Talk:Opus Dei/Archive 2005-1
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The founder's name was Josemaria Escriva, not "Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer": the title was an affectation.
- Why do you say that "Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer" wasn't his name. It was his name. The official page of the vatican for the canonization calls him Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer. So who has a problem with reality? Even people that are memebers of the Opus Dei (like many of my friends) know that.
I'm surprised that there is no mention of the him been the Marques de Peralta, a nobility title he fought for and got from the spanish crown. Truth is the title was used by his ancestors, and that some people say that he got it restituted so that he could give it to his brother (which he actually did). well probably this should be under his name and not here.. oops..
"Pope John Paul II made them his personal prelature". What does that mean?
- Ordinary Catholic dioceses are organized within a specific physical location; they have one particular church as their bishop's seat, and their jurisdiction is limited to their delineated geographic area -- only those Catholics living within that area are subject to the bishop's authority. Personal prelatures -- Opus Dei is the only such organization, as far as I know -- are not limited by geography or tied to physical locations; a member might live in Poland or Peru, but s/he is subject to the authority of the prelature's leader (Javier Echevarria, in Opus Dei's case) who, like other bishops, reports directly to the Pope. (Should this be mentioned in the article, or would it be better placed under a separate heading, such as Personal Prelature?) Further inspection indicates that the relevant information is available in the prelate article; I have redirected the personal prelature link to prelate.
This page is so dreadfully long winded and unobjective that it is completely unreadable. It reads like cult literature. Mike D. in Los Angeles [unsigned]
It would appear that it is essentialy impossible to present any view other than what Opus Dei wants to appear. It seems that they monitor this site quite closely; when something critical appears, it is removed immediately. Unfortunately, due to the open nature of the Wikipedia, it will be virtually impossible to maintain the neutrality of this topic. Matt in NYC [unsigned]
Someone (presumably an Opus Dei supporter) has replaced the previous article text with an entirely pro-Opus Dei article. Concatenating old and new versions for NPOV editing. [unsigned]
As this article has been edited, it appears to move closer and closer to the position that Opus Dei is a blameless, harmless, organization. Can we re-emphasize some of the anti-Opus-Dei POV, please? [unsigned]
It seems to me that "re-emphasizing" the anti-Opus Dei point of view wouldn't be a "neutral" point of view. [unsigned]
Of course it would, if the article expresses both sides. And yes this article is seriously biased pro Opus Dei. But then devotees of Opus Dei don't like criticism, so any attempt to criticise the organisation is guaranteed to be edited into becoming a pro Opus Dei fan club. (A friend of mine who runs a bookshop once had two thirds of a pile of a book criticising the organisation vandalised by Opus Dei members. And yes they were Opus Dei members, he caught two of them, one was the ringleader who set up the vandalism and both were not so much Opus Dei members as fanatics who threated him with external damnation for stocking the book. Their method of vandalism was simple; take the book of the shell, stick chewing gum onto its side, put it back, and when it dried the book could not be opened and stank of gum. In his thirty years in the book trade, no other book about no other organisation was so systematically vandalised. But five books on Opus Dei published over 8 years were each attacked and apparently the same thing happened in other shops in other cities to the same books. STÓD/ÉÍRE 01:11 Mar 12, 2003 (UTC)
Jtdirl, can you tell me how the article is so biased in favor of Opus Dei? It seems someone took out all the pro-Opus Dei links and replaced them with anti-Opus Dei links. Is that "neutral"? Is that the only valid point of view? If I'm being biased in favor of Opus Dei, tell me how. If you can make a good case for it, I'll fix it. Either that, or fix it yourself.
If you take a minute to review the history of the article, you'll notice that I pretty much left untouched the clearly negative criticisms in the article. [unsigned]
Excuse me. My last edit said "minor changes" but I commented several things out. Why? Because they were
- a) irrelevant because they were included in the criticisms section
- b) saying "The Organization states" and quoting its Statutes is a subtle way of assuming malice.
- c) The section on "Members" was SO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING I decided to comment out quite a few paragraphs and redistribute it a bit.
