Opus Dei’s Prelate Asks Prayers for Reform Ordered by Francis

On July 22, the Vatican published the apostolic letter in the form of a motu proprio titled “Ad charisma tuendum” (To safeguard the charism), whereby Pope Francis ordered a reform of Opus Dei.

Newsroom (13/09/2022 12:01 AM Gaudium Press— Opus Dei prelate, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz has asked the members of the Catholic institution for their prayers for the reform process ordered by Pope Francis, which took effect Aug. 4.

“Continue to pray for the work that the pope has entrusted to us to adapt the Statutes of the Work to what is indicated in the motu proprio ‘Ad charisma tuendum,'” the prelate said in a message published Sept. 10.

“We have already started — in the General Council and the Central Advisory — the appropriate studies to carry it out,” he said.

“During the days spent in the Holy Land, I have kept you especially present in my prayer, knowing that I am accompanied by yours at the same time,” Ocáriz wrote.

What did Pope Francis order for Opus Dei?

On July 22, the Vatican published the apostolic letter in the form of a motu proprio titled “Ad charisma tuendum” (To safeguard the charism), whereby Pope Francis ordered a reform of Opus Dei.

The Pope’s provisions include; that the prelate who directs Opus Dei subsequently will no longer be a bishop. The institution must adapt its statutes and present an annual report, and it will no longer answer to the dicastery for bishops but the dicastery for the clergy.

Opus Dei explained that the decision that the prelate may no longer be a bishop is “an initiative and decision of the Holy See” to reinforce “the charismatic dimension” instead of the hierarchical dimension of the institution.

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Ocáriz, 77, is not a bishop and, due to the pontifical document, will not be consecrated as such.

The question-and-answer section of Opus Dei’s website in Spain states that: this does not “directly introduce changes in the form of government of the prelature, nor in the relations of the prelature’s authorities with the bishops.”

The previous regulation that required it every five years has been changed by establishing that an annual report must be presented on the situation of the prelature and the development of its apostolic work.

The pontifical document also requires the adjustment of the statutes, which must be proposed by Opus Dei and then approved by the competent Vatican bodies.

What is Opus Dei?

Opus Dei is a personal prelature, the only one in the Catholic Church. It was founded in Spain by St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer in 1928 and is present in 68 countries.

The head of the prelature is the prelate, appointed by the Pope and governs the institution as a jurisdiction, similar to a bishop who oversees his diocese or assigned territory.

Opus Dei means “Work of God” in Latin, so its members usually refer to it as “The Work.” Its special emphasis or charism is sanctification through daily work.

In Opus Dei, there are priests, celibate lay persons called numeraries and associates, and supernumeraries who are married members.

– Raju Hasmukh (with files from CNA)

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