Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Opus Dei/archive1

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Opus Dei[edit]

This is partially --very partially-- self nom because there are many others who helped in writing this article. From what I've read in the Talk Page, the article swung from an edit war last year to a stalemate, then a short NPOV issue last April due to some overenthusiastic newbies, and since May, a time of harmony and peace when NPOV rules were quoted, ratios established, and details worked on. It has grown since then. It has been under Peer Review since September 9: Peer Review of Opus Dei article And changes have been made based on the feedback. Please see Talk Page as well, for it contains many explanations on why the article appears as it is. Thomas S. Major 05:53, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Carnildo. My friend, R Davidson, removed all the images with copyright problems (those not uploaded by Walter). I suppose you can already remove your objection? Thomas S. Major 11:07, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Object: In line references should be footnoted. I am too suspicious of the copyright status of many images in the article. In many places the text does not flow, and is hard to follow, eg: "The teachings of Opus Dei, and of other Catholic organizations and saints, on the universal call to holiness and apostolate were made a most central doctrine of the Second Vatican Council" I know what it means (I think) how many non Catholics would? Its all very convoluted and "Catholic" much of the page needs to be rewritten in more readable prose. The enormous reference section! has the author used all of these books? Giano | talk 07:33, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, Giano. I just checked what my friend, R Davidson, did. He corrected that long sentence by taking out the reference to other Catholic orgs and saints. He also made the universal call more understandable. I thank him of course, but I disagree that the phrase universal call to holiness is not understandable. It has a link. I suppose that is the system that is being followed by this encyclopedia. Anyway, thanks, Davidson, for the move to improve the text.
Some other editors placed the books that are in the bibliography. I suppose they read those books before they placed them there. I've read most of them myself.
I also checked out the other feature articles. So far I've seen several which do not have any footnotes. I suppose it is not a must for a featured article to have footnotes. This article has 52 ref links. The one of People's Republic of China, a featured article, has 4. The one of John Major does not have any, and it has quite a number of quotes. :) Thomas S. Major 11:07, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
  • It is not necessary to have footnotes, but the external links contained within the text, should not be there. They should be footnoted and then referenced at the bottom of the page. There is more than just the one corrected sentence what about "This family, of which St. Josemaría was the head and the "first vocation," had to find a legal structure that fits its foundational idea or charism, according to Catholic theology" To a non catholic this is probably meaningless. If a sentence has to be analysed, then it needs to be changed. These sentences occur time and time again in this page. I don't doubt the authors have read the huge reference section, but were they actually used to source this article? Giano | talk 22:29, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree with you that there might be books there that do not belong to the study, e.g. the Hanssen book. I will remove it and look for others that have to be removed. I will also look for texts which are not immediately intelligible.
A far as I know Turabian and other Manuals of Style and of thesis writing do not require that only books used to source the article are placed in the bibliography, if by source you mean actually quoted or referred to in the text.
As regards your statement: "It is not necessary to have footnotes, but the external links contained within the text, should not be there. They should be footnoted and then referenced at the bottom of the page." The statement echoes with some authority, and I respect that. But could I just know if it is a rule in Wikipedia? Where can that be found? Thanks for your help. Thomas S. Major 02:19, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
  • The footnote question has been answered far more eloquently than I could lower down the page by Bishonen. Regarding the reference section. Which books were or were not used to source this article? Why were books included in the references which were not used in the first instance? Giano | talk 11:55, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