Anyway, I think I am going to add some more items in the "Activities", because it is not enlightening. Pfortuny 07:47, 23 Oct 2003 (UTC)
I have reverted the previous edit, which was not a minor change, and totally changed the structure of the article. The current structure is:
- introduction: Opus Dei in its own words (holy workers for God, working for love and peace worldwide)
- introduction: Opus Dei in its critics' words (sinister pain-obsessed cult)
- pro-Opus Dei case in detail,
- critical case in detail
Please let us know what your proposed alternative article structure might be before making further changes, still less marking them as "minor edits". -- Karada 13:11, 23 Oct 2003 (UTC)
Sorry for marking it as minor (really sorry, I realized it after committing). Now I think
- a) As for criticisms in the introduction... well, it is my opinion but I guess it is quite normal to postpone these things to the latter part of any article.
- b) In any case, I'd rather change the "The organizatio states" to "Its aims" because that is what its statutes say and the introduction "They say" is -as you are aware- a subtle POV.
- c) The section members is really boring and contains lots of uninteresting stuff (it can be summarized a lot, which is what I intended).
The entry (at 30-11-03) claims that Cardinal Hume "criticised... infiltration of organisations, both secular and religious". That is not correct. His 'guidelines' say nothing about infiltration. Furthermore, claiming that they do, gives a specious weight to the allegation itself.
The entry also says Hume was a "vocal critic". This is incorrect. His guidelines, which might be taken as (implicit) criticism, end with an explicit warning precisely against taking them that way. He said and wrote nothing else that could be taken as criticism at all. Also, the guidelines make no mention of "unacceptable behaviour", so it is hard to defend the use the entry makes of that phrase.
All this will have to be edited to get the weighting right. (Edit now made)
The entry (as at 15-12-03) contains a sentence giving the names of three people in the USA who are supposedly members: Louis Freeh, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. For the record, none of them are.
The least confusing NPOV solution would be to delete that particular sentence – which I propose doing unless another simpler NPOV solution is found. (Edit now made)
- All three are thought to be members (Google turns up a number of allegations); none have explicitly confirmed or denied such rumors. The stories about Freeh are somewhat credible, though Opus Dei denies them, but the stories about Scalia and Thomas are just tinfoil hattery: there's nothing to suggest a connection besides the fact that both Justices are, like Opus Dei, conservative and Catholic. I think it's fair to note the rumors, but it would then be necessary to state clearly that they are rumors, nothing more. (There's also a certain Opus Dei priest who is closely connected with a number of conservative politicians; if the other conspiracy theories are to be mentioned, perhaps this fellow should also be in the article.) --MIRV 19:30, 4 Jan 2004 (UTC)
But Louis Freeh has denied being a member. When asked whether he was a member, he replied that the questioner had been informed incorrectly. That's quite apart from the repeated denials issued by Opus Dei, so how can the rumour still be credible? As it's a conspiracy theory it should either be called such, or simply cut out. And including 'tinfoil hattery' about Scalia and Thomas here is just absurd. The paragraph still needs redrafting or cutting in the first half, which I propose doing unless a simpler NPOV solution is suggested. Asoane 16:54, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
- I have no objection to calling conspiracy theories what they are. If you think the rumors about Freeh, Scalia, and Thomas are crackpottery, feel free to label them as such -- though a more formal term, such as "unsubstantiated", would be preferable. --MIRV 17:01, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Personally I think they are fantasy. However, I doubt whether a NPOV approach can survive the inclusion of unsubstantiated rumours, even if the denials are also noted. I think you need to separate out the wheat from the chaff and eliminate the latter. The supposed membership of these three people is a good example. Asoane 17:54, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Just for the record, I was a member of a religious group for ten years. The congregation was founded in Spain. The practice of corporal mortification as described in much of the literature about Opus Dei and religious orders within the Roman Catholic Church are indeed accurate. I can attest to having taken many a discipline on a Friday night as well as the daily wearing of a "chain", as we called it. The marks were real and remained with me for months after I left the convent. It people want to really know the truth, they need to merely research church history. It's all there if we are willing to look. Along with my own former congregation, I can name others. Contrarly to what the public would like to believe, it's a much more common practice than not. Members are taught to not speak of it because it is "something that the world would not understand."
A cursory line-count in the section about "criticisms of Opus Dei" shows that:
- there are 33 lines in the section;
- from these, 12 (36%) are outright praise (popes' remarks);
- 4 others are denials of charges;
- finally, 5 lines state neutral things, not criticism.
