Blow to Opus Dei; what are the measures and what does it mean, according to an expert

The Pope Francisco established with a new document published on July 22, that the Opus Dei depends on the ministry for the Clergy and has to make an annual report on the state of the Prelature and on its apostolic work.

For this reason, the columnist THE UNIVERSAL, Elio Masferrer Khanprofessor and researcher at ENAH-INAH, gave his point of view in his weekly article for this publishing house, given the decision of the head of state of Vatican City.

“A few weeks ago he published the Apostolic Letter Desiderio Desideravi on the liturgical formation of the people of God where he assumed the liturgical changes that had been formulated by the Second Vatican Council: he eliminated the possibility of the mass in Latin and with the priest facing away from the congregation. These rules are a blow to the conservative sectors of the Catholic Church, who deny the novelties of the Council (1963-65) and want to maintain the mass of the Council of Trent (1545-63) that was made to confront the Lutheran Reformation (1519 ). As if in the last 459 years there weren’t some news.”

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Thus, Masferrer Kan considered: “Another change, which for many went unnoticed, is that it placed three women in executive positions in the Congregation for Bishops. The dignity of the episcopate is something reserved for men, but curiously, it will be women who will review the proposals of the bishops of each country, the reports of the nuncios and the inquiries that the Vatican could obtain by ‘other means’, the Vatican Secret Service is considered one of the most effective”.

For this reason, he said, “this measure dismantles the system of managing contacts and influences ‘in Rome’, to achieve the designation. Marcial Maciel and Fernando Karadima prided themselves on putting the Mexican and Chilean bishops, due to their contacts with the environment of John Paul II. We cannot forget that, historically, the Jesuits have an excellent “accompaniment” work with the feminine orders and congregations”.

“The next measure and supposedly related to the Apostolic Letter was to lower the level of Opus Dei, it is still a personal prelature, but the prelate no longer has the rank of bishop, but will be a supernumerary apostolic prothonotary, to put it in Castilian, he will be a priest with the rank of Reverend, not a successor bishop of the apostles. In practical terms, its priests and consecrated persons must report to the Congregation for the Clergy, submit an annual report and in some way be subordinate to the local bishops, they lose the rank of ‘Universal Diocese,’ ” he added.

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On the other hand, he explained that “another detail is that they should already do the masses according to the ritual of the Council in the national language and with the priest facing the congregation. Well, the bishops can no longer authorize the mass in Latin. The question remains about the so-called national vicars of Opus Dei who participated in the national bishops’ conferences”.

Meanwhile, he commented that “Francisco’s next move is his trip to Canada to apologize and apologize for the cultural ethnocide, abuse and mistreatment of Catholic orders and congregations in the so-called indigenous “residential schools”. The trip could be seen as conjunctural, but in the Pope this is not the case. He is questioning the Church’s history of association with the different colonial adventures of the great European Catholic powers. Going to ask for forgiveness, which is in the Judeo-Christian traditions, implies the recognition of the abuses and burdens of the association of the Church with the State, reformulates the entire legitimacy of Catholicism in Latin America.”

“Another big league move is the renewal of the College of Cardinals, it appoints new cardinals on August 29. In 2013, 52% were Europeans, in 2022 it dropped to 40%, the number of cardinals from the Asia Pacific area increased, Latin America and Africa, he also appointed progressive bishops who were frozen by conservative episcopates and did not seek cardinals among traditionalist archbishops. He plans to hold a plenary meeting of the College to discuss the progress of the Church,” he added.

Read also: Pope Francis “humbly asks for forgiveness” for abuses against indigenous peoples in Canada

Finally, the researcher pointed out: “There are strong rumors that he intends to reformulate questions of sexual morality and family life, for example the use of contraceptives, the communion of the divorced and similar issues. He is being “pressured” by the German episcopate to accept married priests and women at mass.”

“For those who thought that this was a brief pontificate and “the Argentine” could not with the Vatican bureaucracy, they forgot that Bergoglio was a Jesuit,” he said.

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