I checked out Wikipedia:Cite sources and it answers some of the questions. Please see below my reply to Bishonen. Thanks. :)Thomas S. Major 00:05, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Support: I placed most of the images in the article except the ones mentioned by Carnildo. I did not contribute much in the text. I replaced:
    1. The image Image:EscrivaJ.jpg with another image which has been granted GFDL license from the copyright holder.
IMO the article should be "Catholic". Because it is under the categories of Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic prelatures, Roman Catholic history, Catholic doctrine and Catholic theology and doctrines. The article will be strange if it is not Catholic. Walter Ching 08:58, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
This is not the Catholic Encyclopedia. When we write about the Roman Catholic Church, we do it from a neutral point of view and in a manner that is accessible to all readers.--Eloquence* 02:46, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
Agree with Eloquence. Giano | talk 09:39, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for your comments and I assume good faith. I would like to ask both of you --and the others -- to read the NPOV tutorial rules, so we can understand each other.
"Wikipedia should report all major points of views; however, it should do so in proportion to the credibility of the experts holding the various theses.
One measure of a view's importance is the credibility of the experts who hold that view. What makes an expert credible? Some criteria include:
  • the reputation of the expert, the reputation of the tradition within which he or she works, the reputation of the group or institution for which the expert works
  • whether the expert uses the common methods of the field or completely different ones
  • whether the expert has or has not failed to respond to criticisms
  • whether the expert has reputable supporters of his or her claims
  • whether the expert's point of view belongs in a different article (e.g. evolution vs. creationism)
In other words, an idea's popularity alone does not determine its importance." (Italics mine)
Kindly read the Talk Page of Opus where the editors have discussed (based on Wikipedia method of consensus) who the reputable, credible experts are in this field who use the common methods of the field. If both of you can mention other credible experts on the field, then all of us will listen, and then we can work out a consensus based on the above rules. If we agree that their credible expertise is above the following experts who support each other: John Paul II, Benedict XVI, John Allen, V. Messori, James V. Schall, Bryan R. Wilson, Dr. Kliever, St. Josemaria himself, and the Catholic leaders whose testimonies are found in a separate article, then I suppose we will just have to decide to give them more space than these people, and change the whole tone of this article. R Davidson 14:11, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
May I add to the list of Davidson--Prof. Philip Jenkins, a Protestant Scholar. Thomas S. Major 05:09, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Support: I totally support this article, as I said in the Peer Review. This is perhaps the single best, short, comprehensive and neutral article on the subject that one can find. And so I understand why there are so many references, a copious bibliography worthy of a serious encyclopedia and serious theological science, as I said before. That is why I also understand if the references are in another page, anyway as Thomas Major explained there are 52 reference links throughout the article! I beg to disagree with Giano that the text does not flow, the text is convoluted. I am sorry, but as I said in the Peer Review, this article has a rational framework. It is logical and I like it. Arturo Cruz 14:32, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Minor object on technical grounds. External links should be moved from main body to appopriate section and linked with footnotes with main body. I am also not happy with ALL 'bibliography and external links' being apparently moved to a subarticle - definetly the sources for the article should be present in it. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 16:33, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Piotrus. Yes! I plan to propose that a part of the bibliography at least a basic core appear in the main article. Thanks again! :) Thomas S. Major 02:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Comment I know that this article has taken great pains to avoid the cliched "what is and what is not true about Opus Dei in 'The Da Vinci Code'" route. However, has it gone far? The book is mentioned once in the whole article; even though Opus Dei's portrayal in the book is surely the gravest crisis to have afflicted the group for a long time. Should there be more Da Vinci Code stuff in there? eg A section about the reaction to the book, the group's reaction, the public's, the Vatican's etc? Just a thought. Batmanand 22:37, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
There was a section on it before. But some editors took it away. I copy their exchange below: Thomas S. Major 02:19, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