So, in the "criticism" section, 16 lines (48%) are actually praise or denial, and 5 others (15%) are "nothing", for a grand total of 21 lines (63% !!) of non-criticism!! And this is the criticism section!! (I will not comment on the global line-count, it would be overkill).
If this is NPOV, I won't like to see a biased one!
- Yeah, this article is a mess. Unfortunately there are more zealous advocates for Opus Dei than knowledgeable critics of it.—Eloquence 05:44, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)
Hmmm. Balance should not be abandoned if the subject of a particular section happens to be 'criticisms'.
And I wouldn't necessarily agree that 37% criticism versus 48% defense is biased towards the defense - it usually takes more space to answer questions than it does to ask them. Asoane 20:58, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
from the section on The Da Vinci Code
- The book was actually heralded by some Opus Dei members because it featured passages from The Way and the book was like a promotional ad for the organisation.
Opus Dei's official response to the book was negative; they thought that Brown's portrayal was full of errors, not a promotional ad. Can anyone confirm that anyone in Opus Dei had a high opinion of the book? —No-One Jones 08:11, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I am amazed by the shameless way in which criticisms of Opus Dei, and even links to critical websites, are regualarly edited out of this article. Olny the mildest criticisms are allowed to remain (for example, that they are not conservative enough!). These edits are consistent with Opus Dei supporters going against the NPOV policy this encyclopedia relies on. Come on, Opus Dei members! Unification Church members and Scientologists can work together with other contributors under the NPOV principle, surely you can too? -- The Anome 10:23, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- It's just peer review by other contributors. Asoane 11:11, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
...who consistently remove criticisms of Opus Dei. Wikipedia:NPOV means acknowledging all points of view. There are two extreme POVs about Opus Dei --
- "An organization of self-sacrificing people working selflessly for the glory of God within the Catholic Church"
- "A kinky pain-loving religious cult with links to right-wing politica and worse"
Now, current Opus Dei members assert the first. Many opponents of Opus Dei, including ex-members of Opus Dei, assert the second. The fact that these assertions are made can be reported here uncontroversially, without deciding on which one is true.
We can also report as fact anything which is agreed by both Opus Dei's supporters and detractors: they are a personal prelature of the Pope, they have a lovely big HQ building, and so on. What we should not do is put forward a picture of Opus Dei as an uncontroversial organization in the intro. It is controversial, even within the Catholic Church, where some regard it as an "entryist" organization taking the Church over from within.
I suggest the following structure:
- Intro: Opus Dei, broad perceptions, for and against
- Opus Dei: uncontroversial facts (prelature, HQ buiding, etc)
- Opus Dei: views of supporters
- Opus Dei: views of critics
Note that I'm being scrupulously fair by stating the OD cases before the criticism, at both levels. If you take out mention of criticism at the top, the casual reader won't read down the page to see it covered in detail -- which would be misleading. -- The Anome 11:14, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- Your fellow contributors both remove and add depending on the facts of the matter. In the previous version before your changes both POV you mentioned were clearly stated and referenced. There is no need to patronise users of the Wikipedia, as your final sentence appears to do. Asoane 12:15, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The table of contents - at the top of the article! - clearly shows that there is a criticism section. The "casual reader", should he want to read criticisms, can click there. There is no need for criticisms in the introduction. Quodlibetarian 12:36, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- I hope that we are all "fellow contributors" here, regardless of our differences of view. Please don't simply revert my edits before making changes: instead, discuss changes here if we are having problems coming to a consensus. As well as throwing out big edits you didn't like it also had the effect of removing tiny edits like the addition of the word "controversial" in the first sentence; something which I would regard as unexceptional.  I'd also question the citation of CESNUR as an authority: it's hardly an uncontroversial organization itself.  -- The Anome 12:41, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Until recently I used to propose alterations here first as you have just suggested, but with little effect. The direct methods of the anti-POV were more effective. However, having just removed a paragraph I would like to float an idea with you. A simple reference to criticisms in the opening section might be reasonable, but what is causing the problem is the insistence on specifying what they are, thus repeating them. Maybe an acceptable compromise is a balanced sentence at that point which says that Opus Dei has been criticised, and 'see below'. Asoane 14:40, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Well, I hope we can work together, even though we have quite different opinions. I agree, we don't need to repeat ourselves. Here's what I want to do, in the first instance:
In the "criticism" section:
- far more details of the "cult" criticism, and allegations of links to right-wing politics
- explicit, detailed, mention of the practices of self-mortification, and Saint Josemaría's personal self-mortification in particular, within the criticisms section, and only a mention of this in the intro
In the intro:
- a brief reference to both of these, without going into detail
In the first sentence:
- to keep the word "controversial"
At the same time, I hope you will have noticed that I have not removed any positive comments about Opus Dei, although I have added attributions to some of them as being the views of Opus Dei supporters, and removed the passive voice where appropriate.
