The Prelate of Opus Dei, Fernando Ocáriz, has sent a letter to the members of the Prelature, which is available at Opus Dei website, in which he explains that, as a result of the publication of the Motu Proprio Ad charisma tuendumThe men and women of the General Council and the Central Advisory Council, the central governing bodies of Opus Dei, have been studying for weeks how to "proceed to carry out what the Pope has asked of us regarding the adaptation of the Statutes of the Work to the indications of the Motu proprio.
This Extraordinary General Congress, which will be convoked for "this precise and limited purpose," will take place in the first semester of 2023. Following the advice of the Holy See, it will not be limited to changing "the Prelature's dependence on this Dicastery and the change from a five-yearly to an annual report to the Holy See on the Prelature's activity. In fact, as Bishop Ocáriz emphasizes in his letter, the Vatican has advised the Work to consider "other possible adjustments to the Statutes, which seem appropriate to us in light of the Motu proprio," and that the study be done in a calm manner: "They have advised us to dedicate all the necessary time without haste.
On this occasion, the Prelate asked the members of the Prelature for "concrete suggestions" aimed at adapting the work and development of the Work to the needs of the Church today. In this sense, Fernando Ocáriz wanted to emphasize that "it is a matter of complying with what the Holy See has indicated, not of proposing any change that might seem interesting to us.
In addition, the Prelate of Opus Dei points out that "together with the desire to be faithful to the legacy of our founder, it is important to consider the general good of the juridical stability of the institutions," and opens the door to "other suggestions to give new impetus to the apostolic work" that can be dealt with in the future.
The General Congresses in Opus Dei
The General Congresses are, together with the Prelate who convokes them and who attends them, the principal instance of government within Opus Dei at the central level. According to point 133 of the current statutes, "Ordinary General Congresses, convoked by the Prelate, must be held every eight years to express his opinion on the state of the Prelature and to be able to advise on the opportune norms for future governmental action.
Extraordinary general congresses may also be held, such as the one to be held in 2023, which are convened "when circumstances so require in the judgment of the Prelate."
The Motu Proprio Ad charisma tuendum
The Motu Proprio Ad charisma tuendumpublished last July, specified some aspects of the juridical regime of the personal prelature of Opus Dei in order to bring it into line with the provisions established by the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium. This document determines that the personal prelatures (to date, there is only that of Opus Dei) become dependent on the Dicastery for the Clergy and not on that of the Bishops, as was the case until now.
In addition, the Motu Proprio pointed out other changes related to Opus Dei. Specifically: on the one hand, the frequency with which Opus Dei must present its report on the situation of the Prelature and the development of its apostolic work is now annual instead of five-yearly; on the other hand, it was decided that "the prelate will not receive episcopal ordination. Until now it was not essential and was not included in the statutes of Opus Dei, but Bishop Ocáriz's predecessors, Blessed Álvaro del Portillo and Bishop Javier Echevarría, had received episcopal ordination.