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Interpretation of The Way (Opus Dei main spirituality book)

Opus Dei : A Dialogue Between Friend and Foe

INTERPRETATION OF THE WAY (in your F.A.Q., following the same order )

AS you said that the evil of that book is obvious and sufficient to condemn OD, and that it is "the most important source of information", it is very important to see if you understood what you've read, and if you took the means to do so. I will show that your reading is so consistently distorted that no one can believe you have not simply projected your hatred and bias on this book. The clue here is that it is something systematic in your case, not a misinterpretation here and there. So if criticism of the Way is the main instrument of your criticism of OD, in a purely livresque manner, one may wonder what will be left of the latter.

You're dead wrong when you say that writing in "points" or aphorisms has the form of axiomatic truth. It may be the case for Nietzsche, a theoretician, but generally speaking, the exact reverse is true: aphorisms are for practical thinking, that is,in the case of religion, that part of theology that is called spirituality, and that book is explicitly a spirituality book.It's incredible you didn't see this. That genre is cultivated by all writers with practical intention (e.g. Cioran) and there is even a school called the Moralists who have done only that (La Rochefoucauld, Vauvenargues, La Bruyere). Nothing to do with axiomatics, but with meditation for action. The real presupposed axiomatics of OD is Catholic dogmatic theology, whose resume is the catechism.
Plus, elementary intellectual honesty implies that you take into account the context of sentences, a thing you don't seem to bother with: that is, the ## before and after the # you interpret, the head of chapter, and even the usual meaning of words in classical or jesuitic spiritual litterature (eg. about "scruples")

Before beginning, first, just a word from the cistercian Thomas Merton, who cannot be a fascist in any sense, no more than the dozens of bishops who like that book: " The way will certainly do a great deal of good by its simplicity which is a true medium for the Gospel message".
Second, it is interesting to note the evolution in the perception of the book, and by consequence, of OD. I consider of the utmost importance the remark of Estruch (p.97) who says that The Way was well looked at when published first, often read in the 50s, and that even "progressists" (even if that term is purely relative and means nothing) tought well of it; a critic named Comin praised Camino to his friends and was telling it was a book to read, around 1955; then , in 1975, the same book had become a "vulgar, egotistical, and mediocre vision"! We must discover why Comin has changed his mind, or , more precisely, which external causes have triggered this change....


849 Man! Ridicule him! Tell him that he is behind the times...This is all right for those who unearth musty and powder wigged "voltairianisms" or discredited liberal ideas of the 19th century.

-- You say (6.2) "he directly states that he is against Voltaire's ideas" and that this passage is an indicator that he is a perfect fascist. We already know that the only thing you can conclude, like in the case of the Jesuits or myself, is that we have some common values (eg love for classical art, respect for some authority, love of one's country etc. etc.), and on that ground it is impossible to avoid saying that the majority of people have something in common with fascism and hence are "kind of" fascistic. No problem there. It is probable that 80% of all religious people, including the self-proclaimed people of progress (but everybody is for progress, Haider too), are against Voltaire.
Second, the context of the chapter is tactics, that is human means in apostolate with others, in that case of 849 and 850, adversaries. So the point here is that sometimes dialectic counter-attack for the service of truth is good. That's all. He's not even talking about everything Voltaire said, or all of his political opinions, but just about some things,"voltairianisms", and some old liberalisms. And he says about them exactly what you're saying of OD: that these are "reactionary thinking", that is old fashion. We are all fascists if we just have to believe that. It is very common in philosophy and litterature faculties to think that Voltaire have got old enormously, and that's why he is not read a lot, much less than Rousseau. But this is not even the point in 849; Voltaire is just an example, as he is quoted along with other things, and what is important is the idea that hostility to religion is not new, is not vanguard, that it is very old, and so that the idea that it is fashionable cannot be grounded on its apparent novelty. The point is about people like you, who think that they represent progress, and it casts doubts on this by pointing out that at first it seems unjustified, or not more justified than in the case, let's say, of traditionalists (who are also for progress).
Lastly, we cannot prove by 849 that saying Voltaire is old fashion is grounded, here, on "Fascist" reasons. It could be for purely religious ones. It is a non sequitur to think otherwise. You say later that it is fascist to react against modernism, but this is a fallacy, since classicism is also against modernism.

