Talk:Opus Dei/Archive 2006-5

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A Major Rewrite

In May of 2006, I watched a History Channel special on Opus Dei and decided to look up the Wikipedia article on the subject. When I first came to this article six months ago, I knew almost nothing about Opus Dei and had absolutely no strong feeling about it. (I still don't have any strong feelings about it). I did however notice that I felt the page had numerous NPOV problems. I noticed that many other people have had similar views about the page, but yet the problems persisted. For several months, I and other outside editors actively discussed the issue with the authors of this page, but failed to convince the pro-Opus Dei editors that a problem existed. Later, I engaged in mediation in at attempt to convince them, but this also failed to resolve our disputes. Since that time, I have showed a number of outside editors the Opus Dei page and asked their opinion on it-- all have detected severe NPOV problems and suggested ways I could resolve the issue. None have informed me I was in error in finding a problem. And now, just recently, I notice a similar problem has developed at the article on Escriva, with uninvolved editors finding major NPOV problems, only to have their improvements reverted by the same group of dedicated editors. For me, this is the final proof that my feelings on the article are correct, and I am now sufficiently confident that consensus will support my views that I am confident enough to act on this issue.

For the record, I myself do not believe the criticisms of Opus Dei. I do not believe that it is a "cult", and what is a cult but an unpopular religious group anyway? But Opus Dei is undisputedly the most controversial religious entity in all of the catholic church. So when I first saw the article on Opus Dei, I asked myself: "how is it that the wikipedia article on 'The Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church' doesnt' have even one single section dedicated to the controversy?"

After all these months and thousands of words spent in discussion, I am now ready to officially declare that I believe a number of editors are not acting in good faith. By which I just mean: people are putting their "Duty to God" above their "Duty to Wikipedia" and they are actively seeking to promote their own religious beliefs on Wikipedia. I will not name names, but there are at least six different editors with 3000 edits between them, all with a distinctinly pro-Opus Dei editing tendency. Indeed, I believe I am correct in saying that none have made even a single edit that wasn't related to Opus Dei. They actively remove criticism of Opus Dei, regularly insert praise, and have generally sought to promote Opus Dei and its members-- creating at least 22 different Wikipedia articles on Opus Dei. This is extremely suspicious, and despiting being a huge believing in WP:Assume Good Faith, I do not think I would be too "off base" in suggesting these editors are single purpose accounts who are actively seeking to promote Opus Dei on Wikipedia.

Therefore, I am going to work hard to take the steps necessary to defend the encyclopedia and to bring this article up to feature article quality, taking whatever actions are necessary to ensure that we get the very best article possible. If I am wrong, and the true consensus of the good-faith editors is that my edits do not improve the article, I will welcome that conclusion, as it will require the least amount of work on my part, and I have no ax to grind against OD whatsoever. I, however, am now fully convinced that I am correct in my conclusions, and if I fail to work hard towards improving the article, I am merely putting off a problem, making some other person in the future have to clean up the mess i'm unwilling to fix. I apologize for the strife I expect these actions will create, I am confident the encyclopedia will be better for it.

As such, I'm going to put up the new version for people to look at. I will automatically add the NPOV tag to it so people can know a dispute is ongoing about whether my rewrite is an improvment. I will create Request for Comment so that uninvolved editors may work to improve the article. Since our last RFC in May got exactly 1 new opinion, I will work to solicit more by personally contacting some editors who have in the past been involved in this article, as well as other editors whose opinions I would value on this issue. I will keep restoring this version, as long as policy permits, if it is removed by accounts that appear to have been created only to edit Opus Dei-related articles, and if such deletions are persistent, I will seek administrator intervention against those tendentious editors who appear to be in violation of Wikipedia is not a soapbox. Lastly, I should reiterate-- my interest here is in Wikipedia, not Opus Dei, and at no time will I act contrary to a firm consensus of good-faith editors who do not appear to be single purpose accounts created just to promote Opus Dei. --Alecmconroy 07:33, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not against improvements, but I doubt heavy cutting or "clean up" of links and bibliography are improvements. The new version seems to me suspectingly too short compare to the old one. I will put back bibliography and links. These should not be deleted, unless they are utterly irrelevant or of a really poor quality. I will see if some parts of the old version should be restored. Louisar 17:44, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

As a practising Roman Catholic, one time Numerary Likely, and future priest of the Roman Catholic Church I would like to add my voice to serious concerns expressed here over the level of POV being used in this article and in the biography of Escriva. The Church contains 1,000,000,000+ members - of which the astoundingly vast proportion are not Opus Dei members nor never will be. Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia, and as such it operates via consensus backed by academic source. I have countless attempts at introducing balance into this article simply slapped down. Now, we have two options. Either Alec's adaptations are treated honestly and with a modicum of fairplay or we can ask an admin to slap a lock on the article as a whole and be done with it. Opus Dei has much to offer, but if the millions of users who contribute to the site see nothing but heavyhandedness it reflects very badly who those who purport to defend the prelature and its aims. Thanks, Iamlondon 14:11, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, but how must we avoid an article to become Alecmconroy article? Alec is not the director of this article. The best would be to have a descriptive part followed by an interpretative part (about disputed issues). Louisar 22:32, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Problems with the old version of the article

  • Verifiablity. Numerous staments in the old article were unverifiable. Some portions were essentially extended original essays on "What Opus Dei Means To Me". Opinions were often presented as facts. Religious opinions and personal observations were often presented as facts rather that opinions.
  • Citations. Despite the extensive energy that was dedicated to it, the old article was mostly uncited. This is because much of the old article was uncitable, even in principle. For example, what citation could one produce in order to verify the sentence: "Each person is free —in control of his actions— and thus responsible for his spiritual and social life. Jesus redeemed us with the free choice of love"
  • Balance. The old article was greatly unbalanced towards the pro-OD point of view. One editor, speaking sincerely, said he felt that the article should be at least 90% pro-OD, and indeed, about 90% of the article he created praised Opus Dei, with the remainder of the space used to introduce and dismiss the criticisms.
  • Controversy. Despite the indisputed fact that Opus Dei is "the most controversial force in all of catholicism", the old article did not have even a single section devoted to the controversy or criticism of Opus Dei. Such material had been repeatedly introduced by numerous outside editors, only to be deleted repeatedly by members of OD.
  • Tone. The old article lacked encyclopedic tone. Instead, numerous outside editors had referred to it as a "brochure for Opus Dei".
  • Brevity. The old article was over 60kb-- more than double the recommended limit. This was due largely to the extensive use of direct quotations which praised Opus Dei and its members. There simply was no need for such length-- the rewritten article covers all the same basic information, while being under the recommended 30kb article length.
  • Organization. The old article was extremely poorly organized. Section headings often had little connection to their contents, and it was unclear where in the article one would find what information.

--Alecmconroy 07:33, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Alec is going too far. I would say that the old verson was slightly unbalanced in a pro-OD direction. The tone was not neutral enough, this is true. But it was a good quality, well-written article. The solution should have been to cut here and there, no more. The rewrite looks like vandalism. Louisar 23:36, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

An example comparision between New and Old

Taxico mentioned that it's sometimes hard to tell what has been changed so I thought I'd highlight some of the differences, so that commentors can see the difference. Let me show how I rewrote the Theology Section, which I think it representative of the whole problem of the article

The old Theology section, oddly entitled "Lay Spirituality" essentially an original essay on Opus Dei. The section is not encyclopedic, it is written in persuasive writing that attempts to justify, not convey, Opus Dei's theology. Consider just a few representative sentences which were found in the old theology section:

  • Since the Bible stated that man was created "to work" (Gen 2:15) and that Jesus "did all things well" (Mk 7:37), Escrivá encouraged Christians to work excellently out of love. By doing so, their work is a service to society and a fitting offering to God.
  • All of creation is sanctified by the God-made-flesh: movies, boardrooms, gardens, sports are meeting points with the Father God who is near.
  • Each person is free —in control of his actions— and thus responsible for his spiritual and social life. Jesus redeemed us with the free choice of love: As man, he obeyed his Father's will throughout his life of work, "unto death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:8). Each one then directs himself with autonomy in earthly affairs towards eternal union with or separation from God, the two ultimate ends of life.
  • By practicing these teachings, a Christian has no double life; he has a unity of life.

These are not statements found in an encyclopedia. They are unverifiable. They are essentially "original research" which presents the personal spiritual opinions of some editors as facts.

The old theology section used 8 different subject headings-- but these headings are completely arbitratry, chosen essentially because "That's what being a member of Opus Dei means to me". We could pick 8 completely different heading and justify them just as well. The organization and choice of topics was unverifiable-- I could ask 20 different people what Opus Dei "means" and get 20 different responses.

In contrast, the new section is brief, encyclopedic, verifiable, well-cited, and NPOV. It presents only those elements of Opus Dei theology which are attested in all reliable sources. It does not try to justify (nor criticize) the validity of Opus Dei's theology, it merely summarizes it. It does not try to persuade the reader, nor does it use flowerly "sermon-style" language. The rewrite of the theology section improves it.

And, I think a close reading will show, the other sections of the article have all been improved as well. I firmly believe outside editors, with no agenda pro- or con- OD, will agree with me. --Alecmconroy 10:33, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Request for Comment

All comments about how to create the best article on Opus Dei are most welcome. One specific question that might be useful is:

Does this newer version of the article represent an improvement in any way over the old version?

Statement by previously involved editors

  • The new rewrite is better. Nearly every sentence is not only verifiable, but is actually backed up by citation. Extra attention has been given to having a neutral, encyclopedic tone that is grounded in fact. A very brief section discussing the controversy has been created which succinctly summarized the allegations that have been made. An even longer section of praise as support has been created to rebut those criticisms. It is a better article, created neither to criticism nor to promote Opus Dei, but merely to improve Wikipedia. I sincerely believe the rewrite would need only minor changes to become a Featured Article. --Alecmconroy 07:33, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I reverted back to the version of Pradeshkava. Major changes are intended to be discussed initially in this talk page before implementation. I don't see any other correct line for Alec's intent than arbitration. Undoubtedly, Alec's article is more concise, referenced with more footnotes. Undoubtedly too, the previous article was adjudged neutral. It brims with reference materials and contains a plethora of analysis from world-class experts. Ran9876 12:03, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • User has less than 50 edits over past 9 months, has only edited Catholicism-related articles. --Alecmconroy
  • Lafem opposed the rewrite for the reasons discussed below.
  • Congratulations Alec!!! Contributions like these, about the new version of OD article, are very wellcome by many wikireaders. You are not alone, I am agree with your changes because your editions are improving a lot this article. I would strongly support the use of the newer version too. Thank you for your encyclopediatic style.Heavyrock 21:21, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
  • User has less than 125 edits, has only edited Opus Dei-related articles. --Alecmconroy
  • "Worse in some aspects, better in other. The old version was better written, easier to read, more informative - perhaps because it was longer. From the information point of view, I understand the vandalism impression of some about the new one. But perhaps it was too long and should heve been divided." Comment by Louisar, continued below.
  • User has less than 75 edits over past 5 months, has only edited Opus Dei-related articles. --Alecmconroy

Comments by outside editors

  • The new version looks a lot better. Most of the statements are properly sourced, and that's just great. But it's really hard to follow what exactly you have changed; this is why you should try to expand rewrites of this kind over at least 10 different well-explained edits. Otherwise the nature of the rewrite is not really transparent. Taxico 07:57, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Upon further inspection, Alecmconroy's edit seems to have been very well-intentioned. It has also improved the article's overall status (in terms of citation, concision, and avoiding original research). So I support the new version. Taxico 04:46, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I noticed that there is already a revert war brewing on this issue, and my first comment is: Leave up the version with 30 extra refs while it's being discussed. Strong preference should always be given to well-referenced material. If some editors feel that the cites aren't reliable or verifiable, then those could be discussed singly, or in small closely-related groups. There do seem to be some valid POV concerns here as well. Given the amount of material involved, those are probably best discussed in small sections as well. Doc Tropics 08:41, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I didn't look at the article until the message requesting comment on WP:AN, I have no interest in getting dragged into editing it, and I won't comment again. A neutral view: the new version is vastly superior to the old one, except for the removal of some nice pictures (unless there's copyvio issues, always keep the images, although contantly alternating them, as the old article did, is ugly - put them all on the right). Apart from that, the new version is better referenced, more balanced, and reads a lot better. So, my vote goes to the new one. Proto::type 12:41, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • The newer version is very well referenced and verifiable, so it should be a keeper. The old version made some unsourced statements, especially in the fourth paragraph. As for the POV problems, could someone point them out so that they can be fixed? That way, you can be more specific when calling in third opinions. I'm not going to edit this article either apart from reverting vandalism. MER-C 12:58, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Looks much better, article is better referenced and verifiable. There was much propaganda in the old article, this is definitely much better. I didn't really bother looking at the article until Alcencomroy told me to look at it after participating at an AFD related to Opus Dei. Is there a page of their beliefs, like they cannot eat full meals and kissing the floor? My local news channel had a documentary about Opus Dei believers in my country. I don't know much about Opus Dei so I don't wish to edit the article, besides doing any vandal fighting. --Terence Ong (C | R) 14:30, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • The referencing in the newer version is far superior. And that settles that (WP:V, you know). · j e r s y k o talk · 15:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • More encyclopediatic, better referenced, shorter than the former which was longer than ideal (>30K?). Alec's version is clearly a better version for WP inclusion. If there is a dispute as to the process in which this large set of changes was made, I would like to point outsuggest that since there seems to be a growing consensus as to the content improvement made, let's keep this version up on these grounds and settle any dispute subsequently. And I acknowledge my historical support for Alec's version which s/he alludes to elsewhere on the page. Baccyak4H (talk) 15:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I much prefer the newer version. On a topic as controversial as this, point-by-point citations are invaluable. This is a good point to move forward from. -- The Anome 16:34, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • 2nd Comment: After an in-depth review I'd like to make a much more emphatic comment. The "new" version, with its more concise layout, NPOV, and thorough sourcing is much better. Seriously. This represents a significant improvement over the less-referenced, and more-biased version of the article. I would strongly support the use of the newer version, while encouraging the participants to discuss contentious points calmly and rationally. As mentioned above, any problematic points should be addressed one at a time, on the talkpage, rather than with blanket reverts to the article itself. This represents an opportunity to make major improvements to an important article about a little-understood organization. This is obviously going to be a touchy subject for OD editors who have strong feelings on the topic, but this is a perfect example of how we can build better articles. The suggested changes not only improve the article, they bring it a lot closer to FA status; that should be a high-priority goal for any article! Doc Tropics 18:59, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support New Version. I am glad to see a consensus that the Opus Dei article does not carry a NPOV. The Josemaria Escriva article is just as much a "brochure" for Opus Dei supporters as the Opus Dei article is. -- AJ24 23:58, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support new version. I'm not sure which section I ought to opine in, or which category of editor I am: I've barely edited the article at all, but I attempted to give advice on encyclopedic tone during and after the latest FAC, and interacted positively with Thomas (hello, Thomas). Looking at the "old version" linked to by Alecmconroy, I see that the article had, since I last had anything to do with it, bounced back to advocacy so egregious it made me blink in disbelief. Alecmconroy has done a very good job of replacing that... hmmm, I can't think of a polite word here, forget it. It would be an embarrassment to Wikipedia to go back to a page of such low quality of the "old version", on an important topic such as Opus Dei. To the one-issue editors responsible for that version, and now, if I understand the situation, threatening to revert to it yet again, let me just say that Opus Dei benefits much, much more from having a real encyclopedia article, than from a piece of advocacy immediately recognizable as such by any reader. I've argued this point at length once, I'm not going to do it again, as the article and topic aren't, as such, really interests of mine. I feel I've spent enough time on them, and also, pessimistically, that there's something hopeless in the cycle of laborious improvement followed by, yet again, the page sinking into promotion and advocacy. As for the new version, it's not much of a compliment to say it's a lot better than the old. Even without reference to the old version, the new is an interesting and informative article IMO. It does suffer a little from "insiderism", but in the benign and I think pretty easily fixed form of taking for granted that what is well-known and obvious to Catholics is so to the world. To fix this, it needs a little more editing by the ignorant. :-) Bishonen | talk 23:56, 29 November 2006 (UTC).
  • Easily the most impressive editing I have seen in all my time on Wikipedia. Fair, balanced, informed and renewed. 5 Gold Stars to Alec.Iamlondon 00:03, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Comment by Louisar

