Last March, the food-safety organization GMO Free Mendocino did something no group had ever done: It ushered through a law banning genetically engineered crops and livestock.
It was a David-thrashes-Goliath victory. Opponents of the legislation, led by the agricultural trade group CropLife America, outspent the anti-GMO activists by a nearly 10-1 ratio. But GMO Free Mendocino had a secret weapon: a film, then a work in progress, called The Future of Food.
The new documentary, created by Deborah Koons Garcia, uses archival footage and interviews with farmers and agriculture experts to argue that GMO foods are jeopardizing our food safety. During the past 10 years, the film tells us, genetically engineered crops have infected our food supply and undermined cultivation methods that have been refined over thousands of years.
The Future of Food lays out a detailed case against genetically engineered crops. Exploring a gamut of issues from so-called suicide seeds to lax food-safety enforcement laws, and from the controversy over patented genes to infected cornfields, the film is a comprehensive and chilling example of anti-GMO rhetoric.
GMO Free Mendocino spokesman Doug Mosel described The Future of Food as a major factor in the passage of Measure H, which banned the use of GMO farming within Mendocino County, California.
"The Future of Food could be the Fahrenheit 9/11 of the genetically engineered food battle," Mosel said. The film is currently touring festivals and other events, including an upcoming screening in San Francisco.
Garcia, Jerry Garcia's third and final wife, has been interested in the ways plants can be mutated since childhood. At 15, she won a science fair award for an experiment involving irradiated plants, and she has followed the evolution of genetic engineering for years.
"My goal was to make a film that gave the average person a clear understanding of how genetic engineering works, from the cellular level to the global level," Garcia said. "I'm hoping this film can be a combination of Silent Spring and The Battle of Algiers. Once you see it you'll feel compelled to act, even if that means just changing the kind of food you eat."
Though The Future of Food is not intended as a two-sides-to-the-story analysis, Garcia said she requested interviews from representatives at Monsanto, the multinational seed and pesticide giant that is driving the genetically engineered food movement. She did not receive a response.
Perhaps Monsanto is trying to keep a low profile. The company has suffered a string of well-publicized setbacks to its genetically engineered crop initiatives in recent years, including closure of its GMO wheat project in May.
According to agriculture expert Chuck Benbrook, Monsanto and other biotech agriculture companies are "retrenching -- reducing their research, reducing projections for profits, watching the range of viable applications shrinking."
Benbrook served in the Carter and Reagan administrations before becoming executive director of the Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences. In his various positions, he watched as biotech companies rushed products to market. The first GMO foods reached shelves in 1997.
Though scientists were initially supportive to the point of being myopic -- Benbrook described early reports from the National Academy as "unadulterated boosterism" -- biotech foods today look less promising than they did even a few years ago. According to Benbrook, genetic engineering has failed to solve the problems advocates hoped it would. And, he added, food-safety concerns remain unresolved.
"The biotech industry is beginning to recognize that there are lots of reasons why it's hard to move genes across boundaries," Benbrook said. "Scientists have found ways around the natural protections, but there are really good reasons for them being there, and we violate them at some cost."
For five-sixths of the problems that genetic engineering promises to address, Benbrook added, genetic solutions are not necessary.
GMO companies are also finding increased resistance on the legal front. In April, Vermont became the first state to require registration and labeling of genetically modified products. According to one anti-GMO site, nearly 100 towns in New England have approved some sort of anti-GMO legislation.
Since the Mendocino law was signed, Garcia said as many as a dozen other California municipalities have drawn up similar legislation.
"The Future of Food has already helped change policy," Garcia said. "I think it is possible to make California GE-free, and it's exciting to think that the film could have some role in that."
Terminator technology refers to plants that have been genetically modified to render sterile seeds at harvest – it is also called Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURTS. Terminator technology was developed by the multinational seed/agrochemical industry and the United States government to prevent farmers from saving and re-planting harvested seed. Terminator has not yet been commercialized or field-tested but tests are currently being conducted in greenhouses in the United States.
“Terminator is a direct assault on farmers and indigenous cultures and on food sovereignty. It threatens the well-being of all rural people, primarily the very poorest.”
- Rafael Alegría of Via Campesina, an organization representing over 10 million peasant farmers worldwide.