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

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

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

I agree. That section does not belong here. --Tony Sidaway|Talk 14:13, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Comment. There are three red-links in the introduction to the article. Red-links aren't forbidden in FAs, but I'd prefer to at least not have any in the introductory paragraphs. Pburka 01:38, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
They were not there when I nominated it. Somebody who tried to help, added them. I'll fix that. Thomas S. Major 02:19, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Support: I think the article is comprehensive and neutral enough for someone who does not have any idea about Opus Dei.Bonrussell 02:24, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
    • This is the user's first edit on Wikipedia.--Eloquence* 02:38, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Strongly object. There are very serious issues of NPOV and structure. There are many unhelpful headings like "Opus Dei and the Catholic Church's first purpose" and "Response: Sociology of religion and Christ-centered theology". Sub-articles are not consistently pointed out; e.g., Opus Dei and the Cult Issue: Allegations and Responses (an entirely unacceptable title for a sub-article, by the way) is clearly pointed out under its section header, other sub-articles are mentioned briefly in the flow of the text. The structure makes it very difficult to find specific facts, e.g. Opus Dei's business activities.
The NPOV problems go deeper than that, and will be very difficult to fix. They are fundamentally related to the way the prose is written, both about Opus Dei and its critics. The article very frequently transitions from attributing an opinion to stating it as fact. Just a few quotes: "For example, to push his conclusions, he makes absurd assumptions: priests go to seminary only to improve their lot.""The world is a gift of God, a place where one can --and should!-- become a saint""members use aggressive recruitment methods" — "Thus, mainline scientists reject as 'unscholarly'"
There are two problems with this. It comes across as POV, even if it is intended to be a continuation of a prior attributed opinion, and it blurs the line between what is attributed and what the person or source actually said. In the extreme cases, we find entire paragraphs like this:
Jesus Christ single-mindedly focused his entire life on saving all souls to please his Father. While he loved his mother, he left her in favor of his divine mission. For this, he showered affection on people, but also issued many threats out of love for them: against easy-going and fruitless Christians, against infidelity, etc. While he searched for friends and clearly spoke the truth, he allowed them to freely do whatever they wanted--including rejecting him. He also told his disciples, "As the Father has sent me so do I send you." To glorify God and sanctify men, Christ enjoyed pleasures and pleasantries with them, and he also voluntarily practiced mortification of the flesh: fasting, sleeping on the ground, and allowing himself to be tortured and crucified. He taught that his disciple should “renounce himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.”
This is just one example of the article quietly adopting a POV, rather than presenting it, and utterly unacceptable in terms of NPOV.
Beyond that, there are various smaller NPOV issues both in the main article and the sub-articles. I'm not sure to what extent the sub-articles should be commented on, but the cult article in particular is a mess. Compare, for example, the first and second image caption in this revision. The main article basically traces all modern criticism to early theological criticism, and does not present this stance with a counterpoint. The notion that secular criticism results from the prelature's actual activities cannot be so easily dismissed.
To conclude, the article needs to be restructured, and the writing needs to be substantially edited to make it NPOV. As it concerns an organization that very much operates in real world business and politics, the theological writing needs to be toned down, and the structure must allow easy access to key information about OD's acitvities. The line between fact and opinion should never be blurry; opinions need to be clearly and precisely attributed, and facts need to be backed up with citations.--Eloquence* 02:37, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I'd like to discuss this well with you and I assume good faith in all of your comments. (Please also see my comments above re the issue on the "Catholic" tendency of the article}. I would just like to say that I do not agree with Eloquence's comments:
I believe that this article follows the NPOV policies:
"Writing unbiasedly can be conceived very well as representing disputes, characterizing them, rather than engaging in them. One can think of unbiased writing as the cold, fair, analytical description of debates. Of course, one might well doubt that this can be done at all without somehow subtly implying or insinuating that one position is correct. But experienced academics, polemical writers, and rhetoricians are well-attuned to bias, both their own and others', so that they can usually spot a description of a debate that tends to favor one side. If they so choose, with some creativity, they can usually remove that bias.
Now an important qualification: Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views. We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view. To give such undue weight to the lesser held view may be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties."
These policies say that editors should "represent" disputes. As far as I can understand it, it does not say that the text should quote something verbatim to turn them into facts. If this is the case, won't it turn the whole Wikipedia into a mere interconnection of quotes?
In my opinion, his examples show that he has not read much of the reference links or reference materials and is merely submitting his opinion --very personal to my mind--on those examples. It his own personal POV that "There are two problems with this. It comes across as POV, even if it is intended to be a continuation of a prior attributed opinion, and it blurs the line between what is attributed and what the person or source actually said." For example the line "members use aggressive methods" is almost taken verbatim from ODAN website; "The world is a gift of God, a place where one can --and should!-- become a saint" is found in the writings of the bishops; the paragraph on Jesus Christ like the whole section on teachings is a summary of doctrine contained in the writings of Escriva. Perhaps yes the tone of that paragraph on Jesus Christ can be improved, but I don't think that presenting a short reply to the accusations leveled against OD is POV. If so then the paragraph of ODAN's accusations are POV.
I'd also like to understand more about the unhelpfulness of the section titles. In general, I'd like to listen more to understand the strong objection. R Davidson 14:11, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
Let me just say that I appreciate the detailed objection of Eloquence, and I am grateful he is bringing out his personal opinion. As regards what he says: the article "transitions from attributing an opinion to stating it as fact." Somehow this was mentioned by Zantastic and I saw that the problem is this: Some sentences, for one reason or another, do not have the phrase like "critics say" or "supporters say". Thus the main issue is writing method, rather than NPOV (with this I agree with Kevin Marshall). If these phrases are linked to all the sentences of a particular proponent or writer, then the article will sound monotonous, or sound like a sing song. In general I think Wikipedia readers can distinguish that a second or third sentence of an author still belongs to the author. For example: the second sentence of Introvigne "Thus, mainline scientists reject as 'unscholarly'" is almost a paraphrase of a statement from CESNUR of which Introvigne is the Director.
I do think that the article is merely "representing disputes," summarizing positions as Wikipedia wants articles to do. But yes, things can be improved. The statement "For example, to push his conclusions, he makes absurd assumptions" can also be drawn by reading the article of Schall, but maybe it could be better phrased. I will re-read the article and study how to improve it.
As regards the business activities of Opus Dei, these are contained in the "conspiracy theories of Walsh" under the sub-section on Secularity, humility, privacy vs. secrecy to pursue power. Some of the editors in fact wanted to remove any mention of Walsh because he is considered by many as a "dubious source". He is a writer for tabloid-level newspapers. And according to Wikipedia, and I quote:
Title: Dubious Sources "For an encyclopedia, sources should be unimpeachable. An encyclopedia is not primary source material. Its authors do not conduct interviews nor perform original research. Hence, anything we include should have been covered in the records, reportage, research, or studies of others. In many, if not most, cases there should be several corroborating sources available should someone wish to consult them. Sources should be unimpeachable relative to the claims made; outlandish claims beg strong sources."
Somebody placed Walsh again into the text just recently, perhaps to improve NPOV. However, that move is a substantial change which should have been discussed first in the Talk Page. Perhaps you can join in when this issue is brought up there. Thomas S. Major 02:19, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
I just placed the phrase "supporters say" in three parts of the Opus Dei cult-responses. E.g.
Opus Dei's Christ-centeredness, supporters say, urges Christians to live like Christ in everything, even if their behaviour "clashes" with a "paganized environment". [3] Supporters say that the cult-like behavior described by the anti-cult groups was the behavior of Jesus Christ: He single-mindedly focused his entire life on saving all souls to please his Father...
I hope this npoving is enough for that part, as it was for Zantastik and Rama. Thomas S. Major 03:46, 26 September 2005 (UTC)


