On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, Mgr. Fernando Ocariz, prelate of Opus Dei, was given an honorary doctorate by the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Wrocław. One of the promoters of this recognition was Włodzimierz Wołyniec, who was its rector until a few weeks ago. Omnes interviewed him afterwards.
Wołyniec was born in Oława and holds a doctorate in theology. As a priest he worked as rector and spiritual director of the Metropolitan Higher Theological Seminary of Wrocław. From 2014 to 2022 he the rector of the Theological Faculty.
The Pontifical Theological Faculty of Wrocław, whose history dates back to 1565 when it was established as one of the first seminaries of the Church on Polish soil, has as its Chancellor Dr. Józef Kupny, Archbishop of Wroclaw. It is one of the leading centers of theological studies in Eastern Europe.
Professor Wołyniec, you were the main promoter of the conferral of an honorary doctorate on Professor Ocáriz. I would like to ask you first of all about the meaning and importance of this award.
— The awarding of an honorary degree is the highest academic distinction for outstanding achievements in the field of science and didactics. Professor Fernando Ocáriz is the twenty-fifth such doctor from the Pontifical Theological Faculty in Wrocław.
I would like to mention that this group already includes Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who received this title in 2000, and more recently also Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in 2015.
The Chancellor of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Wroclaw, Archbishop Józef Kupny, emphasized that many generations of students benefited from the theological knowledge and wisdom of Monsignor Ocáriz, including numerous Polish students.
Taking advantage of this occasion, the Church of Wrocław would like to thank the new Doctor and the Opus Dei prelature for helping students from the Archdiocese of Wrocław to pursue specialized theological studies abroad, at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and at the University of Navarra in Pamplona.
The studies carried out at these universities founded or planned by St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer enjoy worldwide fame, and have produced very good fruit in the higher formation of graduates, giving them adequate spiritual attention.
Profile of the new doctor
What aspects of the new doctor’s theological work would you highlight? What lines of research at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Wrocław are in line with the thinking of Professor Ocáriz?
— Monsignor Ocáriz emphasizes in his theology the supernatural dimension of Christianity and Christian humanism. In his publications he shows that man is introduced by Christ into the Trinitarian life of God and participates in the communion of life and love with the divine Persons. A very important theological theme for him is divine filiation, for it is the full transcendence of man and the summit of his personal development.
The theological reflection of the Reverend Professor is profound. It is not only a description of reality, but a discovery of the truth and meaning of that reality in the light of the word of God. His theology is characterized by a metaphysical thought that asks for the causa et ratio of all that exists.
But metaphysical thinking does not distract him from everyday life. On the contrary, it enables him to find answers to the ultimate and deepest questions of contemporary man. At our university we also want to practice a theology that is close to life and helps people to find the meaning of life.
In your opinion, what theological aspects should be highlighted in the figure of Professor Ocáriz?
— I would especially like to highlight one: the contemplative dimension of the theology of our new doctor. He combines the scientific study of theology with the contemplation of the Word of God incarnate.
He desires to know the mystery of God in Jesus Christ with mind and heart, so that in this way one can ‘comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and know the love of Christ’ (Eph 3:17–19). For this reason, his scientific study is always linked to the mystery of Christ in prayer.
Could you give us any anecdote or personal memory of your encounters with Professor Ocáriz?
— During my studies at the Roman Atheneum of the Holy Cross in Rome in 1987 to 1992, Professor Ocáriz helped supervised my doctoral thesis; he was my doctoral supervisor during the first years.
Now, years later, when I came to Rome to invite him to this award-giving ceremony, he said to me: ‘Look, I doctored you in theology and now you’re doctoring me in your Faculty!’