56 to 80

--You say Hitler would have liked this book, because of its concept of blind obedience. Well, he must have liked the Jesuits for the same reason. But it is not a fact observed in Hitler's life, to say the least. (You have part of a point though; Lenin is said to have liked the Jesuits constitutions because of the discipline involved; so I guess Jesuits must be communists now)
Here are the topics of those ##:
56 obedience to the director AND to the grace
57 obedience to holy ghost the paraclete
58 same as 57
59 own judgment is not good in the difficulties of spiritual life; a master is needed
60 masters-experts are necessary in spiritual life as in civil life (architect)
61 lay people err frequently
62-63 director is necessary
64-65 talking about spiritual fight to the director
66-67 priest=another christ
68-74 respect for priests
75 charity for priests
76-80 order and plan of life

No blind obedience here. The chapter is about Direction, and totally classical, without any doctrinal originality.Half the ## are about respect for priests, whose main role is, in part, to be spiritual directors, like in confession. The same for Plan of life: morning and evening prayers, masses, meditation at given times. I'm not sure at all this is fascistic; Nazis didn't have day to day practices like this, and surely not meditative practices.
The context indicate that obedience to the director-priest is not separated from obedience to Paraclete, so the priest is obviously an instrument here. But in a very particular sense we can say that blind obedience to the Holy Ghost is fascistic... So some fascism must be good. Your interpretation mixing Hitler with this chapter on Spiritual Direction is simply beyond the understanding of anyone intelligent or having a little culture in the field of spirituality writings and history. You will find roughly the same in St Francis Sales.

339 Books. Don't buy them without the advice of Catholics who have true knowledge and discernment. It's so easy to buy something useless or harmful....

--You interpret this as controlling information we get, like in the fascists countries (why not communists ones? - In Franco's Spain books were incomparably more easy to get than in USSR). That goes too far. Only books, not newspapers are concerned here. And that chapter is on study, that is more on doctrine than information. #345 is the center of the chapter: study is a mean, faith and its defense is the goal. So there is a choice of books that is christian, and another which is not, for that goal. The minute any spiritual director is there, he must be a guide in that choice also, and that is advice, not control, although restriction is involved.
When you are OD, there's another qualification: you freely choose a particular type of spiritual direction for your inner life in order to grow in sainthood. Saints didn't read anything, but only those things compatible with their particular goal, and used directors for this. So there is a control, but like in an army, that is, as a consequence of an initial choice, which was free from control. In accepting this kind of control, OD members are not controlled; so the control is taking place at a second level, like in all projects you decide to be committed to. That's why a lot of books are excluded from monasteries and monks cannot buy anything they want, because of their particular goals.
Nothing to do with fascism, because fascism extend this to all society, and according to narrow nationalistic criteria, while the catholic church would ban things only contrary to common good and natural law (lets say, pornography). Don't forget that in some countries it is unlawful to publish certain false ideas about the holocaust; this is real control, not just internal, chosen control. The 2 are of different kinds, which your interpretation of 339 confused.

945 it is a bad disposition to listen to the word of God with a critical spirit
53 that spirit of criticism ... should never be used on the apostolate in which you work... For when you are so involved in judging the work of others, you are not doing anything constructive... with your negative attitude you are holding up the progress of others... Write down...those things. Give the note to the superior, and don't think anymore about it. He who is in charge, who has the "grace of his state",he will file the note...