It was not enough for me, actually. This article, along with some other related articles, fails to meet NPOV standards, and I think Eloquence's statement makes the nature of its problems perfectly clear. For instance, simply adding "supporters say," into the following sentence does not make it npov.
Opus Dei's Christ-centeredness, supporters say, urges Christians to live like Christ in everything, even if their behaviour "clashes" with a "paganized environment".
After all, is Opus Dei "Christ-centered" at all? What is the nature of "Christ-centeredness?" Would different people have different definitions of this term? I'm sorry, but this article has a ways to go before deserving featured status. --Zantastik talk 14:20, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
I think that by "is enough for that part, as it was for Zantastik and Rama", Thomas S. Major is refering to the end of [[1]] ("I would assume that you think that I have already addressed your NPOV concerns if I don't hear from you before 0900 UTC. Then I will remove the NPOV tag"); it is correct that I did not react to this at the moment, but I have always been a rather distant observer of the situations here, and I was busy with other articles (and even real life things, can you believe that :p). So my silence there should not be interpreted as a full and inconditional approval of the state of the article at the moment. Actually, I still think that there is room for improvements, and I think that recent edits were going in the right direction. Rama 14:48, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Rama and Zantastik, for responding. The Christ-centeredness is discussed in a subsection above that. Let's see what we can do about your comment...:) Thomas S. Major 02:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

