The Pope ‘degrades’ Opus Dei and completes the transfer of his prelature to the Dicastery for the Clergy

The Pope has materialized the process by which the prelature of the From now on, Opus Dei will fit into the Dicastery for the Clergy and under its supervision and will have to produce an annual report on the state of the Prelature and on its apostolic work., as already included in the new Apostolic Constitution ‘Praedicate Evangelium’, which entered into force on June 5. In this way, Opus Dei will not be part of the hierarchical structure of the Church as a diocese, as it has been until now, but will be directly controlled by the ministry of the Clergy, like other organizations.

To this end, he has published the Motu proprio ‘Ad charisma tuendum’, which will come into force on August 4, Francis urges to take care of the charism of Opus Dei “to promote the evangelizing action carried out by its members” and, in this way, ” spread the call to holiness in the world, through the sanctification of work and family and social occupations”.

The main change is situated in the relations of the Prelature with the Holy See, which From now on they will be governed by the Dicastery for the Clergy. From the communication office of Opus Dei they have assured in a statement that the Motu Proprio does not directly introduce changes in the regime of the Prelature, “nor in the relations of the authorities of the Prelature with the bishops.”

In the papal document, it is also noted that the prelate will not be a bishop. It is an initiative and decision of the Holy See, within the framework of a restructuring of the government of the Curia, to reinforce – as the Motu Proprio says – the charismatic dimension. However, the new regulation provides that Opus Dei propose “an adaptation of the Statutes to the specific indications of the Motu Proprio.”

Finally, the Motu proprio Ad charisma tuendum refers to the existence of a title of supernumerary apostolic prothonotary. It is a decision with which the figure of the prelate is conferred an honorary title and a treatment that, reaffirming the secular condition -which is central to the charism of Opus Dei-, unites him in a special way with the Pope, as part of the so-called “pontifical family”. It is said “supernumerary”, to distinguish it from those who are notaries in the Holy See.

The changes introduced by Pope Francis represent the first modification for 40 years, moment in which John Paul II erected the Prelature of Opus Dei, an ecclesiastical institution governed by a prelate with his own jurisdiction, like a diocese, but without being linked to a specific territory.

Fernando Ocáriz, current prelate of Opus Dei, who is not a bishop, has accepted “filially” the Pope’s decision. “The Pope’s willingness to underline now the charismatic dimension of the Work invites us to strengthen the family atmosphere, of affection and trust: the prelate must be a guide, but, above all, a father,” he stressed.

In this way, he has highlighted the fruits of “ecclesial communion that have meant” that his two predecessors Álvaro del Portillo and Javier Echevarría were bishops, but he has stressed that “the episcopal ordination of the prelate was not and is not necessary for the guidance of Opus Dei.”

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