-- The Anome 15:52, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- For my taste,
- the "right-wing politics" is empty of true content as it is now. Either delete or include real allegations.
- Saint Josemaria's mortification etc... ought to be included in his article, and here just comment it (as he is supposed to have said that his followers must not imitate him in that aspect... any source for this?). I doubt -doubt- this is worth appearing in the introduction of this article, but this is just my oppinion.
- It is obvious that it is controversial, so it should be stated in the introduction unless we find a better wording (however, almost any organization is controversial, so this word is losing its sense and becoming a weasel term, for my taste).
- There was an inquest at the Italian Parliament which should appear in the article (at least one country took the "cult" and "secret" allegations seriously, made an inquest and found they were not true...). I have not the proper sources, but it may be enlightening.
- BTW I changed the "made a saint" for "canonized" because saints are not made...
- In any case, the article is, for my taste, too verbose (even garrulous).... Pfortuny 07:31, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The Anome's proposals might be workable :-)
My comments are:
I concede 'controversial' of course, but not as the very first word of the description. I propose to put instead it in the table of contents, so section 4 is to be called 'Controversies'. The word 'controversial' also appears in the third paragraph of the intro, so it would not be missing from the opening text.
On points by Pfortuny:
- It is true that members of Opus Dei do not imitate St Josemaria's mortifications, so I propose to add in brackets that members do not imitate him in this.
- The Italian parliament investigated Opus Dei in 1986, and cleared it of being a secret society. So I propose to add that, simply at the end of the relevant section (this could be said to cut both ways, but it is information).
Apart from the changes above I propose to make only the following minor modifications:
- 1. To rename section 4.5 'Other criticisms', and sort out that section, which is really a mixed bag.
- 2. To reorder the points in the 'Other criticisms' section, moving the criticisms from ultra-conservatives to the end of the section. The section would begin: Some critics have alleged that Opus Dei was looked upon with suspicion (etc).
- 3. To simplify a response to say that supporters state that men and women are equal in Opus Dei, with half the leadership positions being held by women.
- 4. To remove from the 'Catholic politics' section near the end the claim about several prominent members in the judiciary and law being members. This is not really a removal, because it appears almost verbatim already in the 'secret society' section. It is merely the repetition that is to be removed, while the follow-on about reports in the Boston Post is to be kept.
The changes to be put through presently. Asoane 10:06, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)
To say that Opus Dei is a secret society only because it does not reveal its members is crazy. I mean, I think no religious organization would do that. Andries
Please be objective when stating who supports an opinion
When some concept is defended by members and many non-members, please do not simply state "members" say, because it is completely misleading. Thanks. Pfortuny 15:40, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Why does this have to clutter the main Roman Catholic category as well as RC Lay Societies and RC Prelatures? Can't we just take it out and leave it in the subdirectories like most other Catholic topics (eg Benedictines or St Patrick's Cathedral)?
- Yes we can, and I have done so. If something is part of a subcategory, it doesn't need to be in the higher-level categories as well. —No-One Jones (m) 14:45, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Controversial How could it not be valid to call Opus Dei controversial Do a google search on Opus Dei and 4 of the top five pages are critical of Opus Dei. It is unsupportable to disagree that Opus Dei is controversial according to any dictionary definition.
--Peacenik 01:42, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
- Look a few lines up: we had this discussion before. The entry already calls Opus Dei 'controversial' several times. It does so in the intro. It has a great big section called 'controversies', so it even appears in the index. But not as the first word of the description. Asoane 16:57, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I know, but someone removed it from it's agreed place in the intro. That is what I was commenting on. --Peacenik 21:39, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
- I think it's still there in the third paragraph, where it settled back in July. It was removed from the first paragraph on 25 November, but presumably only because someone had added it in there earlier the same day. Asoane 16:55, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Maybe split it ?