Terminator Technologie: Das Comeback des Suizid-Saatguts Hintergrund (pdf) (html)
Tecnologia Terminator: As Sementes Suicidas Estão de Volta! Antecedentes (pdf) (html)
Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTs) is the “official” name for Terminator technology that is used at the United Nations and by scientists. It refers to a general category of technologies that, in their design, provide a mechanism to switch previously introduced genes on or off, using external inducers like chemicals or physical stimuli (e.g. heat shock). This mechanism allows for restricted use or performance of transgenes. There are two main categories of GURTs, namely trait-related or T-GURTs and variety-related or V-GURTs. Whilst T-GURTs aims to control the use of traits such as insect resistance, stress tolerance or production of nutrients, V-GURTs aims to control reproductive processes that will result in seed sterility, thus affecting the viability of the whole variety. (V-GURTs is a concept, with many different potential designs.) The ability to switch the GURTs mechanism on or off externally enables the producer to exercise control either over traits or the viability of seeds (Source: EcoNexus www.econexus.info)
Percy Schmeiser (the Canadian farmer who took on Monsanto after his crops were contaminated by their GM seed) asks what kind of a legacy we want to leave for future generations.
Percy Schmeiser discusses the potential effect of Terminator on removing farmers' rights and abilities to recover from blight and disease in crops.
Dr Vandana Shiva discusses the health impacts of eating "dead food".
Dr Vandana Shiva contrasts the prayer of farmers - for seed to always have life - to the prayer of the corporations pushing Terminator Technology.
Dr Vandana Shiva talks about the impacts of releasing terminator into ecosystems.
Dr Vandana Shiva at Terminator on Trial describes terminator as a "crime against nature".
A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.
In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.
The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.
Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.
Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training.
The documents were obtained by The New York Times from the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit legal-assistance group for government whistle-blowers.
The project is representing Rick S. Piltz, who resigned in March as a senior associate in the office that coordinates government climate research. That office, now called the Climate Change Science Program, issued the documents that Mr. Cooney edited.
A White House spokeswoman, Michele St. Martin, said yesterday that Mr. Cooney would not be available to comment. "We don't put Phil Cooney on the record," Ms. St. Martin said. "He's not a cleared spokesman."
In one instance in an October 2002 draft of a regularly published summary of government climate research, "Our Changing Planet," Mr. Cooney amplified the sense of uncertainty by adding the word "extremely" to this sentence: "The attribution of the causes of biological and ecological changes to climate change or variability is extremely difficult."
In a section on the need for research into how warming might change water availability and flooding, he crossed out a paragraph describing the projected reduction of mountain glaciers and snowpack. His note in the margins explained that this was "straying from research strategy into speculative findings/musings."
Other White House officials said the changes made by Mr. Cooney were part of the normal interagency review that takes place on all documents related to global environmental change. Robert Hopkins, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, noted that one of the reports Mr. Cooney worked on, the administration's 10-year plan for climate research, was endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences. And Myron Ebell, who has long campaigned against limits on greenhouse gases as director of climate policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian group, said such editing was necessary for "consistency" in meshing programs with policy.
But critics said that while all administrations routinely vetted government reports, scientific content in such reports should be reviewed by scientists. Climate experts and representatives of environmental groups, when shown examples of the revisions, said they illustrated the significant if largely invisible influence of Mr. Cooney and other White House officials with ties to energy industries that have long fought greenhouse-gas restrictions.
In a memorandum sent last week to the top officials dealing with climate change at a dozen agencies, Mr. Piltz said the White House editing and other actions threatened to taint the government's $1.8 billion-a-year effort to clarify the causes and consequences of climate change.
"Each administration has a policy position on climate change," Mr. Piltz wrote. "But I have not seen a situation like the one that has developed under this administration during the past four years, in which politicization by the White House has fed back directly into the science program in such a way as to undermine the credibility and integrity of the program."A senior Environmental Protection Agency scientist who works on climate questions said the White House environmental council, where Mr. Cooney works, had offered valuable suggestions on reports from time to time. But the scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because all agency employees are forbidden to speak with reporters without clearance, said the kinds of changes made by Mr. Cooney had damaged morale. "I have colleagues in other agencies who express the same view, that it has somewhat of a chilling effect and has created a sense of frustration," he said.