--You interpret these as "criticizing religious things and a free will is not allowed". First, those ## have nothing to do with free will, a concept related to practical matters. Criticism is an intellectual act.
Second, those 2 ## don't talk about the same thing: 945 is about the word of God (scritptures and authentic tradition i guess) in a chapter on Apostles. So the context is that of following the message of God, once it is recognized as such. It is only good sense, an analytic truth, an apostle don't criticize the authentic word of his God. It is exactly what you were saying, that you were blindly obedient to God. #53 is totally different, and no serious mind should miss this: the chapter is about character, and here, as in #52 nearby, in the context of action with others. Like in any group it's better to avoid "negative attitude" towards the work of others; the text says it explicitly, so that the meaning of "spirit of criticims" seems to have nothing to do with "criticizing" in the noble or highest intellectual sense (cf. #443 "Avoid negative criticism; if you cannot praise, say nothing"). So it seems you were victim of a confusion of concepts, or you wanted to be...
To avoid division and be efficient they, like Jesuits, put those problems in the hand of the "grace of state" of the superior (in OD, by writing). Totally classical, centuries before fascism. Plus, this is, in itself, a way of criticising, but FROM INSIDE and with care.

98 after the prayer of the Priest and of consecrated virgins, the prayer most pleasing to God is that of children and of the sick

-- From this you say "People should not even be equal in the eyes of God" and say it is fascist, because "priests are more valuable than other people"!! I sincerely cannot believe this. The chapter and the # are not about people, but about prayer, a particular act which depends on particular situations and dispositions. Didn't Christ said prostitutes and the poors would come before some listeners of his? Was Christ loathing equality? You simply have confused elementary distinctions about types of equality. It's like saying that " the acts of some men are more pleasing than the acts of others" is fascism. Which is nonsense since the acts of some men as criminals are not as pleasing as the acts of some others as saints. The same distinction holds about different levels of excellence of an act.
Plus, we must consider that children, sick, virgins and priests cannot be considered here by Escriva as individuals, but as types, cause it is too obvious that a sick can have a bad or sinful , ill-intentioned prayer. So a clause "everything else being equal" must be presupposed here, or we must think that individuals of those types have all the "good disposition of their state" (sacrifice in the case of priests and virgins, humility in the case of children and the sick). Priests are not more valuable as persons, but their function, as, and only as, acting in place of christ for the sacrifice; it is through them that the prayer and sacrificial act of Christ is re-enacted in mass; so to say that prayer of priests is more valuable is just to say that prayer of Christ is more valuable, which is obvious since it is an act of God.

60 you wouldn't think of building a good house to live in here on earth without an architect. How can you ever hope, without a director, to build the castle of your sanctification in order to live forever in Heaven
61 When a layman sets himself up as an arbiter of morals, he frequently errs; laymen can be only disciples

--Here, from the "need for leadership" you conclude to a fascist loathing of equality (6.2) and that according to Escriva some people "are superior". Again, confusion. People are equal only in personhood, not in talents and competence, and The Way is talking about the latter, it's obvious even in the #60 you yourself are referring to, where we are talking about an architec competence. Same thing about the "whole chapter about leadership": it is about "direction", meaning spiritual direction, that is, a certain competence and experiential knowledge. Don't you know about the catholic spiritual masters (it's even the name of a serie)? So the ruling by those superior people in their area of competence is simply good sense and no more fascist than you and I. Anything else must be populist loathing of excellence.

PS. The quote you're looking for is probably #46: "Don't you think that equality, as usually understood, is an injustice" (This is from Aristotle; nothing is more unjust than to consider equal what is not equal)

458 these brushes with the world's selfishness will make you appreciate much more the fraternal charity of your

--Here you say the "fraternity is rather limited.... within the sect". First, #458 is not about fraternity, but about charity, a supernatural virtue given by grace to christians. That' doesn'T imply that there is no fraternity for the world, but that in cases("these" =particular case) of conflict with the world (this world hates me, said Christ), charity inside OD is good. Nothing here implies that this charity is exclusive, it is just said that it's applying to this member, among others. Nothing more can be concluded from that #.
By the way, another symptom of distorsion can be found in your "Thought Reform", where you say:
"The World. How The World thinks. This term is used to refer to anything outside their limited believe system that they do not like. The use of the term The World dates back to Escriva himself."
Your interpretation is really beyond understanding here, as this use of the term "World" is strictly biblical and is taking place again and again in the New testament. Escriva is simply quoting the bible. So Christ himself is a mind controller: he is using this to describe anything (sin) that is outside his divine belief system. There is nothing more than can be proved by the use or that expression.


