don't think it is what you have proposed saying so far.
What's important is why these ministers were there. Was it because of who they were as individuals (ie smart cookies and the right sort of chaps - the "number ones") or because Opus Dei put them there? Or were there perhaps other reasons. These are the real questions and they are being debated in the section above (albeit at one remove).
The question being discussed here is something of a side-issue, and it involves an ambiguity that really is better avoided, I think. Asoane 09:33, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
Anyway, I don't think this is a side issue. You cannot expect to discuss the involvement (or not) of Opus Dei in politics without politically sounding language. We can try to avoid overtones, but not the meaning. And, yes, I was trying to say that they were over-represented in statistical terms, although my interpretation is also political --but I have not explained it yet. --Uncertain 18:41, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
But if it's just the unambiguously statistical sense that you really mean, then the sentence I suggested above would do, would it not? One could then go on to discuss the reasons why. Asoane 12:39, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Asoane. I was about to point out the ambiguity as well. Kindly explain to us then, Uncertain, hopefully using standard dictionaries and the Wikipedia disambiguation page, what you mean by "representation", if you wish to continue along that line. A technical definition of terms in any discussion is a must; if not, we go around in circles. I stress the words "technical" and "standard". A third party definition, you will agree, is more objective. Thank you. Lafem 04:25, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
It's non-sense really to discuss representation in a dictatorship, specially when historians agree some people were chosen for their extraordinary technical expertise, and NOT for their connection to this or that club, hobby, sports, religion, race, diocese, etc. etc. etc. One can think of so many other groups these guys are involved in besides Opus Dei.
They were chosen by Franco because he wanted to, period. Uncertain has already owned up to the fact that there is no representation in a dictatorship. And his quotes from webpages are basically on democracies. So why beat a dead horse? Thomas S. Major 07:58, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Yes, Thomas, I agree that there is not a political representation per se in a dictatorship, but I do not agree that Franco chose them only because they were good technicians. At the very least, the technocrats did not opposed the dictatorship. However, all this is going too far from the point. --Uncertain 16:31, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Nonetheless, Lafem asked me for a definition in a common dictionary. I have found a lot, but I cite those in Internet:

The demanded definitions of over-representation

All those are in on line dictionaries. The first one redirect you to some of the others
One of the others is the Merriam Webster dictionary:
The Oxford English Dictionary is maybe a too technical one. It is made for philologists. However, I think this is authoritative enough. Some of the article's entries on "Over":
27. a. With verbs (both transitive and intransitive), and with nouns or adjectives used as verbs. Many verbs arose in Middle English; those treated as main entries include OVERCARK v., OVERCHARGE v., OVERDRIVE v., OVERHEAT v., OVERLADE v., OVERPRAISE v. In the 16th cent. such formations began to abound, as OVERBLOW v.1, OVERBOIL v., OVERBURDEN v., OVER-BUSY v., OVERCLOY v., OVER-CRAM v., OVERDARE v., OVEREAT v., OVER-FEAR v., OVERGORGE v., OVER-LABOUR v., OVERLOAD v., OVER-LOVE v., OVERREACH v., OVER-ROAST v., etc. Some of the occasional formations listed below date from before 1600 (and a few from before 1500); after 1600 it was effectively possible to prefix over- in this sense to any verb whose sense allowed it. over-accentuate, -afflict, -agonize, -answer, -argue, -assess, -bake, -black, -blame, -boast, -borrow, -brown, -brush, -characterize, -cherish, -chill, -cleave, -coach, -commend, -commit, -complicate, -concentrate, -condense, -confute, -control, -creed, -cull, -cultivate, -damn, -decorate, -deflate, -digest, -dilute, -discipline, -discount, -doctrinize, -doze, -dramatize, -dread, -dull, -edit, -elaborate, -emphasize, -engage, -enjoy, -enrich, -exact, -exaggerate, -exalt, -expect, -explain, -fag, -fancy, -fatten, -fee, -feel, -fix, -flatten, -flog, -force, -furnish, -gamble, -goad, -grace, -grasp, -gratify, -gun, -handicap, -harass, -hate, -help, -honour, -horse, -humanize, -hurry, -import, -ink, -instruct, -interpret, -invest, -involve, -itch, -job, -laud, -linger, -list, -loathe, -magnify, -marl, -meddle, -mix, -moisten, -mortgage, -multiply, -nourish, -nurse, -objectify, -oblige, -organize, -pack, -pamper, -peacock, -pepper, -pet, -plum, -point, -polish, -possess, -preface, -promise, -prove, -provoke, -puff, -race, -rapturize, -regulate, -rehearse, -relax, -represent, -restore, -rev, -reward, -sauce, -scare, -scent, -season, -scrub, -secrete, -seed, -soak, -store, -sup, -sweat, -teach, -thick, -throng, -till, -vilify, -worry, -worship.
A few such verbs occur in Old English, e.g. OVERDO v., OVERDRINK v., OVERFILL v., oferseman; some of these, however, only approach this sense, or can be otherwise explained.
b. With other nouns expressing actions or conditions, whether identical in form with a corresponding verb, or combined with a suitable suffix (as -ion, -ment, -ure, -nce, -age, -ice, etc.). More established words of both types (as OVERBID n., OVERCHARGE n., OVEREXERCISE n., OVER-INFLUENCE n., etc.; OVERACHIEVEMENT n., OVERACTION n., etc.) are treated as main entries. So over-abuse, -arousal, -blame, -broil, -claim, -concern, -control, -demand, -drain, -ornament, -self-esteem, -worry; over-accentuation, -accumulation, -addiction, -aspiration, -assumption, -attachment, -attention, -civilization, -classification, -commitment, -consumption, -cultivation, -decoration, -devotion, -dilution, -distension, -drainage, -dramatization, -enrichment, -exaltation, -expansion, -expenditure, -flexion, -imitation, -importation, -insistence, -interpretation, -involvement, -lactation, -laudation, -legislation, -moralization, -multiplication, -nutrition, -organization, -ornamentation, -provision, -rapture, -recovery, -reflection, -regulation, -reliance, -repletion, -representation, -secretion, -service, -sophistication, -speculation, -tension.
1849 Amer. Whig Rev. Mar. 290/2 The next year the one that was *over-represented a number less. 1881 Jrnl. Statist. Soc. 44 146 Both the dangers above referred to, viz., (1) of the majority in the constituencies being misrepresented in the assembly, and (2) of its being over-represented there. 1987 Amer. Sociol. Rev. 52 393 Our subsample overrepresents those with children.
I think that at least the last definition matches my meaning. Can I go back now to my main argument?
--Uncertain 16:31, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

-Dear Uncertain, it seems to me that the term 'over-represented' means that the person is there as a representative of the group in question. This is completely false in the case of a member of Opus Dei. If it were an MP in Britain then he/she would be a representative of the constituency that elected them but not of Opus Dei. In a non-democracy, like Franco's Spain, where the job went to a technocrat then you would probably have to say he was there as a representative of the 'set of university economists', or whatever.
-I don't think we are talking about statistics here.
-I think what you are trying to say is the following: If members of Opus Dei are a random selection from society, then the expected number of members of Opus Dei in the government is equal to: no of govt ministers * no of members of Work in Spain / population of Spain.
-This means you expect less than one.
-The point is that the assumption is false - Opus Dei members are not a purely random selection from society because: i) St Josemaría Escrivá worked with university students from very early on; ii) members of Opus Dei try to sanctify their work and this should mean they work harder than they otherwise might, and therefore have a chance of achieving more, etc.
-I asked a statistician and an actuary about the argument that you have presented; their opinions agreed with each other’s, and the conclusion of the statistician is recorded in the five paragraphs above, almost verbatim.
-I suggested earlier that you could say "there were more members of Opus Dei in Franco's government than there would have been if Franco had picked his government by some sort of proportional representation". I thought you would like that sentence, because the word "representation" is being used in the political sense. But it is placed away from the part of the sentence that would make it ambiguous. I think the sentence sets out the facts plainly and above all with clarity. I admit I did not ask for your view the first time I proposed it, but now I am left wondering whether you reject it, and if so why. Asoane 09:49, 14 November 2005 (UTC)