Maybe splitting the article into a Pro Opus Dei and Anti Opus Dei stands and ask people to restrain from editing the other's article ?, I studied for 9 years in an Opus Dei school in Venezuela and I can tell first hand that they are not a harmless institution. However for some people I've met they think it is and currently serve as numeraries, maybe splitting it would make it better ?
It upsets me that The Church, or a sect of The Church would not only turn a blind eye to self mortification, a practice as demonic as the Iron Maiden or the Rack of Inquistion time, but induldge in it, promote it, INFLICT IT!!!'' SICK, SICK, SICK.
- I suppose indulge, and promote can be argued, but not inflict! --Peacenik 00:34, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Decoding Opus Dei
Decoding Opus Dei A Vatican writer discusses the Roman Catholic Church’s most controversial organization—and how it was misrepresented in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ WEB EXCLUSIVE By Edward Pentin Newsweek URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7288539/site/newsweek/ Updated: 5:58 p.m. ET March 24, 2005
March 24 - In Dan Brown’s best-selling thriller, “The Da Vinci Code,” Opus Dei is depicted as a dark and mysterious cult within the Roman Catholic Church, a secretive society of men and women who have sought political power to further the interests of a wealthy elite. Yet the true nature of Opus Dei, Latin for the "Work of God," is more prosaic, say those who have studied the organization.
Founded in 1928 by Spaniard Josemaria Escrivà, who was made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002, the 85,000-member organization has a simple aim: to provide a structure for lay Catholics so they can better live their journey of faith while fully immersed in the world. For a few celibate members, that road includes self-mortification, wearing a strap with spikes on it. But it is not, they say, of the exaggerated and bloody sort depicted in Brown’s book.
John Allen, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, is the author of a new book on the mysterious organization due to be published by Random House later this year. Allen—who says he is not a member of Opus Dei—spoke with NEWSWEEK's Edward Pentin in Rome.
NEWSWEEK: Why is Opus Dei so controversial? John Allen: The first is the Spanish background to this. In the 1930s and '40s [Opus Dei] experienced some enormous, extremely bitter rivalries with the Jesuits [because] some young Spanish men were deciding not to become Jesuits and signed up with Opus Dei instead. And this was, I think, the initial source of tension, that there was this perception that Opus Dei was kind of poaching ... Some Jesuits began circulating, from my point of view, really outlandish charges against Opus Dei, things like they had secret tunnels under their centers, they were engaging themselves in bizarre rituals like crucifying themselves on crosses in Opus Dei centers.
What other causes have made Opus Dei a magnet for controversy? A second force shaping all of this [is that] there's a natural tendency to identify Opus Dei [with] Pope John Paul II and vice-versa. So those people who don't like Pope John Paul II don't like Opus Dei. They see Opus Dei as the sort of "shock troops of this ultraconservative, restorationist papacy." The third factor is [that] Opus Dei is a new thing—it's an organic body of laity and clergy, men and women sharing the same vocation which, canonically speaking, has never existed in Catholicism. And [when] something new is born in the church, there is always opposition to it.
Has Pope John Paul II and his support for Opus Dei had a moderating influence? I would say the pope has, but the church has also had a moderating influence. Opus Dei's clear choice has been to survive, which means that over the years they have moderated—they're much more open today than they were 50 years ago.
Some say that the organization is still far too secretive. How true is this? I'm not sure that today you can make an argument that Opus Dei is secretive in the sense that people normally mean it. One needs to distinguish between some Opus Dei members and Opus Dei corporate policy. It is certainly true that you will find some people in Opus Dei today who practice a kind of excessive practice of what's traditionally been called discretion.
Is that primarily a personal motivation? It's partly a spiritual rationale—the avoidance of self-aggrandisement. That is, one should be humble. I think part of it, too, is that, historically, because a lot of people didn't like Opus Dei, there was just a sense that it would be better not to be too upfront because you're just inviting hostility. A lot of that has given way. Their offices, their headquarters are a matter of public record—the information office puts out information about budgets and membership and all that kind of stuff. So I wouldn't say it was secretive.