Efforts by the Bush administration to highlight uncertainties in science pointing to human-caused warming have put the United States at odds with other nations and with scientific groups at home.
Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who met with President Bush at the White House yesterday, has been trying to persuade him to intensify United States efforts to curb greenhouse gases. Mr. Bush has called only for voluntary measures to slow growth in emissions through 2012.
Yesterday, saying their goal was to influence that meeting, the scientific academies of 11 countries, including those of the United States and Britain, released a joint letter saying, "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action."
The American Petroleum Institute, where Mr. Cooney worked before going to the White House, has long taken a sharply different view. Starting with the negotiations leading to the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty in 1997, it has promoted the idea that lingering uncertainties in climate science justify delaying restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases.
On learning of the White House revisions, representatives of some environmental groups said the effort to amplify uncertainties in the science was clearly intended to delay consideration of curbs on the gases, which remain an unavoidable byproduct of burning oil and coal.
"They've got three more years, and the only way to control this issue and do nothing about it is to muddy the science," said Eileen Claussen, the president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a private group that has enlisted businesses in programs cutting emissions.
Mr. Cooney's alterations can cause clear shifts in meaning. For example, a sentence in the October 2002 draft of "Our Changing Planet" originally read, "Many scientific observations indicate that the Earth is undergoing a period of relatively rapid change." In a neat, compact hand, Mr. Cooney modified the sentence to read, "Many scientific observations point to the conclusion that the Earth may be undergoing a period of relatively rapid change."
A document showing a similar pattern of changes is the 2003 "Strategic Plan for the United States Climate Change Science Program," a thick report describing the reorganization of government climate research that was requested by Mr. Bush in his first speech on the issue, in June 2001. The document was reviewed by an expert panel assembled in 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists largely endorsed the administration's research plan, but they warned that the administration's procedures for vetting reports on climate could result in excessive political interference with science.
Another political appointee who has played an influential role in adjusting language in government reports on climate science is Dr. Harlan L. Watson, the chief climate negotiator for the State Department, who has a doctorate in solid-state physics but has not done climate research.
In an Oct. 4, 2002 memo to James R. Mahoney, the head of the United States Climate Change Science Program and an appointee of Mr. Bush, Mr. Watson "strongly" recommended cutting boxes of text referring to the findings of a National Academy of Sciences panel on climate and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that periodically reviews research on human-caused climate change.
The boxes, he wrote, "do not include an appropriate recognition of the underlying uncertainties and the tentative nature of a number of the assertions."
While those changes were made nearly two years ago, recent statements by Dr. Watson indicate that the admnistration's position has not changed.
"We are still not convinced of the need to move forward quite so quickly," he told the BBC in London last month. "There is general agreement that there is a lot known, but also there is a lot to be known."(link)
Theologians Under Hitler
In the days after World War II, a convenient story was told of church leaders and ordinary Christians that defied the Nazis from the beginning. Recent research has uncovered a very different story. Rather than resisting, the greater part of the German church saw Hitler's rise in 1933 as an act of God's blessing, a new chapter in the story of God among the German people. (link)
1. Letter from Escriva to Franco (link)
In the following letter, Opus Dei founder, Escriva, congratulates Spanish dictator Francisco Franco on the union of church and state in Spain. According to Giles Tremlett , "Opus Dei's 84,000 members around the world deny [Escriva] actively supported Franco;" however, this document shows that at the very least Escriva admired Franco.
Opus Dei also denies that the organization has a political agenda, and claims that its members have complete freedom as well as personal responsibility for their actions. However, the following quote from Escriva's book The Way, which Alberto Moncada  describes as a summary of Escriva's "national catholicism," illustrates how difficult it would be for a member of Opus Dei to reconcile this personal freedom with his counsel:
"Nonsectarianism. Neutrality. Those old myths that always try to seem new. Have you ever bothered to think how absurd it is to leave one's catholicism aside on entering a university, or a professional association, or a scholarly meeting, or Congress, as if you were checking your hat at the door?"