460 a brother that is helped by his brother is like a strong city. Think for a moment and make up your mind to live that brotherhood that i ve always recommmended to you
462 The power of charity. Your mutual weaknesses, if you live that blessed brotherly spirit, will also be a support to keep you upright in the fulfillment of duty; just as in a house of cards, one card supports the other.
55 be a little less naive...and don't put your brothers "on the spot" before strangers
924 pray always for perseverance for yourself and for your companions in the apostolate, because your adversary, the devil, knows only too well that you are his great enemies, and when he sees a fall in your ranks, how pleases he is!

-- Your words: "and it is not humanity that is a motivation for fraternity but a selfish way of being strong within the sect and against the world". Confusion again, between the christian, supernatural fraternity, based on charity, and the natural one. ## 460 462 924 are from chapters on charity and vocation, so the fraternity there cannot be grounded on "humanity", but on faith. #55 is about character, good manners in a group, and again doesn't implies that good manners don't apply to "strangers" also. #924 is against the devil, not the world, which is not mentioned. You cannot interpret it as being against the World (all the church must be strong against the devil)
#462 is for duty, not against the world. Again, no exclusion of "external fraternity". There is no proof that #460
"strong city" is against the world, it may be against evil, sin, etc. Or like in 462. And even if it was against the world, it should be interpreted in a defensive way, as in all catholic spiritualities, meaning "the dangers of the world", and that doesn't implies that the world is evil.Humanism is simply not the topic of The Way, a spirituality book.

525 to be catholic means to love our country... And at the same times, to hold as our own the noble aspirations of all the other lands. How many glories of France are mine! And in the same way....Italians, British, Americans, Asiatics and Africans....Great heart and open mind

--You say " they do think a little bit of nationalism is good". OK, but nothing to do with fascism. This kind of nationalism of OD is incompatible with fascism. This 525 cannot be put under loathing of fraternity (international) without playing with its meaning,cause it says exactly the contrary... The chapter is on the Church, not OD, and no doubt 525 want to emphasize its universality... certainly an aspect Hitler didn't like (he had a project for a national religion, as you know).

306 "the life of man upon earth is a warfare"; so said Job many centuries ago. There are some easy going individuals who are not aware of this fact
311 War, you tell me, has a supernatural end that the world is unaware of; because war has been for us....War is the greatest obstacle to the easy way. But is the end we will have to love it, as the religious love his discipline

--You say that this is "glorifying war", and have the incredible naivete to say it is not clear these words are metaphors, even in a chapter on "more on the inner life"!! Well , it is crystal clear: #307 nearby is about the "struggles of the inner life, day to day war" (also 308). How could you miss this? Spiritual warfare is very classical and nothing in that chapter can be interpreted otherwise; not to see this is a lack of religious culture. Even #311 on real war doesn't consider war as such, but as a "discipline", so that the initial meaning becomes spiritual-ascetic. It is not war that is loved, but some of its spiritual consequences, and the same is true about all difficult times.

833 Leaders! Strengten your will so that God will make a leader of you. Don't you see how evil secret societies work? .... They form a number of demon-men who set to work stirring up and agitating the multitudes, making them go wild.... If you wish you will spread the word of God... you can achieve the sanctification of others; the kingdom of Christ... All with Peter to Jesus through Mary.

--You say "ennemies are devils...he constructs the image of freemasons as demon-like ennemy". It is not clear here that he is talking about other enemies than those of God, in general. There's no proof that he's considering all freemasons. The only thing sure is that some freemasons are concerned, probably those who are, in the atheist or Voltairian tradition, explicitly enemies of God and of it's influence or of church (es) , or of all revealed religions. Can't it be reasonable to say that an ennemy of God and of its right place in life has something satanic? It cannot be scapegoating to see that ennemies exist.