Worse in some aspects, better in other. The old version was better written, easier to read, more informative - perhaps because it was longer. From the information point of view, I understand the vandalism impression of some about the new one. But perhaps it was too long and should heve been divided. A clear mistake was added in the new one about the jurisdiction of OD (see below). There was no clear mistake in the old one. Bibliography and links are very poor and should be restored, at least in part. The new version is better from a reference point a view. The new version is going too far in the cutting. True, the "spiritual teachings" section and the "practices" section of the old version were too long and contained irrelevant details and quotes (also NPOV problems, but not that enormous). 1-2 pages should have been cut there . But now there is an enormous hole about spirituality: the new version goes from doctrine-structure-membership directly to mortification! This is bizarre, as mortification is a secondary point of spirituality. Some aspects of the old version must be restored, esp. about spiritual direction (the main point in OD: it is really unbelieveble that spiritual direction be skipped; it is a school of spirituality, first) , and also confession. Spirituality first, ascetism second, as a consequence. There's a big logical gap in the new version. It may be corrected, 4-5 sentences would be enough. I find normal that an article about OD looks a little bit like an informative booklet from OD. An article about catholicism must look a little bit like The Catholic catechism. What they say about what they are is the first source. The new version must be improved with good elements of the old one that were deleted. True, a lot of good stuff of the old one have been kept in the new one. Since it is absolutely necesssary to add something about spiritual direction and spiritual practices (plan of life, prayers), the core of OD -and I know this even if i was never a member -, if there is a space problem, the Davinci stuff must be sacrificed, as it is not at all essentialLouisar 18:37, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Process issues

After mediation, the logical next step is arbitration. RFC is a pre-mediation step, Alecmconroy. This method is all wrong! Do not revert until you have answered my point convincingly. Pradeshkava 08:54, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Prad-- RFCs may be done at any point in time that we want more comments done. That our mediation was unsuccessful in no way prevents me from asking the community to take a look at this issue again now that I've implemented some of the mediatiors suggestions in my rewrite. Indeed, it's only logical for us to ask people to take a look at this, and judging by the comments so far, all uninvolved editors to date have liked the rewrite. If you feel it's inappropriate to do this RFC, you can request the Arbitration Committee to stop it perhaps, but I for one have never heard of anything prohibiting RFCS-- enlisting uninvolved editors to generate a consensus is to be encouraged, not deterred. --Alecmconroy 09:04, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
The newer edit has already gained great approval. It takes nothing away from former editors and I fear that ego may be an issue in this. I support, as a pracising Roman Catholic, Alec's revision and expansion.Iamlondon 00:05, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, Alec. Your personal version was on display since May. People treated it with indifference, to say the least. Two mediators found the established article neutral. People of Good Article found it neutral and Good!
If you want another RFC, okay. But modify the article after there is consensus. As the saying goes, let's put Wikipedia first and not our personal versions. Okay? Pradeshkava 09:11, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Prad, as of this writing, I, the two commentors, Baccyak4H from a while back, and the GA reviewer all think the rewrite improves the article. It's a good bet that Iamlondon and AJ are going agree. We are all experience wikipedia editors with no particular tendency toward promoting or criticizing Opus Dei. Meanwhile, the only people who disagree so far appear to be users who have an exclusive history of editing Opus Dei articles, who presumably are here exclusively to promote their organization-- the best advertising in the world. If nobody likes the rewrite, nobody has to take it, but forgive me if I don't take your word for which version is best. --Alecmconroy 09:45, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Why is this RFC here and not on its own page? William M. Connolley 10:32, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The instructions on WP:RFC#Request_comment_on_articles say just to put it in an different section on the article talk page.--Alecmconroy 11:16, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I find it very disturbing that this article is being reverted continually with essentially no comment on its *content*. Revert summaries like Reverting to version of Pradeshkava. Major changes should be discussed in the talk page. The correct next step is arbitration or revert Not Wikipedia method to have rfc after mediation; after mediation, please go to arbitration; one editor cannot undo work of many supported by official mediation are not at all helpful - if there is something wrong with the new version, please discuss it here.

The aim is to discuss things here to *avoid* arbitration - not to head straight for it!

William M. Connolley 12:05, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Pure vandalism!!

We discussed the new version ad nauseam in mediation.

Don't you get it guy? Mr. Ideologue is on a rampage!! Ndss 14:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

In his 247 edits since December of 2005, Ndss has never made even a single edit that did not relate to Opus Dei. He is, it would seem, merely a dedicated member who has come to Wikipedia exclusively to promote Opus Dei. --Alecmconroy 14:28, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

There is an element of apparent vandalism in that the new version is going too far. Minor changes in the old version would have been enough. I feel the old version was better written or more easy to read. Too much references look pedantic.Louisar 00:16, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Very Important information

Please check these out. They contain very important information: results of two mediations, comments of Good article guys.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Pradeshkava (talkcontribs)

Why exactly are these important to this discussion? All they seem to do is essentially show the former version had merit (which I've yet to see anyone deny). They do very little to illuminate the new version. The question on the table is: does it have more merit? Or not? Baccyak4H (talk) 21:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Since Prad mentions the GA dispute, people might also want to note that the GA reviewer who promoted this article before has also expressed the opinion that the rewrite was an improvement. --Alecmconroy 21:27, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Steps in dispute resolution

Check this out guys!!

Wikipedia:Dispute resolution Contents

   * 1 Avoidance
   * 2 First step: Talk to the other parties involved
   * 3 Second step: Disengage for a while
   * 4 Further dispute resolution
         o 4.1 Informal mediation
         o 4.2 Discuss with third parties
         o 4.3 Conduct a survey
         o 4.4 Mediation
   * 5 Last resort: Arbitration
   * 6 Requesting an Advocate (at any time)
   * 7 See also

Hey Alec!! After step 1,2,3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, what comes next? Ndss 14:40, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Ndss-- are you honestly suggesting it is wrong of me to Request Comments in order to build a consensus on this issue? I'll personally buy and ship you one 8 oz bottle of Coke anywhere in the world, if you can find me even one admin, out of the 1000 or so, who feels it's wrong to do an RFC in order to try and build consensus. :) --Alecmconroy 14:44, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Build consensus pal. Go on. BUT don't IMPOSE your pet article, pal!! Ndss 14:50, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
There seems to be a misunderstanding here. An RfC IS how we build consensus about an article. If you review the comments to date, there is absolutely overwhelming support for the new version. This has obviously upset some of the "established" editors of this article, so let me offer a brief reminder: No one owns this article. Regardless of what your personal involvemnet with OD is, wikipedia requires you to work with other editors in building the best article possible. This is best achieved through discussion rather than reverts. If there is a particular cite that you consider unreliable, bring it to the talkpage; but don't just delete or revert material that you personally don't approve of...that way lies revert wars and blocking.
Indeed there is mis-understanding... the DR is not a one-way process. Once you've been to Med, you aren't precluded from going back to earlier stages. What I don't see here is any evidence that Ndss, etc, are willing to discuss the "new" article, or say what is wrong with it. Trying desperately to force things into Arbcomm will *not* impress the Arbcomm, quite the reverse William M. Connolley 19:32, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Our GA review, CTSWyneken, was kind enough to explicitly ask the head of the Mediation Commitee about this procedural issue. You can read his full response [[1]], but to quote part of it:

The Mediation Committee does not render decisions. The Mediation Committee does not provide binding resolution. The Mediation Committee provides voluntary, formal mediation whereby parties may come to a voluntary solution. Mediation is a process of facilitating discussion between parties in order to allow them to come to a solution that is agreeable to everyone involved; it is not intended to provide a binding resolution to any issue. (Wikipedia:Mediation, Wikipedia:Requests for mediation, Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Guide to filing a Request for Mediation, Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Common Reasons for Rejection) Formal, binding resolution can only come from the Arbitration Committee, Jimbo Wales, or the Foundation Board.
For the Mediation Committee, Essjay (Talk) 02:27, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

So, that's good to know. --Alecmconroy 08:25, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Comments and a means to an end...

I have one comment, this seems to be out of control. What substantive difference is made from old to new article that changes that character of the article? Give me one example each to start with. Insults, childishness and mocking comments seem to be the only problem. Please don't respond to each other, just answer my question. Dominick (TALK) 16:26, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

See above for a start. Does this answer your question? Baccyak4H (talk) 16:30, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for, or from whom, but let me take a stab at answering you question. To me, the main substantive change is one of verifiability. The old article was not only uncited in some places, it was uncitable. Let me show you what I mean.
One of the things that keeps coming out about Opus Dei is the theme of "Work". Here is what the old article said about the importance of Work in Opus Dei:
Since the Bible stated that man was created "to work" (Gen 2:15) and that Jesus "did all things well" (Mk 7:37), Escrivá encouraged Christians to work excellently out of love. By doing so, their work is a service to society and a fitting offering to God. "'Great' holiness consists in carrying out the 'little duties' of each moment", says Escrivá.
Now, that paragraph has lots of problems. For one it doesn't really talk about Opus Dei at all, directly. It cites the bible to justify Opus Dei's theology, but it doesn't ever really talk about Opus Dei itself. It quote Escriva, but it quotes him in a poetic, flowery way, without getting to the heart of Opus Dei itself. And how can I possibly find a cite to prove that "work is a fitting offering to God"? Whether work is a fitting offering to God isn't verifiable.
There's nothing wrong with the basic idea of telling our readers how important "Work" is to Opus Dei. We just need to do it in a way that complies with WP:Verifiability. This is how the new version addressed "Work":
Similarly, Opus Dei stresses the importance of work.[1] Opus Dei places a great value on industriousness, diligence, and hard work.[2] Where some religious orders might encourage their members to withdraw from the material world, Opus Dei's members take an active role in careers or charitable works.[3] Opus Dei teaches that work is "a path to holiness"[4], and its founder famously advised members to "Sanctify your work. Sanctify yourself in your work. Sanctify others through your work."[5]
This accomplishes all the same basic goals as the original text, but it does so in a way where every single sentence is provable, verifiable, encyclopedic, and cited. Escriva is quoted in the new text as well, but it's a more famous quote and one that gets to the heart of the matter. The new text is "about" Opus Dei's theology, rather than "justifying" Opus Dei's theology. It conveys the same basic information, but in the new version, someone can say "Well.. prove it" and I can give them a reference that proves it. The new rewrite isn't trying to "criticize" Opus Dei in any way whatsoever, it just does a somewhat better job of presenting the same basic information that was found in the old article, but it does it in a way that's completely verifiable and easier for a lay audience to understand.
I hope this comparison helps you and all the commentors out there.
--Alecmconroy 16:51, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Is there opposition to editing this section to bring it in line with your changes? It doesn't look like it... Dominick (TALK) 17:17, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Look at the differnce between those two versions: The first is, as stated, both uncited and almost certainly unverifiable; also, the prose reads like an OD pamphlet. In contrast, the second version has FIVE cites and is written in a totally NPOV fashion. This is exactly what we should be striving for in any article! Doc Tropics 19:26, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
My point is specific facts that are in dispute. I think there is a middle ground here. Dominick (TALK) 21:25, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't seem that specific facts have been disputed, at least yet. What has been disputed is the wholescale revamping of an article with previous GA status. That is understandable. Yet there is strong and still growing consensus that the new article, notwithstanding the means of its inception, is an improvement. The dispute at this point is a procedural one, so there is not really a ground to find the middle of. Obviously, if you see a factual error, you can be bold, although in principle I would suggest freezing the content as much as possible until the procedural dispute is resolved (say, you could bring it up here, or put in an editor's comment). Baccyak4H (talk) 14:24, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks and further minor improvements

I'd like to thank everyone who commented today for all their help! I sincerely appreciate it. Thanks also to all the original editors who worked so hard to create the pre-rewrite page: ultimately, you did all the hard work of actually writing the article, I just did some final pre-FAC polishing of Tone and Verifiability.

I expect there's still some objections left to be aired and discussed, but given the overwhelmingly positive response the RFC received, I think it's not unrealistic to slowly begin looking at FAC. IF the rewrite becomes stable, I think there's an excellent chance of us all getting a Wikipedia Featured Article on Opus Dei-- which would be wonderful for everybody.

To that end: is there a better picture of Pope John Paul II? Currently we're using this one, but its from 1997-- I'd rather have one of him circa 1982, when he made Opus Dei a personal prelature. Something like this, only something we can use, copyright-wise.

Similarly, if anyone wants to help tackle bringing the cites into proper format, you are MOST welcome to do so-- there are still PLENTLY left. :)

Again, thanks everyone. --Alecmconroy 22:05, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Mediation resolution: non-equal validity

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for your help and contribution. :)

As we discussed at mediation, I think the main problem that the mediator Wisden17 saw in Alec's proposal is that it does not follow the non-equal validity clause of Wikipedia:NPOV, which gives more space to "prominent sources."

He also said that "the body of evidence is against" the proposed equal treatment of the two sides of the controversy.

I copy here below what the article's Q&A did to summarize the body of evidence:

John Allen's book on Opus Dei has been hailed by the press, professional reviewers, and the public (3 Ps). Martha Teichner of CBS, a four time Emmy Awardee, stated that the book of Allen "is widely considered as the definitive book about Opus Dei." [2] Professional reviewers routinely call Allen, a "respected" journalist and praised his book: [3]. Here is the public's assessment: [4]. Thus the POV held by Messori, Introvigne, Wilson, Thierry, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, etc which coincides with Allen is established as the majority POV for this article.

Aside from non-equal validity, there are other points that go against the proposal: it does not take a deep, analytical, encyclopedic treatment of the roots of the controversy, the theology of Opus Dei and its practices.

Since I lack time now, I am going to stop here, although indeed there are other points for disagreement. I do intend to bring the issue up to arbitration, since to my mind the crux of the matter is an understanding of Wikipedia policies, and arbcom is the right body to determine the rightness or wrongness of our application of them.