Letter from Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
to Francisco Franco, May 23, 1958
The following letter, translated from Spanish (original Spanish text found here) was published in the January-February, 2001 issue of Razón Española (magazine title means Spanish Reason). Copies of this and other letters from Msgr. Escrivá de Balaguer to Franco are kept in the Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco (National Foundation of Francisco Franco) (Marqués de Urquijo, 28, 28008 Madrid, Spain). The originals belong to Generalísimo Franco’s only daughter, Carmen.
To his Excellency Francisco Franco Bahamonde, Head of State of Spain
I wish to add my sincerest personal congratulation to the many you have received on the occasion of the promulgation of the Fundamental Principles.
My forced absence from our homeland in service of God and souls, far from weakening my love for Spain, has, if it were possible, increased it. From the perspective of the eternal city of Rome, I have been able to see better than ever the beauty of that especially beloved daughter of the church which is my homeland, which the Lord has so often used as an instrument for the defense and propagation of the holy, Catholic faith in the world.
Although alien to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.” It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority, will always be found.
I ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission entrusted to you.
Please accept, Excellency, the expression of my deepest personal esteem and be assured of my prayers for all your family.
Most devotedly yours in the Lord,
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Rome, May 23, 1958
 "Sainthood beckons for priest linked to Franco: Controversial founder of Opus Dei will becanonised tomorrow," by Giles Tremlett, Madrid, The Guardian, Saturday October 5, 2002.
 "Evolution of Opus Dei," by Alberto Moncada. This article was originally published in Spanish as "La Evolucion del Opus Dei en Espana" (Ponencia al VI Congreso Español de Sociología, A Coruña, 1999).
 The Way by Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.
Posted April 24, 2004 - ODAN Opus Dei Awareness Network
ODAN's Opposition to the Canonization of Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer
September 11, 2002
ODAN opposes the canonization of Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei. Based on the testimonies of thousands negatively affected by Opus Dei, and published evidence from various sources revealing the irregularities surrounding Escriva's beatification and canonization processes, ODAN strongly believes that canonizing Escriva would be a grave mistake which would produce irreparable harm to the Church and leave thousands vulnerable to the deceitful and manipulative practices of Opus Dei. Specific details and reasons for opposing Escriva's canonization follow:
Facts & Irregularities in the Escriva Canonization
The quotes and facts below are taken from Kenneth Woodward's article, "A Questionable Saint, Is Opus Dei's founder fit for canonization?" Newsweek, January 13, 1992; from the official Opus Dei website; from Kenneth Woodward in his book, "The Helpers of God: How the Catholic Church makes Its Saints" National Catholic Register World Notes May 10, 1992; from Kenneth Woodward's article "A Coming-Out Party in Rome, Opus Dei prepares to stand by its man," Newsweek, May 18 1992; from the Vatican website; and from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
1. Based on materials worked up by a team of Opus Dei priests, John Paul II declared Escriva "heroically virtuous" in April 1990.
2. In July 1991, a miraculous healing authenticated, in part, by Opus Dei doctors was attributed to Escriva's intercession.
3. There is no devil's advocate to systematically challenge a candidate's claim to holiness. Thus some Vatican officials said Opus Dei was able to use its influence to manipulate the church's saint-making system for the benefit of its founder.
4. Opus Dei's first prelate, Alvaro del Portillo, who was also Escriva's successor, was a consultor to several congregations and councils of the Holy See, such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. As a member of the Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law, he also helped in the drafting of the current Code that eliminated the "devil's advocate," promulgated by John Paul II in 1983.
5. An Opus Dei member, Dr. Raffaello-Cortesini, a heart surgeon, headed the medical board that reviews potential miracles for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
6. Serious charges were brought that Opus Dei prevented critics of Escriva from testifying at church tribunals called to investigate his life. Opus Dei officials insist that 11 critics were heard among 92 witnesses. Several former members were refused a hearing. Among them: Maria del Carmen Tapia, Father Vladimir Feltzman and John Roche.
7. Escriva defended Adolf Hitler. He told Father Feltzman that "Hitler had been unjustly accused of killing 6 million Jews." "In fact he had killed only 4 million."