471 in apostolic undertakings it's very good...to consider what means the world has to offer you (2 +2 =4) but don't forget...that...your calculations must include another term: God + 2 + 2

--You say "If he did not want to agree with a logical argumentation he used his 2+2+God equation". This is one of the most bizarre interpretations. How do you know this? factual proof?, Heard this? In which circumstances did he did that? Because I presume you're talking about a fact. #471, in a chapter about "the means" , is not at all about argumentation, but about action ("undertakings"). #472-476 are about God who gives the means, the instruments, against all the odds..This # is simply about providence, and it takes an incredible bias to see it as a misuse of logic in an argumentative context.

54 Compromise? "One must compromise" It is a word found only in the vocabulary of those who have no will to fight - the lazy ,the cunning,the coward - because they know they are defeated before they start

--You say: "To agree with arguments of others? Never!" . Again, the context is not about argumentation, but action and will. Since this Chapter is about Character, it is likely that the compromise he's talking about is about oneself more than with others, even if the latter is not excluded. Didn't you hear again and again that Evangelic truth was "radical"? Whatever meaning you give to it, spiritul life is a fight, was always, and it is in that context that "compromise" must be understood.

433 Live by love and you'll conquer always - even though you are defeated - in the Navas and Lepante s of your interior struggle

--You say " he uses the names of battles fought by christians against muslims as a synonym for victory" . These are not synonyms but metaphor, since he's talking about spiritual victories, and victories for charity. Nothing political or litteral there. We can very well think that in the context of 11th-15th centuries, some christianity victories were also christian. This is just a detail. If you want to choose a metaphor for a religious battle, which one would you choose? You choose what cultural tradition gives you.

505 love of our lady is proof of a good spirit, in works and individuals. Don't trust the undertaking that lacks this

--You say about this "he also hated other christian religions like protestantism; (#505) is a clear affront to the evangelic church".
No intelligent mind can see hate in that #505, in a chapter on Mary, no more than if it would have said "Don't trust undertakings that don't have love for Christ in (apostolic) works".
Plus, it is normal for a catholic not to trust (in a way) evangelical churches, since part of the message has not been kept in their doctrine of faith. But even then one cannot interpret it as hate, especially in the present time, when Protestantism recognises Mary as very important and accepts totally the idea of loving and honoring her. So YOUR interpretation is guilty of excluding Protestantism from the "love of Mary". Moreover, OD spirituality is closer to protestantism than any other Catholic movement, first because they are laypeople, but mostly because of their spirituality of work: the central place of work and virtues related to work is a clear protestant aspect of Escriva approach, and one of the newest and most original in catholicism (again, you're not able to see this since your dogma has decided that they are hyper-conservative, but your dogma lacks historical perspective)

614 when doing apostolic work there is no disobedience that would be slight

--You say about this "the necessity of apostolate is everywhere in Escriva s book". Well it is also in the Gospel! Recruiting or finding new vocations is a part of any religious vocation of any religious order. But even then, I'm afraid #614 is misinterpreted here, cause it is in a chapter on obedience, not recruiting, and cause "apostolic work" doesn't mean recruitment here, but all apostolate (prayer, study, cleaning the house, teach courses to OD members, etc.). You're so eager to condemn that you're not able to read properly.

563 federalise with the guardian angel of the person you want to win for your apostolate - He is always a good

--You say "Here's an example of their manipulative way"...and that it would be undue pressure to say to a young girl that one is praying her angel so that she may take a right decision. Well, there is no story like that in #563, no story about telling anything to young girls or anybody, but just praying the angels, at a purely spiritual level. Very classical, this "manipulation" through Providence and Grace, by praying God or the Saints so that they obtain conversions or illuminations in others. Your interpretation manipulate the term "manipulation", as you manipulated
"fascism" and "fundamentalism"...

643 be slow to reveal the intimate details of your apostolate: don't you see that the world in its selfishness will fail to understand.