A lot of media attention was paid last year when Ruth Kelly—who has connections with Opus Dei—was appointed as Britain's new secretary of state for education. Why was she reluctant to reveal her association with the group? Opus Dei takes the position that for supernumeraries [married members of the organization,] it's up to them whether or not they want to disclose their membership. In the case of public figures like Ruth Kelly, what this creates is a situation when journalists go to Ruth Kelly and ask, "Are you or aren't you in Opus Dei?" [and] she says, "I don't want to answer." So they go to Opus Dei, and Opus Dei have this position which says, "We're not going to 'out' our members," and so they're reduced to saying things like, "Well she's in touch with us." Again, if you follow the chain of reasoning, from their point of view you can understand why they end up saying things like that. But to the outside world that just looks like dissembling, it looks like a cover-up.
This also applies to property, doesn't it? Why are their schools, universities, for instance, not easily identifiable to the outside world? Their logic for that is, again, secularity. They don't want to be a religious community, and they don't want to run specifically religious enterprises—they want to run secular enterprises that have a Christian spirit. Therefore they don't want to be distinct from the rest of the world. That's one reason they don't wear habits.
Ruth Kelly's appointment heightened some people's concerns that Opus Dei is has a political agenda. How true is it that the organization is very political? There's a cardinal principle behind Opus Dei, and this goes back to Escrivà himself, that Opus Dei can never take political positions—corporately, it can never take political positions. On spiritual grounds it would compromise the notion of secularity—that political thinking is something for lay people to do, not for a church organization to do. Therefore, on questions that don't deal with faith and morals of the Catholic Church, there's great pluralism.
So there's no "Opus Dei plan," as some speculate, to infiltrate the European Parliament in Brussels? Based on my experience, moving around in this world, I just don't think it works like that. I just don't think there's an Opus Dei plan for European politics or anything else. I think there's a sociological reality, that the kind of people attracted to Opus Dei tend to be extremely hard working, tend to be pretty smart and pretty talented, and tend to be conservative, theologically and politically. Put these together and it's no surprise.
Why is work so important to them? The prime directive of Opus Dei is the sanctification of work … they’ll use that work as a means of redeeming the world, bringing a distinctively Christian approach to law or politics. Part of what that means in their approach to things is a real emphasis on meeting the highest standards of excellence in whatever occupation they’re in because you can’t redeem a work if, in the first place, you don’t do it well.
A common criticism of Opus Dei is that it appears to be a cliquey and elitist organization. Is it? There is some truth to that. Your point of departure has to be that this is a group that has been savagely attacked for decades, so there is a tendency for them to feel comfortable with one another than with outsiders. As far as the elitism goes, again I think there's no corporate policy that they want to be elitist. I went to nine countries for this book [and in] every country I would go to—every one—in addition to seeing top officials, Opus Dei would also get me to see a bus driver, barber or a mechanic because they know there is this perception of elitism and they want you to understand that there are also blue-collar people, which is true. But on the other hand I would say that, again, going back to the sociology, inside the Catholic Church, particularly for young practicing Catholics, it's a little bit like the Marines—you know, "the few, the proud." They tend to attract very driven, idealistic, hard-working, smart people, and therefore there probably is an overrepresentation of what you would consider elites inside Opus Dei which is not their fault, I just think it's the reality of what their market is. And frankly, even the bus drivers and barbers I met, these were damn hardworking bus drivers and barbers. © 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_point_of_view 1. The neutral point of view policy states that articles should be written without bias, representing all views fairly. The policy says that we should fairly represent all sides of a dispute, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct. It is crucial that Wikipedians work together to make articles unbiased. 2. The basic concept of neutrality At Wikipedia, we use the terms "unbiased" and "neutral point of view" in a precise way that is different from the common understanding: Articles without bias describe debates fairly rather than advocating any side of the debate. Since all articles are edited by people, this is difficult, as people are inherently biased.