I also placed this for the cult critics: "Critics say the following: Opus Dei members use aggressive recruitment methods: love bombing and issuing threats of condemnation. New recruits lack "informed consent.""
Thank you, Eloquence, for bringing up your points. They are helping keep the creative juices running to improve NPOV in this article. Like Davidson, I am interested to understand more your objection. E.g. "The main article basically traces all modern criticism to early theological criticism, and does not present this stance with a counterpoint. The notion that secular criticism results from the prelature's actual activities cannot be so easily dismissed." I am not that intelligent really. I need a bit more of an explanation. Thanks. :) Thomas S. Major 04:50, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
Object. I have similar complaints to those listed by Eloquence above. The sub-pages are a huge mess--I don't think a single one of them is nicely formatted. And they're thrown about the main article rather randomly. As Eloquence also pointed out, attributions aren't always clear. However, overall I don't think the POV problems are too bad. I think if the format and subpages were more clear, the page wouldn't have POV problems. But when a subpage is devoted just to positive comments, it looks like non-NPOV, even if there's stuff in the main article or on another subpage balancing a positive comment.Kevin M Marshall 14:37, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do to make the format and subpages more clear. I just have a small question: is this article going to be judged as well based on its sub-pages? If yes, I will make sure that we do a better job in the subpages. If not, whew, what a relief that will be! Thanks for your comments. :) Thomas S. Major 02:19, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
I won't speak for anyone else, but unless the subpages are improved considerably I won't support the article. I'll see what I can do to help out with the article.Kevin M Marshall 02:38, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. It's good to separate myth from truth, especially for a controversial group like Opus Dei. Some people should be undeceived of their deception. Baboyako 07:24, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
  • What exactly is going on here The Italian Inquistion has arrived. It seems we now have yet another editor User: Baboyako making their first ever edit here [2]. User: Bonrussell also made his first edit here; and this editor too is hardly an "old hand either" Edits of Arturo Cruz. I am beginning to grow suspicious here, very suspicious indeed. I hope one or two of our friends here do not need to go to confession 11:46, 26 September 2005 (UTC). [Comment by Giano]
I told my friends a few days ago that I proposed this article for feature article status and they started to act. I've just told them to back off. Sorry about that. :( Thomas S. Major 00:05, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Strong support: I took part in writing this article. I believe it "reports all major points of the views in proportion to the credibility of the experts holding the various theses." (NPOV policy) If one looks at the extensive bibliography, the proportions and the structure of the article reflect existing scholarship: a great deal of literature on theology, some juridical studies, historical and sociological literature, and some cult and anti-Opus Dei issues. The article also reflects the contents of the monographs.
Anybody who wants to propose changes to the structure of the article should read these books written by credible experts. If calculus, econometrics, molecular biology are not for amateurs, a fortiori dogmatic, moral and ascetical theology, Church history, general history, sociology of religion, and canon law are not. Marax 09:04, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Object. I have three problems with this article. (1.) POV. This is the big one. I agree with Eloquence that this is a skewed and partisan account, told much too much from the inside, rather than encyclopedically. The defender above who quotes ""Wikipedia should report all major points of views" from the NPOV tutorial, in defence of the article's present state (I'm sorry, but with the interleaved comments I find if impossible to tell who quotes it) shows a misunderstanding. The key word in that quote is report. To report is not to repeat, still less to endorse. To report is to report neutrally, with attribution. It's not merely Wikipedia as a whole that needs to be balanced and neutral, as some of the arguments above seem to suggest, it's each article. And while in a well-written text it can be possible to tell whether an attributed expert is also responsible for the views in the next few sentences, it requires rhetorical skills to make it so. Please listen to the people here who are telling you in good faith that some attributions aren't in fact clear: the judge of clarity is the reader, not the author. A minor point: please refer consistently to the founder as Escrivá, rather than as St. Josemaría, unless his canonisation is the point at issue. (2.) Prose. I'm afraid there are also some problems of less than brilliant prose, especially with the attributions, which read as if they were fitted awkwardly (reluctantly?) into what was originally a smooth text. Please try to formulate the whole thing with the attributions as an integral part, rather than putting them in as alien speed bumps. Too may short paragraphs, also. (3.) Footnotes/inline references. The reader too often has no way of knowing which work in the bibliography is being used to reference a particular point. I dislike footnotes and try to avoid the need for them in my own articles, but when the sourcing situation is this complex, they are necessary. Please don't ask whether any Wikipedia policy explicitly requires this or that form of reference; instead ask your common sense: "How can I make the sourcing unambiguously clear to the reader?" Because the purpose of the reference policies is to ensure such clarity. The answer in this article is that you need either footnotes or a prohibitive amount of parenthetic inline references; in other words, you need footnotes. Some articles with a simpler source situation don't need them, that's why there's no hard and fast rule. Summary. I realise that my objections may be a bit abstract, especially no. 2), so I've just now edited the section "A personal prelature of the Catholic Church" to give an example of changes both for 1), NPOV, and 2), better flow, please take a look. I'm sorry I couldn't at the same time illustrate 3), what footnotes are required: that's unfortunately impossible, since the problem with the present sourcing is precisely that it doesn't give me enough information. The italics for quotes I left alone (although they're non-standard), as I've no plans for going over the rest of the article — too much work, which I realise is pretty likely to get reverted anyway. Bishonen | talk 11:04, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the tutorial, Bishonen! I will take your example into account when I try to rewrite the article to make it more encyclopedic and have more flow. I made a slight change to your version, but it has been useful. Thomas S. Major 02:40, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