8. Even some Opus Dei sympathizers, like retired Cardinal Silvio Oddi who served the Vatican for decades in key posts, believe the push to make Escriva a Saint has done Opus Dei "more harm than good". Although bishops are reluctant to criticize Opus Dei openly, says Oddi, many are "very displeased" by the rush to judgment and see "no need for the immediate beatification of their founder."
9. Normally to assess potential saints the Vatican appoints "consultors" who come from the candidate's homeland. Curiously, eight of Escriva's nine judges were Italian - a sign say critics that the congregation wanted to avoid Spanish theologians, many of whom are known to oppose Opus Dei. Opus Dei officials argue that because Escriva was an international figure and lived in Rome, there was no need to have Spanish judges.
10. Opus Dei has refused to let outsiders see the material on which Escriva's "heroic virtues" were judged -- an unprecedented act of secrecy, say priests familiar with the process.
11. Opus Dei officials have claimed that Escriva's cause had been unanimously approved. However Newsweek has learned that two of the judges, Msgr. Luigi De Magistris, deputy head of the Vatican's Holy Penitentiary, and Msgr. Justo Fernandez Alonso, rector of the Spanish National Church in Rome, did not approve the cause. In fact, one of the dissenters reportedly wrote that beatifying Escriva could cause the church "grave public scandal."
12. Under Pope Paul VI, Opus Dei was suspect. Vatican documents show that Paul worried that Opus Dei priests in the Vatican were leaking confidential decisions to Escriva.
13. John Paul II has increased the number of Opus Dei bishops . . . (there were only 4 before, all in Latin America) and granted Opus its own Pontifical "atheneum" in Rome despite objections from the rectors of the Church's established pontifical universities.
14. In 1982 John Paul II awarded Opus Dei a unique status as "personal prelature" which means its clerical and lay members take spiritual direction from their own prelate in Rome and not like other Catholics from their local bishop.
15. Opus Dei's real power is inside the Vatican bureaucracy . . .several ranking cardinals and at least one of the pope's personal secretaries, Father Stanislaw Dziwisz from Cracow are either [Opus Dei] "cooperators" or like the Pope himself, strong sympathizers.
16. Officials who supervise the media-conscious pope's liaisons with television are members of Opus Dei.
17. Officials of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints not only gave the cause top priority but, as the official positio on Escriva shows, they also bent rules to exclude damaging evidence about Escriva's character and commitment to the church.
18. The positio claims that the volatile Escriva lost his temper only once, yet many former members who knew him will insist he was routinely abusive of anyone suspected of being an enemy of Opus Dei, including Pope John XXIII and Paul VI. Former numerary Maria del Carmen Tapia relates in her book Beyond the Threshold: A Life in Opus Dei that Escriva routinely lost his temper, and that as secretary in charge of writing down his words and actions, she was not allowed to right down anything negative that she witnessed. She herself was subjected to abusive words from Escriva, who called her the most filthy names, e.g. WHORE, SOW, PIG, and then screamed during this meeting with both men and women present, that someone should "pull down her panties.... and give her a spanking," referring to a fellow numerary woman who had assisted Tapia by mailing letters for her. Regarding this statement, a supporter of ODAN wrote the following: "This is the most bizarre and perverted talk coming from anyone, man or woman, but for a man to say this to an adult woman...for a priest to use this language and make this statement to a woman; for a saint to make this statement, completely perverts not only the rules of civilized behavior, but sanctity itself. There is no excuse for this conduct, no excuse at all. This, in and of itself, belies his sanctity."
19. A Vatican source said, contrary to established procedure, no published writings critical of Escriva were included in the documents given to the judges of his cause; nor did the congregation investigate Escriva's celebrated conflicts with the Jesuits, reports of his pro-fascist leanings and Opus Dei's involvement with the Franco government.
20. 40% of the testimony came from just two men, (Alvaro) Portillo (deceased Opus Dei prelate and Escriva's successor) and his assistant Father Javier Echevarria, (current Opus Dei prelate).
21. Although 1,300 bishops and cardinals from all over the world had written to the Vatican giving positive statements on the Opus Dei founder, only 128 of them had actually met him in person.