(your version) do not reveal the secrets of your apostolate: don't you see that the world is full of selfish

--You say that by this "Escriva asks people to be dishonest", to "hold back the truth". I don't know which edition of the Way you used, but in 3 editions I saw (1950, 1961, 1982) there is no "secrets" but "intimate details", referring most probably to penitential practices of mortification of the flesh. And there is no "do not", but "be slow". This is very important, cause there would be an irony (providential?) in the fact that you would be guilty of intellectual dishonesty at the exact moment you say Escriva is dishonest! After all, if you didn't copy the text of the Way but put it in a way to satisfy your bias, this is falsification...(unless you have a different edition, which is possible -see Estruch on the Way - or didn't even bother to check your references)
About the context, #642 nearby talks about personal "family matters", likely indicating the meaning of "intimates details" of #643. True, this means holding the truth, but this is in Catechism (## 2469, 2488ss., 2510) and in the civil laws that protect privacy: not everything should be public (that is well said by an OD numerarius in Bowers), and there 's no right of everybody to know all truths. It is not dishonest not to answer a vain curiosity question. All you need to know is that OD is recruiting and that there is mortification of flesh, etc., and that's public knowledge.

655 i can not stop to tell you about the importance of discretion. Maybe it is not the spire of your weapon, but at least it is the handle of it

--Samething as above, perhaps more in a context of spiritual life: self-constraint of expression in spiritual fighting, that is, auto-control (cf the context #656, 654, about the urges to talk when angry). #653 is about Mary's discretion and intestingly, the motto of the Marists Fathers (S.M.) is "unknown and hidden". It's an aspect of humility, not a weapon for plots (at least in the text).

393 a man...ready to compromise would condemn Jesus to death again
396 holy steadfastness is not intolerance

--Here you're talking about "fanatist who does not make concessions" and of "blindly fight, instead of peacefully discussing". Well, it is very bizarre you interpret #396 that way, since it says exactly the opposite!! Holy steadfastness is NOT intolerance. See the context in ##397, 398 just below: don't be rude, and HOLY steadfastness implies a holy and vertuous use, excluding irrational excesses of fanaticism. We have here the same relativistic problem than about "tolerance" and "reactionary". You yourself seem to be a fanatic without any concessions when talking about some aspects of Inquisition in the 11th-16th centuries...
More than that, if you read ##394, 397, it seems that the topic is NOT mostly discussing of fighting with others, but with oneself, as the matters considered are "ideal, honor, faith, doctrine, conduct".

62 a director - you need one, in order to offer yourself, to surrender yourself.... by obedience. You need director...who knows what God want. Such a one will effectively help to forward the work of the holy ghost in your soul....
614 in apostolic work there is no such thing as a trifling disobedience

--You say "blind obedience". See above, ##60-61. The principle is obedience to God. As in the Jesuit case, obedience is not blind in an irrational sense, it is part of the "obedience of the faith" (cathechism) IN THE PARTICULAR CONTEXT of these particular spiritualities. Once again, amazingly, the Jesuits are known for their rationalism, that is for putting reason very high, mostly against emotions, and this is linked to their conception of "blind" obedience: you obey to be freer from your individual passions.

777 your own will, your own judgment: that's what upset you.
856 Spiritual childhood demands the submission of the mind, which is harder than the submission of the will. In order to subject the mind we need not only God's grace, but a continual exercise of our will as well, denying the intellect over and over again, just as it denied the flesh, producing as a result the paradox that whoever follows this childhood way in order to become a child, needs to add strenght and manliness to his will.

--You say "never think by yourself". You don't consider the context; chapter of #777 is about God's will (778), which we must obey rather than our own will. That's the ABC of spiritul life. Now, as supernatural life doesn't destroy nature, it doesn't mean we must not think, but that that thinking must come second to God's will. #777 is obviously considering cases when the 2 wills are in conflict. Samething about spiritual childhood: submission of the mind under grace doesn't destroy it, especially among intellectuals of OD, it just gives a direction to it: you think by yourself, first inside the catholic doctrine, then inside OD militia-like spirituality.

130 Remove, O Jesus, that unclean scab of sensual corruption that covers my heart, so that i can feel and readily
follow the breathing of the Paraclete in my soul.