3. The original formulation of NPOV A general purpose encyclopedia is a collection of synthesized knowledge presented from a neutral point of view. To whatever extent possible, encyclopedic writing should steer clear of taking any particular stance other than the stance of the neutral point of view. The neutral point of view attempts to present ideas and facts in such a fashion that both supporters and opponents can agree. Of course, 100% agreement is not possible Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic is to write about what people believe, rather than what is so. If this strikes you as somehow subjectivist or collectivist or imperialist, then ask me about it, because I think that you are just mistaken. What people believe is a matter of objective fact, and we can present that quite easily from the neutral point of view. --Jimbo Wales, Wikipedia founder 4. Why should Wikipedia be unbiased? Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia, which means it is a representation of human knowledge at some level of generality. How can we solve the problem of endless "edit wars" in which one person asserts that p, whereupon the next person changes the text so that it asserts not-p? A solution is that we accept, for the purposes of working on Wikipedia, that "human knowledge" includes all different significant theories on all different topics
We should, both individually and collectively, make an effort to present these conflicting views fairly, without advocating any one of them, with the qualification that views held only by a tiny minority of people should not be represented as though they are significant minority views, and perhaps should not be represented at all. 5. What is the neutral point of view? Unbiased writing presents conflicting views without asserting them. Unbiased writing does not present only the most popular view; it does not assert the most popular view is correct after presenting all views; it does not assert that some sort of intermediate view among the different views is the correct one….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 6. Now an important qualification: 6.a. 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. That 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. None of this, however, is to say that minority views cannot receive as much attention as we can possibly give them on pages specifically devoted to those views. There is no size limit to Wikipedia. But even on such pages, though a view is spelled out possibly in great detail, we still make sure that the view is not represented as the truth. 6.b. From Jimbo Wales, September 2003, on the mailing list: · If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts; · If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents; · If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it doesn't belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it's true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not. 6.c. Re important qualification: more explanation from the NPOV Tutorial: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NPOV_tutorial Space and balance Different views don't all deserve equal space. Articles need to be interesting to attract and keep the attention of readers. For an entry in an encyclopedia, ideas also need to be important. The amount of space they deserve depends on their importance and how many interesting things can be said about them. One measure of a view's importance is the credibility of the experts who hold that view. 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)
6.d. In other words, an idea's popularity alone does not determine its importance. Few people may know that a belief is wrong, but sometimes that is because most are unaware of the evidence against it. If you are not an expert in a subject yourself, your intuition that an article is biased may not be reliable. Keep an open mind and ask others about the evidence.
7. The vital component: good research Many POV battles would be made much easier through the practice of good research. Facts are not points of view in and of themselves. So an easy way to avoid making a statement that promotes a point of view is to find a reputable source for a fact and cite the source. This is an easy way to characterize a side of a debate without promoting a view. The trick is to find the best and most reputable source you can. Try the library for good books and journal articles, and look for the most reliable online resources. A little bit of ground work can save a lot of time in trying to justify a point later. The only other important consideration is that while a fact is not POV in and of itself, adding facts, no matter how well cited, from only one side of a debate is a POV problem. So work for balance. Find facts that aren't from one side or the other and cite the source. 8. Fairness and sympathetic tone If we're going to characterize disputes fairly, we should present competing views with a consistently positive, sympathetic tone. Many articles end up as partisan commentary even while presenting both points of view. Even when a topic is presented in terms of facts rather than opinion, an article can still radiate an implied stance through either selection of which facts to present, or more subtly their organization — for instance, refuting opposing views as one goes along makes them look a lot worse than collecting them in an opinions-of-opponents section. We should, instead, write articles with the tone that all positions presented are at least plausible, bearing in mind the important qualification about extreme minority views.Let's present all significant, competing views sympathetically. We can write with the attitude that such-and-such is a good idea, except that, on the view of some detractors, the supporters of said view overlooked such-and-such a detail. 9. Giving "equal validity" Please be clear on one thing: the Wikipedia neutrality policy certainly does not state, or imply, that we must "give equal validity" to minority views. It does state that we must not take a stand on them qua encyclopedia writers; but that does not stop us from describing the majority views as such; from fairly explaining the strong arguments against the pseudoscientific theory; from describing the strong moral repugnance that many people feel toward some morally repugnant views; and so forth.