22. According to [Woodward's] research, Opus Dei members allegedly have put hundreds of bishops under financial pressure in order to have them send positive reports about Escriva to the Vatican. Especially in the Third World, bishops were allegedly told that financial contributions from Opus Dei might be in jeopardy if they did not answer the request for positive testimony.
23. The "devil's advocate" that had been part of the canonization process before 1983 was replaced by a "relator"; thus the door was open for the rapid canonization of Escriva. (Note that the current Opus Dei prelate at the time, Portillo, was part of the committee that eliminated the devil's advocate.) In the past, it was the job of the devil's advocate to ask "why shouldn't this person be canonized?"
Feedback from ODAN supporters:
(Opinions held by the persons below do not necessarily reflect the views of ODAN, its officers or Board of Directors.)
Joseph I. B. Gonzales, Former numerary, six years
The problem is not the man. It is the institutionalization of the man.
My real concern is that his faults--his harshness, duplicity, or immoderation, for example--should by the fact of canonization render these traits dubiously normative, not only for Opus Dei but for all Catholics as well.
I hope that now that Josemaria Escriva is canonized, his life and the organization he founded will be opened up to the critical perspective that time and reflection by necessity lends to the fair understanding of the lives of the saints. At this point we may perhaps begin to acknowledge the glaring reality of his defects as well as their potentially damaging influence, just as today we easily recognize the vindictiveness of St. Jerome, the rigorism of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, or the neuroticism of St. Therese of Lisieux.
Joseph Gonzales has written the Vocation Trap for the odan website.
Dr. John Roche, Linacre College, Oxford
"I am concerned about the harm that the canonization of Josemaria Escriva will do to the reputation of the whole process of beatification and canonization."
To read Dr. Roche's personal testimony of his experience as a numerary in Opus Dei, please read his True Story, "The Inner World of Opus Dei."
John Roche has also added the following points to the list of Facts and Irregularities in the Canonization of Monsignor Escriva:
1. Words of Monsignor Escriva
"... as Jesus received his doctrine from the Father, so my doctrine is not mine but comes from God and so not a jot or tittle shall ever be changed" (Cronica);
"I will pass away, and those who come afterwards will look at you with envy as if you were a relic" (Cronica i, 1971);
". . . when I think of this divine predilection, I feel ashamed" (Cronica i, 1971);
"As we come to know the Work ... not finding other more expressive words of love, perhaps we had to have recourse to scripture: tota pulchra est, amica mea, et macula non est in te (Song of Songs 4:7) ... the Work is tota pulchra ... this wonderful jewel that men admire" (Cronica v, 1960);
2. Words about Monsignor Escriva, from the internal magazine, Cronica, while he still lived
"The heritage of heaven comes to us through the Father" (Cronica i, 1961);
" ... we will bless the Lord ... because He chose our Father as the firm base for a Work projected through all the length and breadth of time" (Cronica i, 1971);
"God's grace prepared the priestly soul of our Father, making it to the measure of Christ's heart, that is open to the multitude that our Lord wanted to call to his Work with the passing of time, and even to all humanity" (Cronica i, 1971);
3. Facts about the Founder
L. Carandell, Vida y milagros de monsenor Escriva ... (Barcelona, 1975), 62-67. On 24 January 1968 Mgr. Escriva solicited the title 'Marquis of Peralta' claiming that there was a family connection. He was granted the title. At the same time his brother, Santiago, solicited the title 'Baron of San Felipe'
4. Testimony of former members
During the period 1959-1973, while I was a member of Opus Dei, it was frequently stated publicly at get-togethers of members of Opus Dei, that Monsignor Escriva had stated often that places where important events happened to him during the early years of Opus Dei would become centers of international pilgrimage -- John Roche
In July 1973, in Galway, Ireland, Fr Daniel Cummings, the then Procurator-General of Opus Dei informed me the Monsignor Escriva was divinely inspired to found Opus Dei, that he could not err in matters of the spirit of opus Dei, and that, therefore, as a condition of membership I must believe in that Divine inspiration -- John Roche
"On one occasion the Father was given the news that ... an old priest ... of Opus Dei ... had a severe haemorrhage and was near to death. Monsignor Escriva replied that this son of his lacked supernatural outlook, that he wished to go outside without wearing his cassock" -- Maria Angustias Moreno, El Opus Dei, 1993, 57.