--You say "Feeling guilty for sexuality. People who feel guilt are easy to control". Like this chapter on Holy purity, there are chapters on charity, humility, poverty, others virtues. I guess there is guilt about all this, egoism, pride, vices, so every talk about virtues implies guilt; it is a petitio principii to say that the ground for this is controlling, no proof exists for this, anymore than for the opposite that would say that hostility to virtue is nothing but an anarchy pulsion. Otherwise, in the end we would be justified to say that mathematical truth is there to control people...
The topic of #130 is purity, not sexuality, and it implies that some "corruption", not sexuality as such, is an obstacle to the Spirit. You interpret as if an attack on greed was an attack on money. Read the text man!

150 It's just as if your Angel were saying to you "you have your heart so full of human attachment!" -And then, is that what you want your Guardian to watch over?
161 You squander your tenderness... Charity toward your neighbor, yes - always. But...that feeling...is Christ's and Christ's alone. Besides, when you open one of the locks of your heart - which needs at least seven locks - ....you ask yourself..."haven'tI gone too far in my outward showing of affection?"
188 Remember that the heart is a traitor. Keep it locked with seven bolts.
162 Put your heart aside. Duty comes first. But, when fulfilling your duty, put your heart into its fulfillment. It helps.
166 You write me: Father I have...a toothache in my heart. I won't laugh, because I realize that you need a good dentist to make a few extractions. If only you'd let him!

--You say " Heartless...you should give it to the OD (162)". Reason over heart is only Jesuit rationalism and no more. #188 is in the Mortification chapter, and you have more precise context in #189 which is about getting rid of what doesn't lead you to God. So #188 say nothing more than being careful with emotions, which are often contrary to religion and right reason.
##150, 161, 162, 166 are in the chapter about heart. Here your criticism is not coherent: you say the heart belongs to God but that they are heartless. This is nonsense. The context (##147, 155, 156) indicates clearly that the orientation of the heart, not the heart itself, is the topic: To God first, creatures second. How you don't see this in #161 is a mystery. You should know that "disproportionate attachment to creatures" is a central and classical theme of spirituality. #162 says duty first, emotion second, and you interpret it as saying that the heart must belongs to OD. There's no proof of that, cause not all duties comes from OD membership; there are also duties toward God, the Church, the state, family, etc. Since ##161 and 163 are about Christ and the Cross, it is more reasonable to interpret duty in #162 as a general or religious concept at large.

181 Interior mortification - I don't believe in your interior mortification if i see that you despise mortification of the senses, that you don't practise it.

--You say "killing ... your senses". This is ignorance of the meaning of "mortification", again a central concept in spiritual writings. Mortification is not killing nor death, it is controlling by chastising, fighting an habit not only through abstaining from it, but by doing something opposite, so that balance will be reached. It's the clear meaning in #180 nearby: "without mortification there's no virtue" - and virtue is a middle between 2 excesses. Senses or sensitivity don't disappear by mortification but are given a new orientation, totally under the control of right reason (something the original sin caused us to lose).

258-264 SCRUPLES

--Here, with a wonderful naivete, you simply don't understand: "I have no idea. Being without scruples is like not listening to your conscience. Maybe this just a mistake...maybe someone can enlighten...". OK, here comes some light. Scruple is a familiar concept in spiritual life and litterature, it is simply an expression to designate "excessive scruples". There is a stage in spiritual development and asceticism when conscience may become too much severe, and see mortal sins everywhere, always having too much doubts about this or that detail, intention, or thought, etc. This may happen at the beginning of an ascetic training (your friend perhaps?), by lack of spiritual insight.
Before criticising, it's always a good idea to attend one's classes...

297 All that which worries you for the moment is of only passing importance. What is of absolute importance is that
you be happy, that you be saved.