1. Degrees of verifiability There are degrees of verifiability. At the one end, there are facts that can be verified fairly quickly by most editors, requiring only resources available over the internet, or at the local library. At the other end of the scale are facts that can only be verified by subject matter experts. If you are writing on a well-studied field, then it's possible that most of the editors will be reasonably acquainted with the topic, and you can be a bit more relaxed about verifiability. However, if you are writing about a more obscure topic, then you may find that many of the editors have never previously heard of the thing you are writing about, and you should take this into account. 2. Checking verifiability There are several reasons you might want to verify something in an article: · The author has a record of contributing inaccurate or misleading information. · The author has a conflict of interest. · There are other errors in the article, and the entire thing needs to be checked. · The article is the subject of an accuracy dispute. · The subject area is one where errors are frequent. · The statement is implausible on its surface. · The statement is key to the entry as a whole. · The statement is overly vague. 3. 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. Sometimes a particular statement can only be verified at a place of dubious reliability, such as a weblog ("blog") or a tabloid newspaper. If the statement is relatively unimportant, then just remove it - don't waste words on statements of limited interest and dubious truth. However, if you must keep it, then attribute it to the source in question. For example: According to the weblog Simply Relative, the average American has 3.8 cousins and 7.4 nephews and nieces. Remember that it is easy for anybody to create a web site and entitle oneself to be an expert in an area, or to start an "expert group", "human right group", church or other type of association. Svereal million people have created their own blogs in the last few years. Thus, one must assess whether the source is verifiable. In the case of a source of facts: is the source a noted expert in the area? Does the source write blatant errors? Has the source followed journalistic or academic standards of ethical investigation? In the case of a source of opinion: is the source notable? Does it stand for a large group of people?
Amount of citation detail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Cite_sources A citation should include enough information to allow a reader to find your sources. In particular, be sure to give page numbers or section numbers of a lengthy work if only a small portion is referenced (and it's not immediately obvious where to look). Sometimes, you may want to give a more complete explanation of how you know something, or why your sources are credible. If the issue is important, please consider discussing that in the article itself. After all, other readers may need that information as well. Otherwise, you can leave a note on the article's talk page. This won't necessarily help readers, but it can help later Wikipedians trying to improve the article. Marax 03:18, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Prominent Opus Dei Members
If we have names of "confirmed" Opus Dei members, should they be added? Admittedly, the only one I can find right now is Ruth Kelly, the new United Kingdom Education Secretary, which is hardly prominent internationally, but The Times confirmed here  that she is a member. Her general scientific views have been attacked but not her membership of Opus Dei. --MJW 23:55, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
- Although I am not a supporter of Opus Dei, I do not have a vendetta and think people should not be harrassed because of their membership of Opus Dei. However, I think it is okay to list known members of Opus Dei as long is there is clear and documented evidence of their membership. --Peacenik 00:33, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
- Ruth Kelly certainly has links with Opus Dei but membership has not been confirmed by either Kelly or Opus Dei. Her brother, Ronan, is a member and she has attended meetings of the group. My hunch is that she is a suporter rather than a numerary, but that is only a hunch JASpencer
I find this article to be scandal mongering. No proof is presented for many of the charges made and hashing up gossip should not be the purpose of an encyclopedia article. Should all the spurious charges against John Kerry be put in an encyclopedia? This very much resembles the antiCatholic slurs prevalent on the 19th century.
- You pick a bad example. Wikipedia does indeed report quite a few spurious charges against John Kerry. JamesMLane 05:23, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
How a far right group like Opus Dei can infiltrate New Labour is a good sign of the extent to which they have degenerated. They will be recruiting from the BNP next.
"Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain. . . Glorified be pain!" (Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei The Way, 208).
The idea of putting someone with such backward views on gay people (for example) in charge of the education of our children is disgusting.
(this contribution by Derekmcmillan)
I thought the gay community would be against people being discriminated against because of their beliefs about sexuality. This language sounds very like what was being said about gay teachers forty years ago. DJ Clayworth 18:16, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Just so everybody is aware, user 220.127.116.11 is subject to a decision by the arbitration committee banning him from making POV edits, or edits to specific articles. This is not one of the prohibited articles, but any POV edits area subject to restriction. DJ Clayworth 14:53, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Can someone summarize why is the POV tag being left at the top of the article? In my opinion it could be removed now. --Eleassar777 17:09, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I removed it now. --Eleassar777 08:36, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Ruth Kelly doesn't deserve more than a summary sentence in this article. More discussion should go in her article. And remember, we write what we know, not what we speculate about or think might be the case. DJ Clayworth 15:25, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
maybe it would be a good idea to add some info about norms the members are supposed to fulfill every day? But I don't know the Work very well so I am not capable to write sth dowm...--Macronyx 22:57, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)