Thanks again for everyone's collaboration. I agree with the suggestion that we tackle this issue with calm and peace. :) Thomas 03:15, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Thomas. These recent changes are being put through in the teeth of the result of mediation, and the effective appeal is to arbitation. I think also that if applying "verifiability" leads one to disallow well known quotations from the Bible, as in the example given by Alec, it must be an idiosyncratic concept of verifiability. Anonimus 17:59, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
If you read Alec's entire discussions above closely and with good faith, you will see you have misrepresented (at least) 5/6 of his changes' motivation, and 6/6 of his concept of verifiability. That said, I think no one denies there is a procedural dispute here. In the meantime, why don't you answer above in the RfC section as has been requested? Baccyak4H (talk) 18:21, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Using the Bible as a reliable source in articles is actually a rather complex issue. While verses can certainly be cited to indicate support for (or origins of) various belief systems, using the Bible as a source for almost anything else, especially historical matters, is questionable; preference would always be given to more scholarly sources. Doc Tropics 18:10, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
But we have been through all this. Alec objects to statements such as "Christians are called to holiness" as being unverifiable. This boils down to the question of the validity of expertise (or "technical knowledge") in theology: in fact this statement can easily be arrived at through very simple theology, e.g. via one or more New Testament quotations.
The main point is that the statement is clearly verifiable unless atheism is implicitly adopted as the measure of all belief systems.
I don't think an atheistic standpoint is necessary in an encyclopedia. It could be chosen if the Wiki community decided. In that case everyone would be aware that Wikipedia was an encyclopedia where the rules were skewed against religion and would discount it accordingly. Anyway, it is not the present situation.
Having an atheistic standpoint dominate and be allowed to stand in judgment, as it were, in an article on an entity that is essentially religious, is not neutral: it amounts to a strong anti-religious position, as it disallows all theological statements as being POV. It's a non-too-veiled attack.
I have written about this before in the discussion thread, and in mediation.
Anonimus 18:27, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Ummm, perhaps I'm misinterpreting what you just said, but making a claim that "Christians are called to holiness", then citing Bible verses to "prove" your point, sounds a lot like original research. Drawing such conclusions exceeds the scope of an encyclopedia. Also, I'm not aware that any editor has ever suggested that wikipedia should adopt, "an atheistic standpoint". This appears to be a Straw man argument. Doc Tropics 18:37, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, atheism is indeed a complete strawman. There is a subtle but crucial distinction between "Christians are called to holiness" and "Christians believe they are called to holiness". Admittedly there is some room for semantic hair splitting with the meaning of "called", so a better example would be his own, "work is a fitting offering to God" vs. (say) "Christians believe work is a fitting offering to God". Certainly Scripture can be used to reference a statement of a belief system without being OR, but the whole construction has to make logical sense. Baccyak4H (talk) 18:53, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
But rather than split hairs, why don't you add a source (or have one on hand) that not only reports OD's attitudes toward work (we already have those) but rather documents the motivation as coming from Scripture? If indeed that is the case, I cannot imagine that would be difficult at all. Baccyak4H (talk) 18:57, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
There are many such possible quotes, and Alec rejected the one in the piece because s/he regards theology as POV. That is the point at issue.
I have not made any edits because, as I said, the entire philosophy of the piece as changed is biased. I made the point about smuggled-in atheism at an earlier stage, and if I misrepresented Alec at the time he did not say so. In fact he defended his position by calling it "non-theism" rather than "atheism". (All this is verifiable.) Non-theism in the field of religion equates to an atheistic POV.
Is it not obvious what is happening here? According to Baccyak, nobody is claiming that the orginal article was bad. But if 100+ edits are made in the course of 48 hours, which completely change the piece and make it rather like an option that was rejected during mediation five months ago, is it not blindingly clear that little respect is being shown for Wikipedia and the mediation in question? That is why I would support a move to the next stage, i.e., arbitration.
Anonimus 22:29, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
The quote he rejected did not document the motivation as coming from Scripture, which is what I asked for. (Thus you have not answered my offer, which still stands.) It could easily be read as asserting Scripture. Use-mention again. Please understand this. Alec does; s/he doesn't want to "use" a POV. But has "mentioned" many.
I will let others speak for themselves. But neither you, I or any others are in the field of religion when we are here. We are in the field of Wikipedia. In this field, non-theism, in conjunction with non-atheism, is neutrality. But again, we can mention both, and others if appropriate.
"Bad" and "able to be significantly improved" need not be synonymous, and for these purposes are not. I had expressed the latter on 08 Sept 2006 in the talk archive, without any knowledge of Alec's work. And many others have expressed same above in RfC response. There is full agreement to date that I can see on five of the six goals Alec claimed very clearly. On the sixth (NPOV) there is a lack of consensus (ironically) on this page. The previous POV decision should carry the day with regards to the issue of the non-equal validity concept of neutrality. So what is happening is indeed obvious. A vast potential for improvement is being sacrificed to maintain what was deemed a neutral POV with regards to non-equal validity. Most of the improvement of this article has already been worked out, at the expense of a certified NPOV vis-a-vis validity. NPOV is an essential goal of any article. But the ultimate goal is to make the best article, which includes by necessity NPOV. It would seem much easier to rework the POV here than rewriting for encyc. tone, digging up refs, reorganizing sections, changing language to declarative, etc, that Alec as already done. So no, it is not blindingly clear, or even vague. Baccyak4H (talk) 04:40, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
This 'non-theism' may be neutral when writing an article about, say, the Paris Metro, or Sonata Form. But in a piece related to religion it equates to atheism. Why? Because one adopts a sceptical tone as if 'from outside' in a way that one would not if writing about the Paris Metro, where things are allowed 'to be' rather than 'held by believers to be'. This is an implied downgrading of religion. It is therefore an anti-religious philosophy, and is no more neutral than any other philosophy or ideology. As I noted earlier, Wikipedia could adopt this philosophy, but it has not done so so far, and it is misleading to imply that an entry need adopt the line proposed by Alec.
This point was covered in Mediation, although at the time it wasn't the main issue. Alec and I agreed to differ; and it is not just a question of style: it's an atheistic tone. I think Doc Tropic's comment above, which was softened by Baccyak a couple of paragraphs later (on Scripture being used to reference a belief), reflects that philosophy honestly. Those biblical quotes were edited out because the philosophy of the new entry discounts Scripture as a worthwhile source. It is actually an anti-religious position.
Anonimus 16:37, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
My understanding is they were edited out because a purported fact that they motivated a particular belief, tenet or set of actions, etc., was not sourced. Without that the quotes become irrelevant to the article as written that way (I encourage the original rewriter to correct me if I am wrong). I fully encourage you and others to bring to this page any sourced claims of certain spiritual writings motivating a particular aspect. Baccyak4H (talk) 16:51, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Forgot this part. You fail to recognize that all POVs can be "mentioned" and should be as appropriate, but none can be "used". Failing to "use" and is just as much (actually, just as little) an affront to atheism as any other POV. Baccyak4H (talk) 17:03, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I see Alec hasn't yet commented on the point two paragraphs above, but I think there is more ideology behind the re-writing of this entry than Baccyak realises. So I would ask Alec here to correct me if the following statement is inaccurate:
Alec's position, as expressed earlier in the discussion threads, is that religion and morality, not being verifiable, are areas where there are no experts, just opinions. Thus theology is a matter of opinion, in contrast to, say, the sciences, which are areas where genuine expertise exists. And therefore, in order to avoid promoting opinions (POV), the article should avoid theology, hence too, Scripture.
If accurate, I would dispute these concepts of verifiability and expertise, as well as the conclusion drawn from the premises. The very philosophy, or framework if you prefer, is hostile to theology, and to institutions whose identity or actions have their foundation in theology.
Minor edits to the new article and line by line discussion would thus miss the point: the broader question needs to be tackled, otherwise the anti-religious philosophy sets the ground rules for future edits and maybe other entries too. If one ground rule is that you cut out theology (but not other disciplines), life can be made very difficult for the apologist.
Anonimus 12:40, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
What s/he said earlier really isn't important. If s/he says something now that is equivalent to asserting a theologic POV, or an atheistic POV (or any other), it is inappropriate. Done deal. If anything is described with respect to any POV, or described given that one holds a POV, in itself that is OK (balance etc issues still hold, but another day...).
And to avoid the fallacy of confounding day-to-day logistics and having a life outside of WP with the arbitrary and arguably disingenuous demands of WP editors, I will ask that Alec now correct me if my description is inaccurate. Thus silence now leads to an entailment paradox and we are forced to conclude Alec has supported neither position in any way. If s/he does chime in, well we shall find out otherwise.
But please recognize that any ideology can exist simultaneously in any antecedant of Modus_ponens. The reader is left to decide whether to affirm or not, and any affirmation is possible. There is no suggestion toward any particular decision is implied. Only the tools are elucidated. That is a goal of NPOV in WP. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 05:25, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Anonimous-- you're sort of confusing a bunch of different things I said about different subjects and squishing them all into a analgamous, and taking them more as some sort of world philosophy rather than what they actually were-- commentary on this article.
In all the stuff that I said that I see you referencing above, I've been trying to get at the idea that the article must be verifiable and in encyclopedic tone. So, for example, the statement "Christians are called to holiness" is absolutely and completely unverifiable, as the term "verifiable" is used by Wikipedia. Now, I've been accused of "atheism POV PUSHING" for saying that, which is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start. I get the feeling that Anonimous et al think I'm making some sort of major theological argument-- something like weak atheism or mysterianism or something. Trying to say in essence that God is unknowable even in principle.
But I'm totally not trying to say anything like that. When I say "Christians are called to holiness" is unverifiable, I'm not making a large theological comment, all I mean to say is that the sentence does not comply with WP:V. That doesn't mean it's false, that doesn't mean we as humans can never know if that is true, it just means it's not in compliance with WP:V. The sentence "Christians are not called to holiness" would ALSO not comply with WP:V.
Instead, WP:V requires us to say things more like "Christians believe they are called to holiness". That's all I'm saying. --Alecmconroy 06:54, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I am grateful for Alec's explanation as to the scope of those comments. By the way, I did not mean to imply anything outside Wikipedia. I think this particular edit shows fair-mindedness on its own terms, i.e., in spite of the principles, which I disagree with. I think, though, that it is more superficial than what was there before, and the procedure used for the wholesale changes makes me uneasy.
My opposition on principle is to an interpretation of verifiability that leads to something that we can know is true being considered unverifiable. I don't think that is is a reasonable result, I don't think that Wikipedia intends that result, and I don't agree that an entry need or indeed should take the line that Alec proposes.
The question of mode of speech is reasonable on the "executive" level, but that is only the application in language to a prior question of what *is* in real life - it's not just a question of use/mention or modus ponens, but of a hidden reductionism in the view of reality being promoted by that use of language. I view this reductionism as toxic to religion, because when detailing a religious subject, more weight is given to the "verifiable" perspective of the social sciences (for instance), than to the "POV" perspective of its own category, theology - which leads to superficiality at best, if not a systematic scepticism. But I have repeated this in different ways several times now. Maybe my question lies on the "judicial" level.
Anonimus 16:37, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Actually, and only with respect to the sentence you quoted ("Christians are called to holiness"), one could plausibly argue that this is verifiable (thus to agree, with qualifications, to your verifiability objection), due to differing interpretations of the word "called". One could say that a particular Scripture verse, Apostolic Exhortation, etc. says that explicitly, if it was actually written as such. One should be very hesitant to try this, as the language would need to be very clear that that indeed is a calling, and it is indeed to holiness—otherwise it would approach OR; additionally the intermediate logical step "Christians look to source X for inspiration" is not explicit, and one could protest that implicitness. But in principle it should be possible to to make statements like that and source them. But it would need to be done carefully—the previous version failed to do so many times. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 17:55, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Burden of proof and reversion

Nobody --not even one-- has been able to counter the non-equal validity clause, and the "body of evidence." Those accusing the old article of non-neutrality carry the burden of proof. If anyone thinks that Wisden17 was incorrect, prove it. Prove whether Walsh, Tapia, Hutchinson, Kung are more prominent than John Allen, Jr., Vittorio Messori, Massimo Introvigne, Benedict XVI, John Paul II. In the absence of such proof, I can only agree with Anonimus: it is blindingly clear that little respect is being shown for Wikipedia, and therefore the radical change is a form of vandalism and should be reverted.

Isn't it funnny that Opus Dei is referred to as cult in a subsection, while the personal prelature subsection was removed? Isn't it strange that one of the most referenced word, if not the most, is Hitler? And Mr. Conroy wants us to believe he does not have anything against Opus Dei? I assume good faith, but I am not naive.

Given a respectable time limit, I will revert Mr. Conroy's "50-50" version unless somebody submits convincing proof that outmatches the prestige of John Allen, Jr. et al. And please do not bring me the latest CNN, ABC, Time, Newsweek coverage on Opus Dei, for they give the pro-Opus line a clear majority. Lafem 01:26, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