Other comments about the canonization
Kenneth L. Woodward, Newsweek New York, NY
Fair to Opus Dei? Letter to the Editor of First Things, 61, March 1996, 2-7
I am pleased that Richard John Neuhaus ("The Work of God," November 1995) finds me "often fair-minded," though I suspect that is only when my views mirror his -- as they often do. That he detects a "long-standing hostility to Opus Dei" is not quite fair-minded of Father Neuhaus. My writing about Opus Dei has focused almost entirely on the beatification of its founder, not the organization itself. On this point, the only fair-minded conclusion I can reach, given the evidence of the positio itself and interviews with people in Rome involved in the process, is that Opus Dei subverted the canonization process to get its man beatified. In a word, it was a scandal -- from the conduct of the tribunals through the writing of the positio to the high-handed treatment of the experts picked to judge the cause. That Newsweek caught Opus Dei officials making claims that were not true is a matter of record. Escriva may have been a saint -- who am I to judge? but you could never tell from the way his cause was handled. Then, too, there is the matter of the banality of his writings, especially the axioms. Not the sort of stuff, I think, to build a spiritual community around. As for the organization itself, I'm sure it meets the needs of some Catholics. But as a parent, I am naturally inclined to worry about its methods and to take more seriously than does Father Neuhaus the complaints of those who feel they have lost a child to the organization. I, too, thought Jim Martin did a good job in his America piece, and am sorry only that so many folks felt they could not speak on the record. Whatever else it does, Opus Dei strikes fear in the timid and the mitered. I've met some likable people in Opus Dei but I'd hate to have my daughter marry one. To be fair-minded, I wouldn't want her to wed a Jesuit either, though I hope she'd ask one to say the nuptial mass.
Kenneth Woodward is the author of Making Saints, How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn't, and Why, Simon and Schuster, 1990, in which he writes about Opus Dei and Escriva's beatification on pp. 383-389. One former numerary testifies that this book is on Opus Dei's Index of Forbidden Books, with the most restricted classification.
Revised June 20, 2005.
3. Clerical fascism (link)
Retrieved from Wikipedia
Clerical fascism is an ideological construct that combines the political and economic doctrines of fascism with theology or religious tradition. The term has been used to describe organisations and movements that combine religious elements with fascism, support by religious organisations for fascism, or fascist regimes in which clergy play a leading role. For Catholic clerical fascism, the term Catholic integralism is sometimes used, though Catholic integralism does not necessarily go together with fascism.
Examples of dictatorships or political movements involving elements of clerical fascism include those of Antonio Salazar in Portugal, Maurice Duplessis of Quebec, Engelbert Dollfuss in Austria, Jozef Tiso in Slovakia, Ante Pavelic and the Ustashe in Croatia, Miklos Horthy in Hungary, the Iron Guard movement in Romania, the Rexists in Belgium and the government of Vichy France. The regime of Francisco Franco Bahamonde in Spain had nacionalcatolicismo as part of its ideology. It has been described by some as clerical fascist, especially after the decline in influence of the Falange beginning in the mid-1940s. With the exception of the Croatian Ustashe movement, scholars debate which other examples in this list should be dubbed, without reservation, clerical fascist.Some scholars consider certain contemporary movements to be forms of clerical fascism, including Christian Identity and possibly Christian Reconstructionism in the United States; some militant forms of politicized Islamic fundamentalism; and militant Hindu nationalism in India (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh / Bharatiya Janata Party)
4. Christian fascism (link)
For example, the Reverend Rich Lang of the Trinity United Methodist Church of Seattle, gave a sermon titled George Bush and the Rise of Christian Fascism in which he said "I want to flesh out the ideology of the Christian Fascism that Mr. Bush articulates. It is a form of Christianity that is the mirror opposite of what Jesus embodied. It is, indeed, the materialization of the spirit of antichrist: a perversion of Christian faith and practice...".
Some who use the term Christian fascism do not describe an existing state of fascism, but rather an emerging proto-fascism, and warn that action is needed to stop the possible emergence of a theocratic fascist state.Critics of the term "Christian fascism" dismiss it as hyperbolic, and an "ill-advised attack on conservative Christians"