OK. I see the point. In reality there were many in-text references with dates and pages.But they were removed as a way of cutting the bulk of the text. I will try to bring them back.

I will also work on inserting footnotes. However, I found this in the Wikipedia:Cite sources:

"On the other hand, in-text references can be very useful if there is a long list of references and it is not clear which one the reader should consult for more information on a specific topic. In-text citations can also be valuable if there is doubt or disagreement on some point—you can parenthetically indicate exactly what source made a particular claim. (Articles that involve strong opposing viewpoints may need to have numerous in-text citations for this reason.)

Footnotes are sometimes useful for relevant text that would distract from the main point if embedded in the main text, yet are helpful in explaining a point in greater detail. Such footnotes can be especially helpful for later fact-checkers, to ensure that the article text is well-supported. Thus, using footnotes to provide useful clarifying information outside the main point is fine where this is needed.

Footnotes can also be used to simply cite sources, and there are some styles which do so. However, citations using numbered footnotes are controversial in Wikipedia. The current MediaWiki software does not support footnotes very well. In particular, automatic numbering of footnotes conflicts with a common editing practice of bare URLs in single square brackets and the same footnote cannot be used multiple times with automatic numbering, rather a new number and note has to be used. In contrast, the software is currently quite sufficient to support the parenthetical author citation format suggested above."

  • Object per Bishonen and Eloquence. This article was clearly written from a pro-Opus Dei POV. The criticisms of OD aren't mentioned in the intro except as an afterthought given a sentence in the final paragraph. Also from the intro: Opus Dei offers the faithful the "necessary training" to attain "sanctity or inner union with God". St Josemaria is often referred to as "St. Josemaria", when he should be known as "Escriva" — when first introduced, St Josemaria should be "St Josemaria Escriva", then "Escriva" from then on until we get to the Canonisation bit (by the way, have a gold spelling star). The "message" of OD is aggressively put forth, when it should at most gain a mere mention. OD is even referred to as "the Work"; such a phrase is often used by those doing "the Work" (whatever that may be) in various religions, sects, and cults, but never by those who are not. The "criticisms" section does not enlighten one to criticisms, I fear, but to "misunderstandings". The article attempts to argue — putting the words into the mouth of a weasel — that OD is a "sign of contradiction". I recommend someone with no relationship towards OD, the Catholic Church, or any anti-cult group take a look at the article and pare it down as much as they can.
I'm also concerned about the attempts at balance. When criticisms are included at all, they and Opus Dei are not discussed objectively. Rather, we have what news organisations laughingly describe as "balance": "Person X says the critics are wrong, but critics say they're not", or vice versa.