See above about the respect accusation. How is the resectioning funny? There may be other ways to skin this cat, but note 1) the cult related accusations are particular to OD, the status of being a prelature (and subsequent details of prelatureness) is (in principle) not. 2) there is no fork mentioned for the cult allegations themselves (there is general "Opposition" however); there is a wikilink to Prelature (ironically, there is a wikilinked "response to cult allegations", which is quite absurd given the allegations' page's absence). So anyone wanting to research the allegations will effectively need to see what's here; not so for Prelatures. Seems a very natural (though certainly not unique) division. Re Hitler, Carl Sagan once said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Here "claims" can be "people think OD is associated" as much, or even more than "OD is associated" (Use-mention again). Although the corollary is of course that the sources need to be good ones; here their quality varies greatly and perhaps half can safely, even approvingly, be removed.
Lastly, thanks for your patience; I encourage you to rather bring this version up to speed with respect to reflecting JA et al's prestige. That is a much shorter route to a suberb article rather than one which is merely "not bad" ;). Better yet, propose improvements here, say paragraph by paragraph. And why not bring the latest mainstream coverage? It's relevant and notable and including edits reflecting them would tend to help, not hinder, the article converge towards NPOV vis-a-vis nonequal validity (which seems the sole objection to this version), whatever it may be. Baccyak4H (talk) 04:40, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Mr. BaccyakH. Opus Dei is the sole personal prelature of the Catholic Church at this moment. It is particular to Opus Dei. The cult accusation is not particular to Opus Dei. YWCA and multilevel marketing are accused of such but the world cult does not appear in their articles, much less does it appear in the form of a subsection.
NPOV is not vis-a-vis nonequal validity, Mr. BaccyakH. Non-equal validity is the meaning of NPOV. "All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing views fairly, proportionately and without bias." "NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a verifiable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each."
Verifiability means: "1. Articles should contain only material that has been published by reliable sources. 2. Editors adding new material to an article should cite a reliable source, or it may be challenged or removed by any editor. 3. The obligation to provide a reliable source lies with the editors wishing to include the material, not on those seeking to remove it."
All the material in the spiritual teaching section of the former article are cited, taken from Holiness in the World and the writings of Escriva. They are not original materials. They are verifiable, because they are citations from a reliable source, a book written by luminary theologians, e.g. Ratzinger, William May, Fernando Ocariz.
You do not seem know your Wikipedia policy, Mr. BaccyakH. You do not seem know Opus Dei either. Mr. Conroy is in the same boat, I presume.
I will be patient. Thank you. But the clock is ticking. And I am waiting for proof. Without it, I revert to the old version deemed by outsiders to be a Good Article. The present one is not a Good Article. Lafem 08:43, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Again thanks again for your patience. A few points.
You are comparing apples and oranges. OD has the status of being a Prelature, and of having cult allegations made against it. The former is currently unique, the latter, as you point out, is not. Thus there can be, and are, particular instances of cult allegations which are completely immaterial to this article, since they pertain to other targets. So to cover that issue, the only plausible option is to cover (to an appropriate extent of course, but another that's another thing altogether) the allegations specific to OD. But if there is no other Prelature currently, there is nothing about prelatureness that is demonstrably unique to OD in the sense of another Prelature being different from it in this particular way. Thus in principle the main Prelature article is all one needs. This is not to imply another organizational scheme is impossible—far from it, but only that this one is indeed defensible. Why don't you bring some allegation material to this page, or propose some Prelature detail (as per above I would not recommend a lot) and let's rework them?
I am puzzled as to how you can say that is "the" (my emphasis) meaning of NPOV. Nonequal validity is an attribute that a collection of at least two sources can have, or not. NPOV includes always reflecting this presence or absence. Your second quoted policy sentence summarized that well, and the first refers to it with "proportionately". The first also mentioned however, "fairness" and "bias" which can in addition refer to e.g., tone, independently of any source proportion. And I do understand verifiability just as you quoted.
The verifiability of the previous content is itself not the issue. What needed to be verified is that this particular facet of OD was motivated by this particular spiritual writing. Without rereading the original I actually would assume that it indeed sometimes did happen. But it sometimes did not (Alec's example, and I recall it often did not, but I trust Alec's very clear exposition over my memory, at this time). It is these relationships, the motivations in this case, that needed documenting. Alec has done that. At the risk of being redundant, I rerefer to the crucial distinction again, although I point out it seems necessary at this time.
While I know far more about WP than you give me credit for, if you wish to accuse me of failing to be wikiomniscient, OK I'm guilty as charged. And I do indeed know very little about OD, nor do I have any need to here. Although I am of the opinion that if John Paul II deemed it of high esteem, it probably is of high esteem.
Lastly, you are certainly entitled to your opinion as to the article being good or not, even if you don't make clear that is indeed your opinion (we can all agree it's not perfect). I took the liberty of moving what I took as your RfC response to what I thought a more appropriate section; I hope you don't object—it was in good faith. But I would ask you again to refrain from reverting, and rather concentrate on bring specific disputed stuff in here to discuss, as your opinion on the article taken as a whole is currently a small minority. Baccyak4H (talk) 16:10, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Lafem. Things have come to a pretty pass when one can attempt what really amounts to a coup (by analogy only, obviously) and then complain at charges of 'vandalism'.
Anonimus 16:42, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, vandalism charges at this time by anyone would be unwarranted. Given that, there is no pretty pass. Baccyak4H (talk) 17:06, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
posted to User_talk:Alecmconroy:
Mr. Conroy. I plan to revert to the old version until you have provided proof as stated here. Lafem 09:10, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
There are two issues here, a behavior one and a content one. I'll talk about the behavior issue first. You threaten to revert the article-- that is your choice if you decide to do so. There is an overwhelming consensus for the rewrite (11 out of 11 outside editors in the RFC supported the rewrite). Given the degree of support, I would regard such a revert as vandalism, as I think would most of the editors involved. If you would like to try to convince the community or the Arbitration Comittee that a revert should take place, you are free to do so. If you would like to simply revert it back against consensus without having convinced anyone, that you will not be permitted to do.
As to the content issue itself-- I strongly feel that the rewrite is a major improvment in terms of tone, verifiability, and citatations. It really all comes down to the difference between "Christians are called to holiness" and "Christians believe they are called to holiness". As we know, I've spent many many words trying to explain why one is acceptable while the other is not. I don't think there's anything else I could say to you on that subject. You could reread WP:V, or perhaps you could post to the talk pages of some of the editors who offered outside comments and maybe they could say something to you that I haven't. --Alecmconroy 09:31, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Can we all please all refrain from throwing vandalism accusations around, please? The rewrite was just *bold* and the preponderance of feedback supports this and refutes vandalism overwhelmingly. Any reversion at this point cannot be considered vandalism simply on account of the previous mediation; a far more defendible accusation might be wikilawyering but that's far from vandalism. Thank you, all. Baccyak4H (talk) 15:05, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, I think a revert, without a consensus would border on vandalism given the overwhelming support it's gotten. All the talk about the mediator last summer 'ruling' against a rewrite that happened this week is misleading on so many levels. Mediators don't 'rule' in the first place, and those ruling certainly aren't binding in any way-- mediatiors just try to help two people resolve their differences-- something it became pretty clear wasn't going to happen. If someone wants a definitive binding ruling that can trump community consensus, they need to be filing a Request for Arbitration. --Alecmconroy 15:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I stand by my request Alec, but add the caveat that my position will weaken (albeit likely not without bound), if repeated future attempts by myself and others to solicit specific improvements to this version go unanswered. Many already have gone so. Baccyak4H (talk) 16:14, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

I would urge strongly against any blanket reverts at this point. While it's clear that certain editors are disgrunteld by recent changes, it's also clear the there is overwhelming positive support for the changes, for a number of valid reasons that have been explained in-depth elsewhere on this page. I would also suggest that after this "improved" version is discussed and polished a bit, it should be re-submitted for reivew and grading. It appears to me that there has been a significant overall improvement in quality, and I suspect outside editors would agree. FA staus for this article might actually be possible with a bit more work. Doc Tropics 17:20, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Lafem. I do not buy the reasons given for the blanket change just taken place.
Anonimus 17:35, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
There is a place for comments on the changes themselves (rather than their reasons) above. I encourage you to chime in there with reasons on the changes themselves. Baccyak4H (talk) 18:15, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Discussion of Old-vs-New

Discussion in response to Talk:Opus_Dei#Problems_with_the_old_version_of_the_article

(regarding Citations) Wikipedia:Verifiability means: "1. Articles should contain only material that has been published by reliable sources. 2. Editors adding new material to an article should cite a reliable source, or it may be challenged or removed by any editor. 3. The obligation to provide a reliable source lies with the editors wishing to include the material, not on those seeking to remove it." All the material in the spiritual teaching section of the former article are cited, taken from Holiness in the World and the writings of Escriva. They are not original materials. They are verifiable, because they are citations from a reliable source, a book written by luminary theologians, e.g. Ratzinger, William May, Fernando Ocariz. Lafem 09:16, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
(regarding balance) See Thomas's Mediation Resolution:Non-equal validity below. Lafem 09:16, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
(regarding controvesy) Possibly the longest section in the old article was Reception History and Controversy. Lafem 09:16, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
(regarding Tone) This is only your opinion, Mr. Conroy. A Lutheran Pastor at GA didn't think so. Lafem 09:16, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
(regarding Brevity) The numerous criticism demanded appropriate length from experts to elucidate. Lafem 09:16, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
(regarding organization) This is only your opinion, Mr. Conroy. A Lutheran Pastor at GA didn't think so. Lafem 09:16, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
My only main comment is to point you to this discussion. CTSWyneken, the GA reviewer, was one of the people I consulted before deciding to go forward with the rewrite-- he was shown the rewrite and found it was not only a Good Article, but in fact, a better article that the old one. --Alecmconroy 09:47, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Disputed References


These references are not acceptable, some are blogs, some are unsourced articles, and some are oped pieces. I found a few that could be used. Does anyone else feel this way? Dominick (TALK) 12:43, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I see it in approximately the opposite way. It seems most refs should be beyond dispute. Perhaps 20% or so might have caveats. I am looking at the entire list—might you be looking at a particular subset? Baccyak4H (talk) 14:29, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I dont understand that statement. Wikipedia is particular about references. Journal articles and primary sources sit at the top. Disallowed are Opinion pieces, most blogs, and blog like sources. I think a lot of these are blogs or blog like, and a few are op-ed pieces about the Da Vince code. The ODAN critique website should be included but it seems the accusations it makes are given much more weight, and it should not be so heavily used in the Opus Dei article. Some of the sources are particular flights of fancy, like the morification section. I don't know one Opus Dei member who practices flaggelation or cuts themself. There is a simple way to prove this, and that would be to find a Opus Dei article detailing how to practice physical self mortification. I don't see that. Dominick (TALK) 14:48, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
You don't have to know any. You, as a "source", is not acceptable. But three of the sources in that section are beyond dispute (for relevance, not necessarily accuracy). So it seems a better course would be to remove the dubious tags from ODAN's links (as you seem to be objecting to the amount of coverage their views are getting, not that it is inappropriate to do at all; you have a good case I would think), and rather put them on the truly questionable sources. Perhaps replace the worst cites with a fact tag.
But it seems you are missing the point of the rewrite completely. It is (as in: has been deemed to be by every public comment in answer to a call for them) an improvement. A step towards the perfect article. No not the final step, but we mustn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Before we pull out the fine toothed combs to continue improvement, please chime in above with your overall assessment. Baccyak4H (talk) 16:14, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Just on the mortification issue-- that OD numeraries use the discipline (whip) and the cilice is actually one of the things that actually isn't in dispute. It's well-documented, non-controversial fact. It's just something they do to be closer to God, and it has a very long history. Now, what is controversial is saying that this practice is somehow "bad". Making a negative value judgment about free adults of sound mind voluntarily choosing to perform such actions as a way to achieve closeness with God. That is a opinion-- the mention of which is limited to just two short sentences in the article.
I don't think there are any real facts in dispute in the rewrite. Maybe I'm wrong on that, but I don't think we are saying any new facts that weren't in the old version-- it's basically the same factual content as in the old article, just rewritten for purposes of verifiability, encyclopedia tone, organization, and citation. --Alecmconroy 13:26, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

On Sources

First off, Dominick and others-- thanks so much for going through and looking at all the sources. If we're going to get to FAC, more eyeballs are always a good thing. I'll get right on trying to find better sources for the ones that were marked dubious.

For sentences that were completely and utterly non-controversial facts, I was content to cite pretty much anything. So for example I cited an oped piece to justify Opus Dei has a "focus on the lives of average Catholics". Basically, I just threw it up so that people could see it wasn't original research. I think that's probably good enough, but if we want to find an even better source that to says the same thing, it will only make the article better, and I'll work on finding even better cites right now.  :)

If you could, I would ask that you not remove the cites outright unless it's so unrelated that it looks like a mistake or something. A 'suboptimal' cite is better than nothin'-- it shows it's not OR, for example. But if you add the "citation needed" tag, I or others can go through and try to find an even better one. :)

Also, important is when you change a "named" citation-- it means that somewhere else in the article, that same cite is used elsewhere, so if you just delete it outright, the other places it's cited will turn into broken cites. Instead, if you want to remove the first instance of a named citation, cut and paste it to where i'ts used the second time in an article-- then everything will work. --Alecmconroy 00:50, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

What's "Portillo 1996"?

Does anyone know in what work Portillo calls the hitler allegations a "patent falsehood" & "slanderous campaign"? It's an awesome quote-- I took it from Opus Dei and politics, but that article only cites it as "(del Portillo 1996, p. 22-25)"-- a full listing isn't in the bibliography. Obviously, I could go look through his writings and make a guess, but it's be better to know for sure. --Alecmconroy 02:34, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Found it. The full citation was in a May 2005 old version of this article. --Alecmconroy 02:46, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Bryan Wilson, Apostates and New Religious Movements?

Does anyone know what journal or whatever Wilson's 1994 paper "Apostates and New Religious Movements" was published in? The online version doesn't say, and googlesearching hasn't turned it up. --Alecmconroy 08:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Opus Dei as Sign of Contradiction source?

Anyone know of a better source that refers to Opus Dei as a Sign of Contradiction? There are a few "OpEd"-ish pieces that use that reference, but we could use a better one. I see in Sign of contradiction that the Archbishop of Westminister made such a statement, does anyone have a source documenting that? --Alecmconroy 08:49, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Good Article Status/Review

This article has been listed as a good article and I see no reason based on Good Article Criteria to delist it. If someone dissagrees with my take on this, please bring the article to the project's attention at: Wikipedia:Good articles/Review. Thanks! --CTSWyneken(talk) 13:10, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

A Good Article review has been opened on this article, concerning the use of the word "cult" in a section which supposedly is POV forked from somewhere else. Homestarmy 15:29, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Just wanted to say that iff (if and only if) full members are really "discouraged" from associating with anyone outside Opus Dei, then it should be classified as a cult. If this is nonsense, then it probably isn't one.Student7 21:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Oops. Superceded below ("Criticism and 'cult' allegations"). Please add no new comments here! Sorry 'bout that.Student7 21:44, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Neutrality Flag

There is a Neutrality flag on this article, but I see no attempt made to justify it on this talk page, nor do I see bias in the article itself. If there is no objection, I will remove the flag. If there is, please copy the text that is believed to be slanted to this page for discussion. Thanks! --CTSWyneken(talk) 13:12, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Much of the mortification is pretty overblown. It isn't like members of Opus Dei walk around bleeding like the Movie. Too much weight is given to crtics of Opus Dei. Dominick (TALK) 13:15, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Would you please copy the words you think are over the top here? As far as I can tell, the article describes the relevant POVs neutrally and documents them, as Alecmconroy states. --CTSWyneken(talk) 14:33, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
But Dominick-- I believe every word in the mortification section is verifiable and indeed, verified. We explicitly say bleeding does not occur, we explicitly talk about what a load of psychotic lunacy the Da Vinci code is. The criticm is kept exceptionally brief, and sentence for sentence, there's less of in than was in the old article. Which sentences do you feel are untrue/violate NPOV? --Alecmconroy 13:27, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
While these may not be a problem in terms of POV, it is probably too detailed for an FA. Perhaps an article on mortification might be created, or, if it exists, have the detail here moved to it. Here it is probably enough to have one paragraph stating that OD advocates optional, moderate forms of mortification and why. --CTSWyneken(talk) 14:33, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I object to any removal of the neutrality flag-- on the basis of Wisden17's Mediation Ruling. The present version violates NPOV's non-equal validity. It uses a word to avoid (cult), and used it as section title. The whole section is POV fork. R Davidson 14:35, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I am unaware of this ruling. Would you please summarize it or link to it? Also, would you be a bit more specific. Where is the word used that you are objecting to? --CTSWyneken(talk) 16:44, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, CTSWyneken! Am very glad to see you helping to look into this article, since you gave a nod to the GA status of the previous version.

As to the mediation resolution which emphasized non-equal validity, kindly read this post I made here.

As to what my friend, R Davidson wrote, I think you can find the section title with the word "cult" in section 6.3.1 of the present article. We had a long discussion on the advisability of a response section here at mediation. here please There you will find the link to the mediation discussions.

