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Following is an excerpt from a Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, Inc. For the complete letter, please click on Lexis-Nexis by Credit Card.

Attacks on Opus Dei are unfounded, biased
March 10, 1999, Letter to the Editor regarding article "Path of Opus Dei leads to debate" by Ernest Tucker, Chicago Sun-Times, February 28, 1999.

"However, it would seem that Tammy DiNicola is hardly an unbiased and qualified source of information. Her accusation that Opus Dei is "cultlike" is a direct consequence of what she herself refers to as "an intervention."

I am personally acquainted with the process by which young people meet and join Opus Dei since my youngest son, John, joined when he was a junior in high school. He went on to study at Harvard, and is presently a professor of communications at the Opus Dei-run Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He will be ordained a priest for Opus Dei in September. His decision to join Opus Dei in his teens was free; his continued membership is the result of a free choice.

As a practicing psychologist, I can say that what DiNicola calls "an intervention" is in fact a traumatic psychological experience. At the instigation of disgruntled parents, a member of a group is sequestered by deception with the intent of forcibly extracting the person from the group. A team of self-proclaimed "experts" submits the person to an intense barrage of psychologically intimidating, highly distorted information, without the ability to communicate with the outside world.

This is followed by several weeks of continued so-called deprogramming. The process costs thousands of dollars and leaves the person with permanent psychological scars. One of the psychological techniques used to keep the "cured" person from going back to the group from which they were forcibly removed is to reprogram them to attack what they formerly found attractive. This is the origin of the Opus Dei Awareness Network."

Leroy A. Wauck, professor emeritus of clinical psychology
Loyola University, Park Ridge