The neutrality policy states:

"NPOV policy means that we say something like this: Many adherents of this faith believe X, which they believe that members of this group have always believed; however, due to the acceptance of some findings (say which) by modern historians and archaeologists (say which), other adherents (say which) of this faith now believe Z." Thomas S. Major 02:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Also, one particular POV is treated as a monolithic "Catholic people's" POV — this is a serious issue, bringing as it does memories of "can we trust them to follow their countries issues over what the Bishop of Rome says?" and all that. For example: "on the other hand, Catholics say that this accusation is a slur on their bishops." I have never said such a thing, and am not certain that I would — am I not Catholic? This section has other problems: it concludes that critics are wrong, and its English is awkward (take a look at the progression of "however"-equivalents).
You are right. I will correct the weasel statements! Thanks. Thomas S. Major 02:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Hope this helps, fuddlemark (fuddle me!) 12:04, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

As regards the Catholic/Opus Dei POV, please read R Davidson's exchange with Eloquence regarding the Catholic tone of the article. That is the key to understand the neutrality of this article. That has to be resolved first before we can talk about NPOV here. Thanks for your comments. Thomas S. Major 00:05, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Object – Notwithstanding POV issues (I won't check for that for now), the page has serious style problems. 1) Too many subheadings; The ToC is granulated and bloated. 2) Inline links to be converted to footnote style like we have for other featured articles 3) Placement of left-aligned images which shift headings to the right. That is to say: please don't start a paragraph with a left-aligned image, also do not float left-images so that the headings of the following paragraph are moved. 4) References not formatted properly. Please see recent featured articles such as Economy of India on how to format correctly. 5) Page size indicates that a summary is needed. Use the summary style. 6) No external links? 7) The page has a lot of quotes, this needs to be reduced and made into an objective summary. 8) Needs a copyedit. =Nichalp «Talk»= 17:26, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

I think the article lingers a little too long on some of the more "sensational" criticisms. On the other hand I noticed two media pieces in the last fortnight that cited this piece as an important source (both Australian), and one of them called it called it even-handed, so what do I know? Re the comment that a long piece on Opus Dei should contain at most a brief mention of its aims, I can't help thinking that would be rather as if the article on General Motors were to contain no more than a brief mention that it sells cars. Asoane 20:17, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Object. I didn't even get past the lead before I came across sentences like this one: "Built on the idea that Christians attain great joy from an awareness of being children of God, Opus Dei teaches them about their personal freedom and responsibility in pursuing the first purpose of the Catholic Church: sanctity or inner union with God." This is Opus Dei-propaganda, plain and simple. It might not be illicit, but it's inherently POV. Most of the article reads like some sort of brochure or pamphlet. It's simply not even close to being NPOV and at times barely encyclopedic. It's bristling with more or less subtle religious peacock terms, and obviously irrelevant publicity images like this don't exactly help. / Peter Isotalo 22:57, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Object Several of the image captions are overly long. Image:Arnoldhallopusdeiconferencecenter.jpg looks like someone tried to airbrush the grass with Microsoft Paint (regardless, the image doesn't add much to the article). Image:JohnPaulIIordainingfirstbishopprelateofopusdeialvarodelportillo.jpg and Image:StjosemariaMagpakabanal sa gawainBe a saint thru work.jpg need to be cropped (and renamed). Many of the image pages could do with some better formatting/organization. I'm not sure how the current sub-headings under "Formation and training" relate to that topic. The article is POV in tone in several places ("Opus Dei was founded by St. Josemaria Escriva, who as a young lad saw footprints in the snow..."), and reads like a pamphlet in others (the 3rd paragraph Wow Peter, we had the same exact thoughts/vocabulary with regards to that third paragraph). As someone unfamiliar with the subject, I cannot understand 75% of this article. —jiy (talk) 23:15, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, jiy. I will study what I can do about your comments. Thanks again. :) Thomas S. Major 02:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