Thank you for taking time to read these. I think they will be helpful in the ongoing discussion. Thanks! :) Thomas 06:46, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! I'll read the ruling. For the matter at hand, does anyone object to removing the word "cult" from the subhead? I do not see it is necessary to make the points of the critics. --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:22, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
That would without a doubt be acceptable and indeed preferable if that term could not be verified to have been used in any of the critiques (i.e., its inclusion is OR). If it was used, there probably is no escaping using it somewhere, but where depends on the degree, context, etc. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 04:56, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
My inclination would be to leave it in. We use the "c word" very sparingly and we always mention it as merely an allegation. But it is a valid part of the discourse, and almost all the news stories about Opus Dei controversies mention the cult accusations. A google search for pages containing both "opus dei" and the word "cult" yields some 140,000! So while it might not be a true accusation, it is notheless a very major portion of the debate. --Alecmconroy 06:41, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
If it truly the only issue that prevents removal of the neutrality flag, then perhaps you should just remove the word from the heading. As you all have done in the lead, anytime you use the word, refer to the critics of the organization, use qualifying phrases such as "According to ____," critics "charge that" or quote someone directly with proper citation. Does that make sense? Can we do that for the sake of moving on? --CTSWyneken(talk) 15:05, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Regarding Escriva's self-mortification

Regarding Escriva's self-mortification, I don't want to go into it in any detail in the Opus Dei article (as you say, that's for the Josemaria Escriva article itself), but it should at least be mentioned in the Opus Dei article, not least because he originated the practice and serves as a role model for the movement. I'll also defend the word "vigorous": Opus Dei does not, AFAIK, require its members to flagellate themselves to the same degree as their founder. -- The Anome 13:48, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, I reverted your additonal mortification material about Escriva's practice of it is because we really don't want to make too much out of this mortification thing. If you ask the members of Opus Dei, it's a very small part of what they do. We have to mention it, and explain it, but we needn't dwell on it. Yes, it's true Escriva himself practiced it, but so have many people, and we should keep our focus, as much as possible, strictly on Opus Dei itself. There's also the fact that descriptions of Escriva's practice of mortification very quickly run towards the lurid, and he practiced it so intensely, in ways normal numeraries do not, that I think it would be almost misleading or "prejudicial" to go into it. Obviously, there's nothing stopping the Escriva article from going into it, but I think it might be a tad much to get into. That's my take anyway. To get to FAC, we need an ULTRA-TIGHT focus, trying not to go into excessive detail, but leaving that to the subarticles. --Alecmconroy 14:01, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

What happened with the article Opus Dei: Bibliography (today recursive to Opus Dei)?

As far as I remember it contained an extensive collection of references and literature. Is this all gone? --Túrelio 19:33, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Apparently it was deleted by an admin a few months ago, his reasoning was posted here. I myself didn't have any strong objection to the bibliography, but I guess a case could be made for invoking Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. If you can talk the admin into undeleting it, I have no problem with its being reinstated. --Alecmconroy 19:47, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Intro copyedited

I have attempted to edit the Intro to make it more cohesive and less repetitious. I realize that the way it was may have been a compromise resulting from various embattled positions, and if so, I guess it had better just be reverted. It wasn't very pretty, though, or reader-friendly. I'm not sure I understood the bit about about OD being " currently the only organization to have ever been made into a personal prelature", it seemed stranger the more I looked at it. Please fact-check my version altogether.

More needs doing, certainly. Mentioning the name OD 17 times in a brief intro is ...inelegant, for instance. I managed to get it down to 10, which is still rather a lot.

A rhetorical point: the very end of the intro is an extremely emphatic place. OD has indeed received much criticism, but IMO putting "cult-like, secretive, and highly-controlling" into such a prime slot still seems like giving that criticism extreme, in fact, undue, weight. I switched it round: the criticism is still there, identically phrased, but the end now speaks instead of papal support and Escriva's canonization. The effect is pretty different. I'm not sure I did the right thing here, please take a look and give it some thought, everybody. Bishonen | talk 19:36, 29 November 2006 (UTC).

While I have in general been discouraging direct nonminor edits (although vigorously but vainly encouraging bringing such suggestions here) as there is a procedural dispute going on, I for one will agree you have made an improvement for the very reasons you mention. Baccyak4H (talk) 19:53, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Thank you so much, Bishonen, for helping out! My first impression is that I love the changes you made to the intro. See what other people think, but I think it's a nice, polishing improvement, that just makes us that much closer to showing up on the frontpage of Wikipedia one day. :)
About the NPOVing issue of order: Critics first or Popes first? I've heard a lot of debate over whether the "first word" or the "last word" has more weight. Some people feel strongly that the first part "sets the tone" and therefore is the desires position to have. Others feel strongly that having the "last word" is the strongest position. I firmly support whichever order makes other people feel the article is NPOV. :) If everyone likes the two sentences in Bish's order over the original order, then that's the one I want. :) --Alecmconroy 19:54, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
  • "Critics of Opus Dei have argued that the organization is cult-like, secretive, and highly-controlling. By contrast, various Popes and other Catholic Church leaders have strongly supported Opus Dei and its teachings. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have singled it out for high praise, and in 2002, Escrivá was canonized as a saint."
That is how the final para reads after Bishonens changes (I copied it here for clarity in case of further editing). The close of the intro is indeed an emphatic place, and this version seems to give just the right balance while ending on a positive note. Barring any major objections, I would strongly support retaining this version, exactly as-is. I don't see a way to improve on it : ) Doc Tropics 00:25, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
BTW - I left the refs out of this copy/paste version just for continuity, but I also meant to comment on how accurate this summary is, as well as being well-balanced. Doc Tropics 00:27, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Quick Review

I read through the article and did some cleanup - minor things like removing wordiness, redundant statements, or paragraph structure. Overall it is very nicely referenced and presents good material. However, the final section is a mess. It gives way too much attention to fringe theories. Hopefully this can be addressed soon. Lostcaesar 10:48, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I might just take this up myself. The section relies heavily on one web source, yet states the position broadly - this needs to be fixed. One example of poor quailty was "ref bombing", where 6 ref's were stuck after the association of the founder with Hitler, even though all but one of the refs refered to previous names in the list (Franco), and the the one on Hitler was not properly expressed in the article (and still is not). Very unprofessional. Lostcaesar 11:40, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
My sincere apologies-- I wasn't trying to refbomb or be in any way misleading or anything. Originally I just had three cites that meshed well with the three claims. But there was a desire to have more refs, and so I added some, but I admit that did make it look a tad "refbomby"-- your idea of interspersing them over the sentence is a vast improvement. I also added by back in the extra cites that had been requests, but commented them out so the result would appear "bomby", that way we can have our cake an eat it too! --Alecmconroy 06:25, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Image of the cilice

I find the source of this image dubious. It was made by a group called the "Opus Dei Awareness Network " – a group specifically attempting to portray a negative image of Opus Dei. The image itself is a chain with hooks. However, a cilice is typically a hair shirt or similar cloth item (see the definition). Thus, I suspect that the image may by a fabrication. We have every reason to think it propaganda. I find such an image, due to its source, to be inappropriate. Lostcaesar 17:39, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Is there a document that puts this into the public domain? I only see the copyright notice on that site. No GFDL notice.Dominick (TALK) 17:59, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
That is not exactly the issue, as I am sure this website would be happy to spread the image as much as possible. Lostcaesar 18:06, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
As far as wikipedia is concerned that is the first issue, if this a free image with no GFDL, the point of this being a "fake" Cilice is moot. I always heard they were rough rope belts. The image will be deleted if no proof that this is GFDL by the author is produced. Dominick (TALK) 18:58, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, the historical cilices were hairshirt type things, and I've heard of all sorts. The ones used by OD are the metallic spiked things-- all sources agree on that, but easiest to go straight to the horse's mouth: OD's Official Site has a page talking about the use of the cilice. They are indeed the metallic dealies. --Alecmconroy 06:32, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I can categorically tell you that that image is exactly what a cilice used by a member of Opus Dei would typically use. They are made by the Discalced Carmelites and I have one in my possession. It is exactly the same as those bought by Opus Dei numeraries.Iamlondon 03:55, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

You may be able to do that, but your (London) testimonial in and of itself does not hold weight as to whether the image should be kept. The legality of its inclusion needs to be verified. Although the author has apparently revealed what s/he thinks its legal status is, via Lostcaeser's link, and that s/he thinks it is OK. The interpretations of this status or any updates to it for better or worse are only what counts. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 04:51, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, there's two DIFFERENT issues. There's a copyright/legality issue-- that I think is settled. I personally made the image from an image using an GFDLed image in the Wikimedia Commons image archives-- (some people felt the old image was too large). I think the way the GFDL & copyright law works, a cropped GFDL is a derivative work that is by law required to also be under the GFDL. Nonetheless, I went ahead and made a statement releasing the image under the GFDL just in case it wasn't already.
Now, there's a second issue which LostCaesar raises-- is this really a cilice, or some sort of fabrication. The answer to that is that it is indeed an accurate representation, no one has ever suggested the cilices used by OD look like anything but this. There are numerous reliable print descriptions which mention them looking exactly like the one pictured. I myself saw a History Channel special that had one in it. It's good to have a healthy skepticism of sources who have overt bias, but in this case, I don't think anyone's denying that cilices of these sorts are used. --Alecmconroy 06:00, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Here I will copy what I wrote on Alec's page since it is relevant:
In medieval Latin cilicium means hairshirt. They were uncomfortable garments worn originally by Egyptian monks and brought to southern France and popularized by St. Martin's, Tours, very early in the Middle Ages. Its name derives from the Cicilian goat hair that they are made out of (Cilicia is in Asia Minor - where St. Paul was from). Maybe in a modern context it has come to mean any uncomfortable mortifying item, but I think we could use a source for this. As for the image, I still have some problems with it. It strikes me as using a picture of JFK's motorcade after the assassination from a group called "Oswald Innocence Organization". So I am still a bit uneasy about this. Some reliable sources all around would make be feel much better.
Lostcaesar 10:07, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

The original image on the commons appears to be stolen then. There is NO GFDL statement on the ODAN website. If you have that statement, then it needs to be posted in both places. Dominick (TALK) 12:42, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Stolen!? No, no-- you're totally misunderstanding how this whole permission thing has to work. their whole website doesn't have to be GFDLed-- they can grant permission for specific images to be GFDLed. So, for example, six of the images we're currently using on this article are listed as GFDLed, but they don't have any link to any GFDLed statement on the originating website-- we just have the uploader's word that he isn't lying when he says the owner has granted permission, which is good enough for Wikipedia. --Alecmconroy 15:25, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Not true the image or the website has to state GFDL. There has to be GFDL someplace. Dominick (TALK) 18:17, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Word 'Cult", Structure

Since the main objection to the article has been the use of the world 'cult' in the subhead, I have removed both it and the NPOV flag.

I believe that the word is unneeded to speak about opposition to a controversial movement (see Jehovah's Witnesses for another group labeled cultic). The general shape of this article is the same as a number of controversial religious groups. I believe that we should condense the opposition sections in a similar way and leave it at that. Any thoughts? --CTSWyneken(talk) 19:18, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

About the section title "'cult' allegations"-- I personally think it should be on the section title. I mean, that is the criticism. I know it's a harsh word, but the fact is, the cult allegations DO exist and they are notable, so we don't need to censor it away or try to hide it, we just need to let there be a response to it. Virtually every news story about Opus Dei mentions the "cult" word, it's notable, indeed it's THE most notable criticism. Certainly, we don't want to give undue weight to criticism, but as of this moment, the controversy is an integral part of what Opus Dei is in public discourse right now. Of all the news stories that have been run on Opus Dei lately, I don't know if there's been a single one that hasn't mentioned the controversies--- some authors find the controversies unfounded, some find them justified, most are in the middle, but practically all mention it. The discussion of Opus Dei is centered around the controversy and the 'cult' allegations-- we shouldn't shy from introducing the criticism and the rebuttals. --Alecmconroy 19:40, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Alec, above: I think the word "cult" is justified in that heading: of the allegations made by Opus Dei's detractors, their being a cult is by far the commonest, and the section discusses these allegations in particular. Note that by having a header called "'Cult' allegations", we are saying that there are allegations that they are a cult (which we must be cited, per WP:V and WP:NPOV), and not saying that they are a cult, which would be contrary to the NPOV policy. -- The Anome 20:32, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. I was sorry to see my restoration of the "Criticism and 'cult' allegations" heading so promptly reverted. I thought I'd made a reasoned case within the confines of the edit summary (unlike the editor who originally removed the heading, in an edit marked "minor" and referring to a "category" (?)). Alec has made a very strong case above. I'm sure nobody wants to edit war—I certainly don't—but Alec, if I may say so, I think you should revert to the heading that has been part of the "new" version all along, especially considering that User:CTSWyneken didn't scruple to change the heading within two minutes of inviting "thoughts" on this page. Bishonen | talk 20:56, 2 December 2006 (UTC).
I believe I helped this a bit with the content restructuring, and thus allowed the title "controversy". Lostcaesar 21:11, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I went ahead and put cult allegations back into the section title for now, for the reasons specified above, but let me say that in doing that, I totally have no disrespect or assumption of bad faith towards the editors who have argued the other way, because I admit we're getting into gray here. I've solicited the opinions of a couple of people who appear to be totally outside editors with no strong feelings (positive or negative) about OD/Catholicim one way or the other. If the word on the street comes down that it the section title should go, I can totally live with that, but for the moment, I think it should stay. --Alecmconroy 21:45, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I'll leave it in, then, although I do not find it necessary. Simply because someone labels a group a cult does not mean we have to imply that Wikipedia agrees with them. Unless you want to try to put the word in a title at Jehovah's Witnesses and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and see what kind of reply you get. 8-) --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:40, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Tiny aside: "Saint Escrivá" or "Saint Josemaria"?

Just a quick aside-- should it be Saint Escriva or Saint Josemaria? I'm used to Saints being referred to as Saint <Firstname> but maybe that's just me? Googlesearches reveal both terms seem to be used, but is one "more official"? --Alecmconroy 23:04, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Lets just use both then. Lostcaesar 09:06, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Alternative criticism section

On second thoughts—fingers itching—I'm posting the alternative criticism section I proposed above in the article for consideration. It has the same content but some style copyediting and different paragraphing (one topic per paragraph, even though that makes them shorter than best practice). Please feel free to just revert the section if it's not approved. Bishonen | talk 01:08, 3 December 2006 (UTC).