--You say : "selfishly searching for your redemption". The context of this 297 is not other people, but "worries", as opposed to the final goal. You cannot infer that service to others -charity - is excluded, save by a gratuitous and malicious interpretation. All the book says that it is included.
Moreover, there's a selfishness that is legitimate, and that is the selfishness of salvation. This is a classical and serious theological dispute between, among others, Bossuet and Fenelon, about the "pure love": must we love God to the point where we must not love our salvation more than him? In fact, Bossuet won: love of salvation is love for a natural and supernatural end, and God is the author of natural ends, so loving God is the same thing as loving "selfishly" our salvation. You just didn't make the distinction (which hold in moral theory as well as in theology) between 2 selfishnesses, one good, in a moral and metaphysical context (to love the true good, ie. justice to others, and charity, and temperance, is to be selfish in a good way, since it is the true accomplishment of oneself - virtue); and the other bad, in a social context (to love oneself with a lack of balance and in an irrational way, which is not a true love, but a limited one - to certain aspects, without considering the overall picture, ie. choosing goods by missing higher ones). Just read Plato about happiness, virtue, evil, and the true love of oneself....

367 The choicest morsel, if eaten by a pig..., turn at best into pig's meat! Let us be angels, so as to dignify the ideas we assimilate. Let us at least be men, so as to convert our food into strong and fine muscles, or perhaps into a powerful brain, capable of understanding and adoring God. But let us not be beasts, like so many, so many!

--You say "Beautiful, intelligent, and looking down on others like they are only animals". It doesn't say that, but "so many". Those are not "others" but "some others". It is obvious, as is obvious the spreading animalisation of humans caused by consumerism... That means a lot of others also dignify ideas. Plus the context here is not external, but that of elevation of intellectual life, so "beasts" is metaphorical: it means the lack of such elevation. If you don't like the word, we can understand it as "low". No more than to avoid a particular sin here...

484 They're all useful; each has its mission... Your duty is to be an instrument.

--You say: "You should be ...a tool to be used by them". This is not the context at all, which is about "mission", that is vocation. Like instruments are different but all useful, so are different vocations. #483 is about what the grace of God made with Peter and Paul. #485 talks about the fire of God acting on the weakness of "instruments". The first meaning of "instrument" must be here its classical and jesuitic-voluntaristic meaning: instrument of God. There's no ground to say anything more.

851 let's channel the "providential imprudences" of youth.
488 Don't let the lack of "instruments" stop your work; begin as well as you can. As time passes, the function will create the organ. Some, who were worthless, will become suitable. The rest can undergo a surgical operation, even
though it be painful - there are no better "surgeons" than the saints! - and the work goes on.

--You say: "...that show that there is nothing wrong with manipulating people...". #488 is about candidates (any) to a religious order (Saints is a reference to founders, probably St Ignatius)and their number, not really about means of recruitment. All orders do the same during noviciate: they check the vocation of the candidates for the particular goals and life of their order; only 1 out of 10 monks persevere, and the majority is directed toward other paths by their own abbeys. How you see manipulation here is beyond understanding. One may very well interpret that everyone in OD is an instrument, so there's nobody left for manipulating, except God...
#851 is difficult to interpret. "imprudence" cannot be good as such, so "providential" must concern particular occurences, rather than the thing in itself. The "channelling" will serve to produce good results out of mediocre initiatives. So channelling means correcting the path. It is without ground to say that the mean of channelling must be manipulation; any education is channelling youth.


Now I think you understand better the important problem of credibility in your position. The Way is supposed to contain an evil ideology, and it is likely that the quotations you used are supposed to convey this ideology. But it seems you didn't read or understand really what is objectively there and understandable simply by any impartial reader with a minimum of religious culture; you seem to look for some ideas (let's say political) that are not really there, because you took those ideas elsewhere. Any reading of that sort of any author produce distortions due to selectiveness, lack of context, overlooking of balancing elements, etc. It is unlikely Tapia would have read the Way like you. In fact, no serious reader can deny that your reading is hostile to a point close to a kind of delirium.

The result is that in my opinion, close to nothing is left from all what you say that is grounded on reading of the Way. More seriously, the rest of what you say becomes in large part suspect (partiality, selection of facts, etc) because it is likely that the same distortions are at work everywhere, be it about OD in Spain or whatever. The advantage of the hermeneutic of the Way is that it is rather factual and independent of any report by the reporter of a reporter of a report about alleged stories. We don't need Tapia or anything else to understand a book. By that independent activity of reading a book with proper intelligence and culture, we have the independent proof that something has gone wrong in your position, whatever may be the actions of OD here and there.