As regards the Catholic/Opus Dei POV, kindly read R Davidson's exchange with Eloquence regarding the Catholic tone of the article. That is the key to understand the neutrality of this article. That has to be resolved first before we can talk about NPOV here. The editors resolved in the Talk Page that the images should be proportionate to the credible experts view. Thanks for your comments. Thomas S. Major 00:05, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Um, no. I agree with your comments above: (a) policy we should give more credence to credible sources, and (b) the Pope is a credible source. However, your conclusion is incorrect. The Pope's views may be given more credence, sure, but that doesn't mean you're supposed to write from the Pope's point of view. Please re-read the NPOV page, and when you're finished there move on to WP:WEASEL and WP:PEACOCK. Neither the weasel or peacock pages are official policy, but they're important guidelines to help people attain a NPOV, and should be followed by any article that wants FA status. --fuddlemark (fuddle me!) 04:09, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Mark. Sorry I was too much in a hurry I was not able to answer you properly. Yes I totally agree with you as regards weasel and peacock terms. Will also work on that :) Thomas S. Major 02:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks a million for all your comments: I see we still have a lot of work to do

Thanks a million for all those who spent some time to give detailed ways of improving this article to achieve feature article status. I am truly grateful, and I appreciate your efforts.

It is clear from the comments that this article has to do a lot of work in terms of attributions, footnotes, formatting, copyediting, style, flow, etc. etc. etc.

I just need your help to resolving once and for all the basic issue raised by my friend R Davidson as regards neutrality. It's an issue which will continue to hound this article if it is not resolved.

The basic issue is how this article is implementing the following NPOV policies:

"We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view. To give such undue weight to the lesser held view may be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties."

From Jimbo:

"If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts"
If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents

From the NPOV tutorial:

"Wikipedia should report all major points of views; however, it should do so in proportion to the credibility of the experts holding the various theses.
One measure of a view's importance is the credibility of the experts who hold that view. What makes an expert credible? Some criteria include:
  • the reputation of the expert, the reputation of the tradition within which he or she works, the reputation of the group or institution for which the expert works
  • whether the expert uses the common methods of the field or completely different ones
  • whether the expert has or has not failed to respond to criticisms
  • whether the expert has reputable supporters of his or her claims
  • whether the expert's point of view belongs in a different article (e.g. evolution vs. creationism)
In other words, an idea's popularity alone does not determine its importance."

Right now the editors are one in saying that the majority position is held by the following credible experts: reputable investigative journalists who studied Opus Dei: (John Allen, V. Messori, Thierry, West), theologians and philosophers: (James V. Schall, Fuenmayor, Rodriguez, Ocariz, et al), Sociology of religion scholars: (atheist Bryan R. Wilson, protestant Dr. Kliever and Jenkins), Catholic officials (John Paul II, Benedict XVI, JPI, bishops, etc.) ,St. Josemaria himself (JE=OD according to Samuel Howard and other scholars), and other Catholic leaders, and non-Catholic leaders (I intend to collect these as well in a separate sub-page).

According to the editors, the view of these experts and their credibility and expertise has an overwhelming and lopsided advantage over the other positions in terms of their view on Opus Dei, and thus most of their views are quoted or reported, giving what some people said is a "Catholic" tone to the article, or a “Pope’s point of view,” even if some of the sources are atheists or Protestants.

Should the editors change their opinion on who has the expertise? Are there other experts on these subject who should be given the majority position? That's basically the question of my friend, Davidson. And we still do not have a clear answer.

I need your help to resolve this basic issue. Of course, we can also assume that "silence means consent." But I'd prefer a clearer "outside" opinion on this.

Needless to say, I see the great need to address the other important issues brought up here to improve the article. Thanks again for your help. Thomas S. Major 02:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Object: notes are woeful. - 203.134.166.99 03:37, 30 September 2005 (UTC)