Just dropping by to comment. I strongly support Bishonen's idea of folding the criticism into the text. The controversy surrounding the order can be divided into concerns about doctrine, structure mortification and the requirements for membership. This incorporation shouldn't be difficult since those sections already exist in the article (the membership section title might need to be changed a bit). As an example:
They state that Opus Dei is "intensely secretive"— for example, members generally do not publically disclose their affiliation with Opus Dei,[80] and under the 1950 constitution, members were expressly forbidden to reveal themselves without the permission of their superiors.[81]
Could be reworded slightly (especially since the current wording is original research, neither source says anything about secretive) and added to information about membership:
Under the 1950 constitution, members were expressly forbidden to reveal themselves without the permission of their superiors[81], as such, they generally do not publicly disclose their affiliation with Opus Dei.[80]
Another example - Opus Dei has been called "the most controversial force in the Catholic Church" - is such a strong statement, it might be appropriate for the final paragraph in the opening.
If the consensus is that folding the section in is the best way to go, I'd be happy to put some effort into effecting that change. Shell babelfish 16:54, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Generally I would support that, but I think we need to watch for one thing. The sources for the criticism section are very weak, in other words they are very radical groups that, frankly, are hard to take seriously and harder to trust. Now, as for criticisms, its ok to use them as a source, beause we are only saying "critics say...", and though I feel a bit uncomfortable using these sources so extensivly even there, it is fair to characterize critics with their own words. However, if we shift to integrating them into the article, then we shift to a more factual presentation (e.g. your example above). It would be a bit like quoting white supremists on the life of MLK. So yes, this is a positive way to go, but we will have to advance carefully and be very percise in how we use the sources. Lostcaesar 17:02, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Bish's new write-up of "Criticism" looks good to me, but I do agree with Shell about moving "the most controversial force..." to the end of the section. I considered making the change myself, but don't want to muck up an otherwise well-written section. Also, I think that the refs are adequate given how they're used; ie, not to claim something as fact, simply to acknowledge that others make those claims. The "Criticism" and "Responses" are almost certainly going to be a contentious topic, but I think this is an excellent presentation overall. Doc Tropics 17:16, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Quick comment-- I like the current version of the criticism and response very much-- still a tiny bit of tweaking, but I think we're really close. The idea taking the criticism section and interspersing ("folding it into") the rest of the page presents a number of problems. Lost mentions one-- the criticisms are of highly disputed reliability, and while it may be fair to mention that a controversy exists and describing it, we run into trouble if we start putting those criticism into the rest of the article.
More than that, however, a reason I like the controversy section is that, by and large, it's not that there are a number of tiny objections, here and there, to OD. There is basically one argument some people try to make: OD is bad/cult/cultlike. Now, they may cite 8-10 things in support of that idea, but it's still ONE argument being made by ONE partisan faction, not 8-10 different arguments which we can chop up and intersperse into the article. (Noting, of course, that I can Lost has already done of good job of interspersing those "historical criticisms" that were separate arguments made by historical individuals, most of whom later changed their minds anyway). --Alecmconroy 20:54, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
That's why its so important to attribute the statements to their sources. For instance, in my first example, the statement just says "They" (preceding statement only says "Critics"). The supporting reference for the statement comes from Time magazine - the source itself doesn't say anything about critics or being secretive, just that the members don't disclose their affiliations. If people or organizations have criticized this, we really should reference that directly so it doesn't look like our own research. For instance, something like:
Under the 1950 constitution, members were expressly forbidden to reveal themselves without the permission of their superiors[81], as such, they generally do not publicly disclose their affiliation with Opus Dei.[80] "Specify some organization or former member" criticizes these practices and has claimed "whatever they have claimed". [source directly to criticism]. However, supporters like John Allen, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, state that Opus Dei's relative silence stems not from a secretive nature, but rather is the result of a deep commitment to privacy, humility, and "avoidance of self-aggrandizement".[104]
Attributed directly like that, we leave it up to the readers to decide who is credible and don't indicate bias one way or the other. Another thing I'm wondering is if current criticism and the cult claims are held by a minority of rather biased individuals, are we giving it too much weight by pulling it out in its own section? Could it be handled in a less wordy fashion if the claims hold little weight for the majority? Anyways, it was just a couple of thoughts I had reading the article; if I'm just rehashing old discussion that's already reached consensus, just let me know :) Shell babelfish 22:16, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Regarding cites-- it's an interesting case for those criticisms where the critics cite facts which are indisputedto draw conclusions which are hotly debated. Take the 1950 contitution for example-- it's undisputed that the 1950 constitution did say that (and we cite Time to show that it is a fact). But we still have to also show that critics make mention of that fact in making their criticism. Maybe we should add a second ref in these case-- a direct cites from critics mentioning each specific criticism-- sometimes we've taken that approach. We want to cite Time to show the fact, but a critic to show that critics make the argument using that fact. If we don't add a second direct cite from the critics, the sentence might appear to be original research. If we do provide a cite from a critic, it might look like we're citing a partisan source to prove the fact, when we're not. In practice, we've been trying to cite reliable sources which simultaneously mention both the fact AND that critics make use of it-- like the Time article for example, which discusses the 1950 consitution within the context of the criticisms. --Alecmconroy 06:42, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Image of Pope John Paul II circa 1982

If anyone knows of a good, high quality, portrait-like image of this sort which is under a free license / public domain, we could use it here. Something like this. The image we're using now works, but since we talk about JPII in the context of his making OD a personal prelature, an image from that era would probably be best. Wikimedia commons has some, but nothing of good quality. Obviously, tons we could snag under fair use, but I think that would probably be stretching it a bit and we wouldn't get to FAC that way. --Alecmconroy 17:13, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Bibliography & Links

Absolutely nothing was gained by cutting ("cleaning up") these links. I put them back. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Louisar (talkcontribs) 17:30, 5 December 2006 (UTC).

Lousiar, I see this is one of your first edits-- welcome to Wikipedia! In answer to your concern, extended bibliographies, web directories, and link repositories of this sort are inappropriate in Wikipedia articles, particularly Featured Articles, which is what we're shooting for. See Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information and Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links, images, or media files. We did used to have such a bibliography, but it was deleted by an admin several months ago. As I've said above, if you could persuade the admin in question to undelete it, then I myself wouldn't have any objection to having the Opus Dei: Bibliography page. In the meantime, I've done the next best thing and moved the information to Talk:Opus Dei/Bibliography so that we editors can at least have access to it if needed.
In reaction to your criticism that "Too much references look pedantic", I can only point you to our policies on Verifiabilty and Citing sources. Extended footnotes of these sorts are not only preferred, but indeed, required of articles that strive for "Featured Article" quality. Such extensive citation is important so that researchers may "double-check" our work before including it in their own works. --Alecmconroy 11:07, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
As I understand the situation, the bibliography page was deleted because it was only that. The admin (ta bu) says " I redirected that article because Wikipedia is not a place to store biographies. We create encyclopedia articles, with bibliographies on the end." So the bibliography must return to the article. Better a biblio than none,for sure. WE MAY CONCLUDE THAT THE BIBLIOGRAPHY + LINKS SECTION HAVE BEEN VANDALISEDLouisar 20:30, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

John Allen in Intro

Dear Alec, I respectfully disagree with your description of Allen's work in terms of Peacock Term. You might want to study Wikipedia:Peacock_term to understand how it refers to:

   * "an important..."
   * "one of the most important..."
   * "one of the best..."
   * "the most influential..."
   * "a significant..."
   * "intriguingly"
   * "indisputable"
   * "iconic"
   * "canonical"
   * "classic"
   * "well known"
   * "eminent"
   * "talented"
   * "legendary"

With all due respect to your effort, I believe the phrase "By contast, CNN's Vatican analyst, John Allen Jr (2005) states that these accusations are mere myths" is entirely referenceable, accurate, NPOV: cite the best sources. I do not see any well-reasoned basis for omitting this crucial datum. Thank you, sir. Marax 06:59, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, the real answer comes down to Wikipedia is not a soapbox. Intentionally trying to bias the article towards any conclusions is unacceptable. For me, the indicator of that is the percentage of a user's edits which promote (or detract) OD. When that percentage starts to approach 100%, I start to have difficulty treating pro- or con- additions as a true attempt to create a neutral article. When that happens, I hope I never ever even come close to incivility, but I do tend toward becoming curt.
But, let me assume good faith for just a moment, and say, for the sake of argument, you genuinely don't understand the problems cuased by a specific mention of John Allen in the lede causes, here's why: We already include several sentences talking about the support OD has. Mentioning him, by name, gives him undue weight-- we already mention him in the form of the supporters. We don't need this level of detail in the lede, we mention allen's opinions later in the article. Describing him as "CNN analyst", even if true, would be a peacock term-- making ad hominem arguments instead of arguing the facts. Additionally, calling him a CNN analyst in this context misrepresents the situation, because Allen was not reporting for CNN when he made his comments about Opus Dei. Or to use the legalese:
 The opinions expressed by John L. Allen in his book "Opus Dei: An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the 
 Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church" do not necessary reflect the views of the Cable News Network (CNN) or
 of its parent company Time Warner.
For clarity, let me stop this comment here, and so that if you disagree, and I'm bettting you will, that you may do so. --Alecmconroy 10:43, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Criticism and 'cult' allegations

Including both in the same section is prejudicial. Not all criticism is 'cult' and including it in the section title implies that particular allegation has some standing beyond other criticism. We wouldn't have a section on the Pope called "Criticism and "anti-Semite' allegations" or Bill Clinton and "Criticism and 'rape' allegations" . It is not an appropriate section heading. Address the critical points in the section but specific callouts to certain allegations is inappropriate. --Tbeatty 07:02, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I heartily subscribe to the reasonable arguments raised by Tbeatty. Other criticism in the section referred to are political and non-religious in nature. Marax 07:18, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
It's certainly a sufficiently valid question, and there are editors I strongly respect on both sides. We can all admit the word is a very provacative one. Now, I would prefer if we not have delete the 'cult allegations' from the title at the moment since it appears there's at least a simple majority that opposes the deletion. But I won't revert-- I probably make too many edits to this thing as is :), so if it should be reverted, I'll let someone else make that call.
As to the actual question: should we mention "'cult' allegations in the heading-- my opinion is we should. Here's why:
  • In general, the cult allegations ARE the criticism. Critics can point to to 20 reasons why OD is cult-like. Some reasons are political, some are about mortification, but they are all pieces of evidence for _1_ criticism: that OD is a "bad" religious organization, i.e. "a cult". I would almost rather we title the section "cult allegations" than entitle it simply "criticism".
  • The allegations are incredibly notable. There is an inordinant amount of discussion about whether opus dei is a cult. Practically every single news story I've read addresses the cult issue. Google finds 200,000+ hits for "opus dei and cult".
  • The cult issue makes up a huge proportion of the criticism-- by far the majority. Way more people mention the cult concerns than mention any other criticisms. I know this because I spent so much of the last bit going through all the articles, but here's a simple measure to demonstrate. Let's take the number of pages mentioning "bill clinton and rape" and divide it by "bill clinton and criticism". The result is 41%-- rape allegations aren't that numerouus compared to criticism in general. Similarly "pope and anti-semiticism" vs "pope and criticism"-- 54%. Allegations of antisemitism are rare when compared with generic criticism. Now let's compare "Opus Dei Cult" and "Opus Dei Criticism. The result is: 184%! Far far far more people use the world "cult" when talking about Opus Dei than when using the word "criticism". So while it might be wrong to pick out "rape" when talking about bill clinton, or "antisemitism" when talking about the pope-- that's because it's arbitrary. Rape nad antisemitism are a tiny fraction of the discourse about those individuals. But for Opus Dei, whether oyu love it, hate it, or are indifferent: the pivotal issue is the cult allegations. That's what the criticism is all about.
  • I don't want to needlessly slander a religious organization either. But if we sanitize notable section titles because we find them offensive or because we disagree with the views expressed, aren't we doing a disservice to the readers by substituting are own judgment about what is offensive or inaccurate, instead of just letting notability make that decision for us?
Anyway, that's my two cents. Take it or leave it. On this one, I'm not worried. There are enough excellent editors who have expressed opinions on both sides that I'll be content with whatever the consensus is, so long as we get enough outside opinions that I have confidence in the process. --Alecmconroy 11:35, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

The cult allegations need to be discussed in the article for all the reasons Alecmconroy has pointed out. For what it's worth, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (headings) is silent on the content of subsection headings, leaving policy (such as WP:NPOV) to determine their content. Here, I don't see an obvious policy problem with including or excluding the "cult" language from the subsection title (Tbeatty's "prejudicial" argument notwithstanding). So we're left with our own editorial judgment. Mine is that I don't think it must be in the section title, given that the "criticism" subheading subsumes the more specific "cult" title. · j e r s y k o talk · 14:46, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

The goal, I believe, is to filter out some of the criticism material, and the rebuttals, into the main sections of the article. Some of this has been done already, and there have been questions as to whether this can be wholly accomplished. I think some material can more easily be moved than others, with perhaps the "cult" allegations being the most difficult to integrate. Thus I think eventually we may end up with a section dedicated merely to cult allegations. In that case it should obviously be in the title. However, right now the section is more generally about criticisms, and because I personally do not like anything but the most laconic titles, I would support simply calling the section "Criticism". Lostcaesar 15:11, 8 December 2006 (UTC)


I do not believe the distinction is very important, so do not object either way. But if I had to make a call, I would go against using "cult" in the section title. It is in some sense redundant, only marginally aiding those who would only read the table of contents to get an overview of the article. I do not believe its inclusion will be as prejudicial as some others might, but cannot deny it might be to a small extent. So long as the connection is made clear in the text, I would go without it. I also have a taste for shorter section titles in general. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 17:46, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I think "cult" should be in the section heading because, as Alec says, it's THE criticism. Not having it in the heading isn't terrible or anything, but it's clearer to have it than not. Clarity is king. Bishonen | talk 17:19, 9 December 2006 (UTC).

I tend to agree with both Alec and Bish, "Cult" represents the major criticism, and excluding the term would seem a bit disingenous. Doc Tropics 17:27, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Cult is not the attack. Try googling Opus Dei and rich: 693,000 hits; Opus Dei and conservative: 244,000. The former article did a better job of distributing criticisms, and up to now no one has been able to contest the body of evidence supporting how it distributed space proportionately. Lafem 03:51, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Reference section

Dear Alec. Sir, regarding your arguments against Louisar regarding bibliography issues, I respectfully refer you to these official guidelines: Wikipedia:Citing sources, Maintaining a separate "References" section in addition to "Notes".

It is helpful when non-citation footnotes are used that a "References" section also be maintained, in which the sources that were used are listed in alphabetical order. With articles that have lots of footnotes, it can become hard to see after a while exactly which sources have been used, particularly when the footnotes also contain explanatory text. A References section, which contains only citations, helps readers to see at a glance the quality of the references used.

Best wishes. Marax 07:04, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

We don't use non-citation footnotes. If we only listed (del Portillo, 1996, p.23) then I could see why we'd need such a section but we're going for FAC, so we took the time to put the citations in the footnotes. --Alecmconroy 11:49, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Photos of lay people

May I propose a photo of lay people? In principle, there should be more photos of lay people than of priests. Opus Dei is a lay organization. Alec in truth put it well: only a small minority of Opus Dei's approximately 85,000 members are priests. Marax 08:18, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

How about this one, looks good to me:
Lostcaesar 08:35, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
If bish et al think that image is better, I can live with it. I think the prayer card image is best myself, but if people think it's for the best, I could live with the "get together with men" image. I would have strong objections to some of the more propagandistic images-- Escriva surrounded by adoring crowds with his arm raised, or the vacation snapshots of non-notable OD members. --Alecmconroy 11:57, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Is it possible to find some other pic of lay people? The "get together with men" surely looks like adoration, even though presumably it doesn't represent that. But just visually. From the composition plus from the expressions on the nearest of the faces gazing up at Escrivá. Meanwhile, er, what/where is the prayer card image? Bishonen | talk 17:50, 9 December 2006 (UTC).

Mistake about jurisdiction of OD

After Alec corrected a mistake he had added in his new version (the old one was ok on that score), saying “members fall under the direct jurisdiction of the Prelate of Opus Dei, rather than that of their local dioceses.”, I said that is was necessary to specify more precisely the nature of personal prelature: the "not territorial" (negative) aspect is not enough, because it implies that a prelature is a super diocese taking the place of a local diocese. Canon law says it's not the case. Alec now asks:

The reference to "specific spiritual mission"-- I don't know what that means in practice. Obviously, I know what Opus Dei's mission is, and I appreciate that Opus Dei's jurisdiction only extends to doing that mission-- it doesn't, for example, its jurisdiction doesn't cover running a for-profit lemonade stand, for example. I think this is obvious, but perhaps you're making a specific point I don't understand. In straightforward english, what exactly is it your trying to say with the "specific spiritual mission" statement? That OD doesn't conflict with diocese? that OD doesn't do things unrelated to spirituality? That OD is good, or that it has the sanction of the Holy See? If you tell me what point you want to make that you feel isn't being made in the article, maybe we can figure out a way to make it in ways that are verifiable, NPOV, and in encyclopedic tone. --Alecmconroy 11:13, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Everything i say on that is perfectly verifiable, because i refer to the statutes. The point is that the mission of OD, or of a personal prelature, is not the same as that of a diocese, and this is the main point, more important that the territorial aspect. It is BECAUSE of the specific mission that it is not territorial. So If you talk only about territory, you put what is second before what is first. The relevant canons are (Code of canon law):


Can. 294 Personal prelatures may be established by the Apostolic See after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned. They are composed of deacons and priests of the secular clergy. Their purpose is to promote an appropriate distribution of priests, or to carry out special pastoral or missionary enterprises in different regions or for different social groups.

Can. 295 §1 A personal prelature is governed by statutes laid down by the Apostolic See. It is presided over by a Prelate as its proper Ordinary. He has the right to establish a national or an international seminary, and to incardinate students and promote them to orders with the title of service of the prelature.

§2 The Prelate must provide both for the spiritual formation of those who are ordained with this title, and for their becoming support.

Can. 296 Lay people can dedicate themselves to the apostolic work of a personal prelature by way of agreements made with the prelature. The manner of this organic cooperation and the principal obligations and rights associated with it, are to be duly defined in the statutes.

Can. 297 The statutes are likewise to define the relationships of the prelature with the local Ordinaries in whose particular Churches the prelature, with the prior consent of the diocesan Bishop, exercises or wishes to exercise its pastoral or missionary activity.

We see that the non-territorial aspect (your "rather than") is not even mentioned; the special enterprises is what is really what a personal prelature is all about. So we must mention the mission BEFORE the territory, as it is BECAUSE of the mission that there is non territorial (or a non-diocesan bishop jurisdiction - and a partial one). Another example about the canonical meaning of "personal": In a U.S. diocese, you have some personal parishes, in the sense that one parish covers the whole diocese, but for Polish people: here the parish is personal rather than territorial , but in the language-cultural sense. Some parishes are tridentine, because they use the gregorian mass, so the difference is liturgical-spiritual. So the non-territorial aspect must be partial, because it is a nonsense for a catholic to be totally independant from his diocesan bishop, in the case of a personal prelature. So the point is not only that there is no conflict of jurisdiction with a diocese (this point is not the point anyway, because there is some sharing, probably); the important point, apart from simple truth and accuracy (mission before territory) , is that the jurisdiction doesn't take the whole place of the diocese (you must marry in a diocesan church etc.); the member is really not under the jurisdiction of the prelate RATHER THAN under that of his bishop.

There is another point: since I honestly think I'm more competent than you about those things, perhaps it would be better that I always ask you the reasons of all your editing, instead of you always asking me. Again, youre not the boss. Plus there were imperfections in the old version, but no clear mistakes that competent catholic canonists would see. Your new version added a clear mistake and now you fight for something that is less precise, if not ambiguous, over something that is more precise. It's tiring a little bit. The details I was adding should have been given the benefit of the doubt. Yours Louisar 17:29, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I have reverted, I'm afraid (before Louisar's post appeared above, which took a good while), obviously not on the principle that *I*'m the boss, but because of the importance of the lead section being clear and accessible to non-specialists. To exactly people who are not "competent catholic canonists," or even catholics. Please see Wikipedia:Lead section: "It is even more important here than for the rest of the article that the text be accessible, and consideration should be given to creating interest in reading the whole article... In general, specialized terminology should be avoided in an introduction." Compare the post immediately below. Bishonen | talk 17:45, 9 December 2006 (UTC).
Yes, please do note the post below; this makes it fairly obvious that there is a need to use clearer language, especially in the intro. An important factor to consider is that a "hypothetical average reader" is probably not Catholic, or familiar with specialized Catholic nomenclature. Remember that we should be writing this in a manner that is accesible to those hypothetical readers. On an unrelated and rather minor point: whenever I see a statement to the effect that "I'm more competent than you", I immediately translate that into "I have a stronger POV than you". All editors, and even admins, are assumed to be on an equal footing and self-declared professions of expertise carry little weight with the community-at-large. Doc Tropics 18:00, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, accuracy, POV, and "bullying" aside-- even the wording of the phrases like "jurisdiction covers the specific spiritual mission" isinappropriate. If we want to add a specific discussion of the jursidictional issues of cannon law as it applies to OD, we could take a stab at it in the membership page, but even then we'd need to reword in into lay language. I mean, what does "its jurisdiction covers only the specific spiritual goals of the institution" even mean exactly?
As I mentioned, there are jurisdictional questions I'd like to cover in the membership article, such as: I'm a numerary. What is the probability that I generally celebrate mass within an OD-run center/at an OD-run church? What is the probability that my spiritual director is also a member of OD? What is the probability that my confessor is a member of OD? Everything I've heard has suggested that the answer is "nearly 100%", but if you can point me to sources (particularly journalistic ones) that clarify these points, I would be grateful. So, it's not that we can't discuss such jurisdictional issues, but we need to do it in an out of the way place (not the intro, probably not the main page), and we need to do it in lay, neutral, accessable terminology that anyone can understand. --Alecmconroy 18:33, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, my explanations above are technical because i have to explain why the "rather than" is a mistake. The Intro is not technical at all: "specific goals " is much less technical than "diocese". Perhaps there is a better way to correct the rather than. But now it seems that you want technical explanations in an Intro by explaning what is meant by specific goals. But Intro is not the place for that. I was not the one who wrote about jurisdiction first , you were. So another solution (in my opinion worse and ridiculous) would be to erase all "jurisdiction" talk in an intro. Say Just it is a personal prelature. But then this is technical! In my opinion, prelature implies jurisdiction and jurisdiction implies specific mission, and mission implies territorial issues. I don't care at all about what must be or not in an intro. But a mistake must not be there or in another place either. So in the end we may erase prelature from the intro. I cannot believe that you would think that prelature is less technical than specific goals.

Of course, if youre a member, your spiritual director is OD: it's the main part of the specific mission!! It's good to study these things, but it's not at all my point about "rather than"; the quote of the canon law and ut sit and the rules by the congregation of bishops are clear proofs that the "rather than" is not true according to law. If statutes are saying "for specific goals" (spiritual direction, ascetism etc.), it's obvious that some other things are under the diocesan bishop, as the documents I cite are explicitly saying. It is this obviousness that is causing my impatience, not my better knowledge of Canon law. Louisar 19:20, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Possible path: the very accurate article on personal prelatures to which your version is referring says: "In the case of Opus Dei, the prelate is elected by members of the prelature and confirmed by the Pope, the laity and clergy of the prelature are still under the governance of the particular church where they live..."

Particular church is a diocese. All we have to do is to find a way to give coherence between this reference and the "rather than" figuring in the same sentence of the Opus article. Suggestions, Alec? Louisar 21:44, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Louisar on the lead section: from my talkpage

Go to the Alec page. Youll see why your formulation is a mistake. And go to the OD discussion page. Your "rather than " is totally innaccurate, it adds a mistake in an encyclopedia! May I add that the version you go back to is worse than that of Alecmconroy improved one: he had changed his old one and you put it back! Louisar 17:59, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

A practical tip: if you compose the explanation for the talkpage before you revert the article, you won't have to get stressed by writing it, and people won't have to wait an hour for it after seeing the revert. I'm certainly no expert on catholic theology. However, I note with regret that you don't address my point about accessibility. It's a pity that you insist on an incomprehensible lead section in an encyclopedia. Did you click on the Wikipedia lead section policy, WP:LEAD, that I linked to? Did you read the post from the reader (User:SMcCandlish) who is bemused and mystified by the article? Do you realize that you keep putting back a rather noticable grammar error ("its jurisdiction, which concern"), along with a focus on points of doctrine that have no business in a lead section? Bishonen | talk 19:01, 9 December 2006 (UTC).

Youre very likely to be right about the grammar issue. Maybe you can correct it. Thanks for the technical advice about talk/article. As I say above, I'm not the one who is talking about "prelature", a notion inaccessible to ordinary people, even catholics. I just say that if you talk about it, it should be without mistake. I have no problem (i dont't care, really) about avoiding the topic in an intro. Louisar 19:38, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Clarification about jurisdiction

Things got sorta complicated there for a moment, I should specify. There were two separate related issues that got convoluted. One is whether it's justified to say "OD members are under the jurisidction of OD rather than a diocese" or not. After finding a relevant portion of cannon law, I can see that the "rather than" is technically inaccurate, legally speaking. As such, I reworded the sentence to remove the rather than. This wording I liked, therefore, was:

Opus Dei's jurisdiction covers the persons in Opus Dei wherever they are, rather than being defined by a specific geographic region like a diocese.

This wording seemed to be a very neutral one-- circumventing the whole debate over the extent to which jurisdictions are shared, and instead explains personal prelature exactly the same way the way numerous journalistic sources do. [5][6]

A whole second issue, however, sprung up when Louisar added extensive language describing the jurisdiction as "concerning the specific spiritual goals of the institution according to its statutes". I do object to this wording. Certainly, it is sourced in the relevant canon law, it's vague, imprecise, and far more detail than we need in the introduction. Our readers cannot possible understand what this phrase means-- i myself do not understand it really. It's a level of precision we do not need-- we're having an essay on jurisdictional according to cannon law in the middle of the lead. The current wording, as of this posting, is similar.

I think the solution is to use the above definition in the lead, and then to have a section in the membership article and possible in the main artilce that talks about the "practical" implications of jurisdictions, as experienced by the "OD member on the street". Things like: if I'm an OD member, in practice, is it likely that my spiritual advisor also OD? my church? my confessor? etc." Sadly, I haven't been able to find good sources on these so far, but i'll look.

One the to remember in these jurisdictional debates is that we're having this debate because one of the contested points is how much jursidiction control local bishops have, in practice, over OD members. Critics say that the answer is "practically none", while OD insists that its "members are no different than any other catholics". So, we should keep an eye towards not deciding the issue for either side. I'm now convinced the term "rather than" Lousiar initially objected to did, in essence, decided the issue in favor of the critics. In addition to its other problems, I'm similarly convinced that the current wording, lifted nearly verbatim from OD's pages, decides the issue in favor of OD. --Alecmconroy 00:04, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Alec has perfectly understood my main point. I apologize for the war; i didn't know the rules. I hope there will be no bad consequences for Alec.

1) I don't want to waste space, but I would like to show how the misunderstanding occured: A sentence like: "The jurisdiction of OD is a direct one rather than a territorial one" is true. But the sentence: Joe is under the direct jurisdiction of OD rather than under a territorial one" is different. The first sentence involves a type-type comparison, and the distinction/opposition is strict. But in the 2nd sentence, Joe is not a type, he is an individual. When you put Joe as subject, there is a kind of distributive effect between Joe and "rather than", meaning "and he is not under A territorial one". Now watch the "A" : in a negative sentence, this A means usually ANY (Im not a cat=Im not any cat, as oppose to "the cat", and cat has a universal extension, its reference is the whole set of cats) . So the main meaning would be that Joe is not under any territorial jurisdiction, and that's the mistake. I know that we may understand the A as meaning "this one" (the direct jurisdiction), but this is not the main nor the usual meaning in that context.

2) Alec is right in saying that the issue is decided in favor of OD, but only in the legal sense. What happen in fact may be different. Jurisdiction is not a concrete fact. In the legal sense also, if the other wording favored the critics, that means the critics were wrong (btw I doubt the critics were talking about the legal sense).

3) The new wording remove the mistake because now "jurisdiction" is the subject of the sentence, not Joe (members).

4) Alec is right: my adding of a phrase about specific goals concerns a slightly different issue, less clear. Perhaps The wording was not good but I didn't want to change the Alec version too much, so I thought that I should only add something. The new inexactitude or imprecision was that with the new version, nothing was said about the diocesan jurisdiction, so it was (only) PERMITTED to think that is was LEGALLY nil, especially because of the infamous "rather than". No incoherence, but an incomplete idea. I thought I was solving it by talking about limited jurisdiction, specific jurisdiction of OD, and that that was an innocent move for an intro. And that the specific stuff was more accurate for "personal prelature", because its concept is more fundamental than the non-territoriality issue. Maybe it was not a good idea. I would be completely satisfied if we could understand that the territorial jurisdiction of the bishop remains, "in part" or "shared" or whatever, according to law, assuming we limit ourselves to territoriality talks about the definition of "personal". I would like to have a reply from Alec about this point.

Final word: the old version was perfect about the Prelature issue. Alec took his improved formulation there, it seems. Louisar 17:30, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

As I've said, the way to go here is to not embark on an extended canon law discussion on the mainpage. If we're briefly conveying the gist of a personal prelature without actually being literally incorrect, that should suffice for the main page. The ideal solution would be to talk on the membership page about what the jurisdictional issues mean, in practice, for a typical numerary in OD. The "Is my church/priest/confessor/spiritual director also OD?" question I keep asking. As for the the debate about how much supervision is "shared", in practice, between OD and diocese-- that's a debate that we should summarize in the controversy article. --Alecmconroy 02:16, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree, except that you talk about "in practice" only. "In principle" is also important , and more so, because it defines an institution. That's why you don't talk about practice in the intro, you talk about "prelature" and try to define it. To define an institution is to talk about principles first. So why dismiss full accuracy, achievable perhaps by a same number of words? What about using elements in Turelio's idea: "Therefore members of Opus Dei — as all other Catholics in a diocese — fall under the jurisdiction of the local bishop,[7] and additionally under the jurisdiction of the Prelate of Opus Dei in what refers to the specific obligations of members." This is very accurate. You can change the words, but it is exactly what the official documents are saying (Law, pope, Congregation for Bishop). It's as brief, clear, not extended and more correct than "Opus Dei's jurisdiction covers the persons in Opus Dei wherever they are, rather than being defined by a specific geographic region like a diocese". It is true however that there is a different emphasis. I suggest an amalgamation of the 2, using the "addition" concept: "It's jurisdiction, rather than being defined by a specific geographic region like a diocese, covers the persons in Opus Dei, irrespective of the diocese they belong to" ; or perhaps "wherever the diocese they belong to may be situated". You may correct "irrespective" if it's not good english. It's exatly 4-6 words longer. You may change them, only the idea matters. Better idea? Louisar 17:58, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

The problem with the other wordings is that they're not universally agreed to be true (outside of specific limited domain of cannon law of course). Supporters say jurisdiction is shared completely. Critics say that bishops have practically no oversight whatsoever. So, you have to have a full discussion that mentions both viewpoints. (another trivial problem with the old wording is that even under cannon law, not all members of OD belong to diocese-- only laity. The prelature priests aren't diocesean for example, right?).
You may be onto something about not even getting into the whole prelature can of worms in the intro. When I'm done with the subarticles, I have something in mind there that might address your and SMcCandlish's suggestions. --Alecmconroy 23:37, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

1)About the 2nd issue: Youre right but only in part. That must be the explanation why priests are members of The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross rather than OD simply. Jurisdiction and incardination overlap but are not exactly the same thing. OD priests are not incardinated, "registered" if you like, in a diocese; but as long as they are on the territory of the bishop they cannot do whatever they want in matters that concerns the bishop (that are not specific to OD); if a bishop doesn't want Fr. Kiki of OD in his diocese, he can ban him (OD will however have a recourse to the boss of all bishops, including OD prelate: the Congregation (department if you like) of bishops). It's not that different - even if it is, partly - than the situation for religious orders: a Jesuit refers to his superior for a lot of things and to his local bishop for other, more territorial matters; they call this situation "exemption". A bishop can ban OD from coming in his diocese. So there is some jusrisdiction left even without incardination. An OD priest may be said to "belong to" a diocese from a territory point of view. And anyway we may add "wherever the diocese the lay people belong to may be situated"

2) I know the 1st point is the main one for you. But there is a misundertanding and an inconsistency. You cannot say: "outside the specific domain of canon law" and then say "supporters say the jusrisdiction is shared completely". Because "jurisdiction" is exactly what cannon law is all about, the very specifics. All my point is stressing is that the bishop jurisdiction is not nil, and that's obviously true. Your real concern - and the disputed issue - is about something else: influence, degree of global control, amount and proportions of influence sharing if you like. But you can be under the influence of a friend priest without him having any jurisdiction over you. Lay people see their bishop perhaps once in every 2 yrs; his main influence over them is that he choose their parish priest, and this one has more influence with less jurisdiction. The other distinction to be made is about numeraries and supernum. A married supernum. is like any other faithful of his territorial parish: going to the same church on sunday - in fact, more often - , same diocesan priest, etc. The only difference is that he's doing more: he sees his OD spiritual director once a week of 2 for 15-30 min (I guess) and follow the plan of life: readings, prayers, meditations. And he has taken an engagement (contract) to do this. As for numeraries, nearly everything takes place in OD center, so the influence of the bishop is much less, but nevertheless the jurisdiction remains untouched; e.g. there is no way OD can have a chapel in its center without the bishop permission. We don't see this much because it can be seen only in exceptional or conflictual circumstaces I could illustrate by rather farfetched examples (priest accused of a crime, numerary punching a parish priest...). Anyway, the bishop influence over ordinary faithfull is not great either, it's rather invisible. We can settle the jurisdiction issue, whereas about influence we would talk about it our whole lives: youre right, another page would be necessary. I think now it is not unreasonable to add "wherever the diocese they belong to is situated"

Last point: One must be careful about NPOV. Stalin thought that truth itself was a POV, e.g. about the Gulag; there is a certain sense of truth not being neutral. Louisar 20:26, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Louisar, this last posting was very helpful for me. I think I understand things a little better. One of the problems we have on Wikipedia is that-- the further you are from a subject, any subject, the easier it is to follow NPOV and verifiability and encyclopedic tone. But the closer you are to a subject, any subject, the more you know about it and understand it. The solutions are dialogues like this one where you can point to me subtle errors in the text and help me to understand where I've gone wrong in my thinking.
Based on Bish and SMC's comments and having read over the article, I think the ultimate answer is to refer these complex jurisdictional issues to a subarticle, because we're introducing an issue in the introduction that is more complex than we have space to discuss in the main article, and it involved intricacies of cannon law that we don't need to get into in the main article. The whole structure of what a personal prelature is quite technical-- understanding it requires understanding the whole flavor and motivation of Vaticann II, consulting canon law, and knowing terms like prelatures, prelates, bishops, etc. Our target audience in the main OD article may not even know what a diocese is. Rather than trying to encapsulate these intricacies in one single sentence in the intro, let's make a section about jurisdictional issues inside the subarticle and spend a few sentences talking about it. (I've made such section here for the time being, if you'd like to help out with it).
Based on what you've said above and what I've read elsewhere, here's the impression I get, here's what I understand the situation as described by Opus Dei to be. Let me parrot it back to you in my own words so you can correct me if I'm gone astray in my understanding what you're telling me OD's position is:
  • For the supernumeraries, things are very shared. They probably attend Mass in typical parish churches and are engaged in typical lay catholic activitieas, although they will probably receive the sacrament of reconciliation from an OD priest who is more acquanted with OD side of things. Supernumeraries will attend special OD classes and activities (retreats, formation, etc). They will have a spiritual advisor who is an OD priest.
  • For the numeraries, things are somewhat shared, but OD takes an even larger role in guiding their lives. They remain "lay faithful" under the techincal jurisdiction of the diocese, and do still see themselves "ordinary catholics", just ones with a special vocation. They will live in OD centers, typically attend mass in OD chapels located within the center, and will be under the supervision of the OD in ways which are vaguely analogous (but certainly not identical) to monks/nuns in religious orders. For example, while they retain the personal freedom to go and do what they like, in practice would, if they wanted to move to a different place, they would request re-assignments from their superiors/advisors within OD. They obey the laws set down by the bishops for the lay faithful, their centers may be inspected by bioshops, and they must receive permission from the bishop to erect centers located within the diocese.
  • With Diocesan priests who are members of the priestly society, jurisdiction is not technically shared-- they are under the direct jurisdiction of the Bishops, but they may join the Priestly Society, where they become not technical members of Opus Dei, but inherently linked to an OD society.
  • Priests of the OD prelature similarly are entirely under the direct jurisdiction of the Prelate, but they are expected to maintain good working relationships with their diocesean counterparts and work in harmony with the bishop.
  • So, the relationship OD members have with the dioceses is a techincal and sort of grayed area, ranging from "almost completely shared or 'both'" in the case of supernumeraries to "entirely under the technicaly jurisdiction of OD, but completely in harmony with dioceses" in the case of the OD prelature priests.
So, we have two quesstions. The first question is-- is all this basically correct? Is everyhing I've said about OD's point of view about the relationship between their members and the dioceses. The second question, which is essential: is there any published web-accessable source that says all these things. I haven't found one so far-- I've gotten bits and pieces of it from all the things I've learned about OD and all the members I've talked to, but I think it would be original research for me to just say it all in ordinary english. Bits and pieces can be substantiated, to be sure, but one comprehensive source talking about the supernumeraries in particular would be essential. It all seems to flow logically from Cannon Law and the OD statutes, constitution, and philosophy-- but I can't just write an original essay on my interpretation about what I think all those things mean in practice, after having researched the relevant law and interviewed a few members. Well, I could, but I don't think it would be very good according to Wikipedia standards.
In any case, I think we all agree that since not all OD member are laity, not all OD members belong to a diocese. For the moment, I'll pull back to middle version which had no technical errors in it-- not the "rather than under the jurisdiction of diocese" error nor the "all members, whichever diocese they belong to" error. Let's write a jurisdiction section-- if you can help me to understand the situation as OD sees it and/or help me dig up web-accessable journalistic summaries, that would be excellent. Once that's done, I'll see if I can't get the whole personal prelature can of worms out of the intro as you and the outside observers have suggested. --Alecmconroy 23:00, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

The disappearance of the rather than is a progress, but now prelature – in the intro - is not distinguished in any way from Religious orders (Jesuits etc) , something OD insists on again and again. So we are back to where we began: specific mission, lay people. Again, the old version of the article was near-perfect on that, much better: “this prelature now coexists with episcopal dioceses as an official part of the Church's institutional structures……Unlike dioceses which cover territories, personal prelatures —like military ordinariates— take charge of persons as regards some objectives regardless of where they live”. This persons-territory distinction smacks very canonical, although Im not expert. Lay Persons and objectives can be included in intro, eg "persons, including lay ones etc."

About your 5 points: Numeraries certainly not “go and do what they like”, unless in the sense that they break the contract and quit. “Technical jurisdiction” is not a very good choice of words. Better to talk about jurisdiction vs influence. I think, in the end, since the numerary has a contract to live in centers etc., we may say that OD jurisdiction has more extension on him. But Im sure this is not at the expense of diocesan jusridiction (=not influence); supernumeraries and numeraries have exactly the same relationship to diocese jurisdiction. Things are more subtle about OD priests but analoguous: they are incardinated (aggregated says also the law) with the prelate exactly as diocesan priests are with their bishops and religious with their superior. But incardination is just one type of jurisdiction. There are other types, and OD priests in a diocese are also under the territorial jurisdiction of the bishop. These problems has been studied for centuries about Religious orders, or about priests who are in the territory of a diocese that is not their own. EG:

Can. 271 §3. For a just cause the diocesan bishop can recall a cleric who has moved legitimately to another particular church while remaining incardinated in his own church provided that the agreements entered into with the other bishop and natural equity are observed; the diocesan bishop of the other particular church, after having observed these same conditions and for a just cause, likewise can deny the same cleric permission for further residence in his territory.

So a bishop has some territorial jurisdiction even over a priest that is not incardinated with him. A fortiori over an OD priest in his diocese. T.J. Green, Code of canon law, text & commentary: "the local ordinary (bishop) and the prelate (...) exercice a cumulative power of government".

About religious:

Can. 678 §1. Religious are subject to the power of bishops whom they are bound to follow with devoted submission and reverence in those matters which regard the care of souls, the public exercise of divine worship, and other works of the apostolate.

§2. In exercising an external apostolate, religious are also subject to their proper superiors and must remain faithful to the discipline of the institute. The bishops themselves are not to fail to urge this obligation if the case warrants it.

§3. In organizing the works of the apostolate of religious, diocesan bishops and religious superiors must proceed through mutual consultation.

Can. 679 When a most grave cause demands it, a diocesan bishop can prohibit a member of a religious institute from residing in the diocese if his or her major superior, after having been informed, has neglected to make provision; moreover, the matter is to be referred immediately to the Holy See.

Conclusion: even a religious incardinated with his superior remains under territorial jurisdiction of the bishop. De paolis, in Exegetical comm.. on the code of canon law, p. 1816 , says “the exercise of the apostolate as such is subject to the power of the diocesan bishop, and not the manner of the apostolate, which ought to conform to the character and nature of the religious institute”. We can , by analogy, say that the Prelate gives orders about what is done and by whom; the bishop says what can and cannot be done in the territory. That being said, it’s true that an OD priest doesn’t “belong to” in the same way as a lay person: he belongs twice, like the lay people, but not in the sense of a double incardination. “Belong” becomes ambiguous: yes for territory, no for incardination. As for lay people, it’s yes for territory, yes for OD specific goals. The best source on the net remains OD site. Disputed issues about influence can be found in the books about controversies. Louisar 20:27, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, what I take away from this is that the full details of the jurisdictional question are very complex and well beyond the scope of the article. We're delving into technicalities of cannon law that even most members of Opus Dei wouldn't know. Better just to focus on the practicalities-- the "influence" rather than the "jurisdiction" to use your terminology. If you think the bullet points I made above are basically a correct summary of how things go in practice, I'll try to write it up and put it in the membership article. Your point about "influence" rather than "jurisdiction" is fine-- since the "jurisdiction" term may refer to a specific legal aspect, I'm comfortable with the idea of speaking more in terms of "relationships" and "influence" instead. I'll continue to hunt for journalistic sources on this issue also. --[User:Alecmconroy|Alecmconroy]] 22:42, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

It's exactly the reverse: jurisdiction is easier and less difficult to talk about because we have all the texts. Influence is a matter of facts and their interpretation, much less clear, and referring to reports of people more difficult to assess. Principle and definitions first, events second. Now, without the jurisdiction talk, the reader will never know what is a personal prelature. This is absurd for this article; ridiculous to say: we wnot define a prelature because people wont understand anyway. This is not a way to proceed. A clear regression compared to old version - on that topic. Rather we must put the stuff and explain and refer to other articles. Louisar 18:01, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Reader vs. editor comment: Reorganize & get to the crucial (no pun intended) points faster

I get to this article as a reader looking for info for once, instead of as an editor — I use wikipedia as well as futz with it — and I'm struck immediately by how much it delves into esoterica like History and Doctrine, and I'm already yawning, because I still don't have a clear idea what O.D. is, in plain non-R.C. language (all this talk of prelates and dioceses is just Greek to me; actually I think at least half of that is Greek, literally...), or what its purpose/goals are. It does appear to be balanced and well-cited, but... eh. I gave up about 1/10 through it. The only things I walked away with were that OD is more recently-founded than I thought, its founder was canonized, it has some kind of inexplicable-to-non-Catholics-without-lots-of-research status due to a Pope saying so, and it is controversial for reasons that weren't made clear up front and are still a total mystery to me (other than vague notions of insularity) after a solid 3 minutes of reading. It's taken me only about that long to even type all this. Summarize and de-Catholispeak it a little, perhaps? :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 17:34, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Well,it's the same thing about the Talmud for me. It is not easy to understand outside a context. You must read about Catholicism and Christianity. no way out.Louisar 18:04, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
This is a comment we need to take seriously. It's not enough to say "If you aren't well-versed in Catholicism, you're out of luck if you want to understand the article". One thing we need to do is try to avoid techincal Catholic jargon whenever possible. I'll think on what else we might could do. --Alecmconroy 01:32, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
True, but there's a limit. As you say, "wherever possible". An article cannot define everything, it must refer to other articles, like any encyclopedia. Louisar 18:03, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


Stop reverting, people. Louisar and Alec are both close to breaking the three-revert rule, which is a blocking matter. Bishonen | talk 19:55, 9 December 2006 (UTC).

Thanks bish. I made some improvements (?) on my own reverts. I will now talk on the disc. page with alec. Louisar 20:05, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Cutting catholicspeak

I have removed the sentence " Supporters suggest that he may have been motivated by a concern that Opus Dei would take away vocations" in the "History" section, for several reasons:

  1. To immediately follow criticism with an undercutting of that criticism, an implication that it was made for irrelevant motives, is POV. See WP:NPOV on "refuting opposing views as one goes along".
  2. There is nothing in the given source which supports the statement.
  3. The sentence is hard to understand. I think I know (just about) what a vocation is; but people who don't get no local information about it here. They're sent on to a long article where you have to look hard to find a relevant definition (not sure I ever did). I don't understand what it means to "take away" vocations, I don't understand why doing it would be a "concern" for anybody, and I'm not offered any explanation. Bishonen | talk 01:51, 11 December 2006 (UTC).

A vocation is what one is called by God to do. It is a spiritual understanding of one's purpose, as opposed to a secular view that would talk about careers and the like. Thus, e.g., being a priest is not a career, but a vocation. I gather the point of the sentence was that the person in question feared that people would enter Opus Dei, a basically lay organization, rather than enter his (or another) religious order. Lostcaesar 18:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, but I was just explaining what was wrong with it as a sentence in an encyclopedia article. See point 2 also, which is reason enough for removal in itself. Bishonen | talk 18:27, 12 December 2006 (UTC).

Exterior image of Rome HQ?

Regarding the debate between the New York Headquarters image or the Rome HQ image-- I can live with either. Rome makes the most logical sense, since the NY is just the US headquarters, and OD isn't even a particularly american institution, avoiding these sorts of Amerio-centricisms is a good thing. The one thing the NY HQ has in its favor is that it's a very easy image to recognize, visually. I look at the OD headquarters image and I have a hard time visually parsing what it is I'm actualy looking at. If anyone has the ability to request permission of a clearer image of the Rome HQ-- an exterior shot, for example, like the one we have of the NY headquarters. Also still looking for a circa 1982 John Paul II image. --Alecmconroy 02:45, 13 December 2006 (UTC)


I changed the following sentence by adding the bold text:

"...and concluded that Opus Dei's founder was neither pro-Franco nor anti-Franco, because any political position goes against the notion of non-secularity: in matters of politics there is great pluralism in Opus Dei, this author declared."

I think this is what the author meant, if I understand it correctly: secularity meaning wordliness, and detachment from politics being an aspect of "flight from the world", i.e. unworldliness (non-secularity). But since this flipped the meaning of the sentence I thought I would ask. Lostcaesar 11:02, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

List of leaders

Had a lot of trouble finding that there was any leader between the first and last . This list may not belong at the begining of "History," but it should be summarized somewhere. Readers need to know that this isn't a one-man organization.Student7 21:58, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I've put the mention of del Portillo and Echevarria into the text. --Alecmconroy 22:59, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
  1. ^ Escriva, The Furrow ch. 15
  2. ^ [7]
  3. ^ [8]
  4. ^ [9]
  5. ^ [10]