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St Josemaría Escrivá (CNS/Opus Dei)

Pope Francis has changed canon law regarding the governance of Opus Dei and any future personal prelatures. Source: CNA.

In a motu proprio issued yesterday, the Pope assimilated the personal prelature to “public clerical associations of pontifical right with the faculty of incardinating clerics.” It also further defined the role of the prelate as a “moderator endowed with the faculties of an ordinary.”

The motu proprio modifies canons 295 and 296 of the Code of Canon Law on personal prelatures and immediately entered into force on the day of its publication.

The updated canons now state that the statutes that govern a personal prelature can be “approved or issued by the Apostolic See”.

To date, the international Catholic organisation Opus Dei is the only personal prelature in the Church. The group’s statutes have yet to be approved by the Holy See following its extraordinary congress in April.

Opus Dei is a personal prelature made up of laymen and laywomen and priests founded by St Josemaría Escrivá in 1928. St Escrivá called the organisation Opus Dei to emphasise his belief that its foundation was a “work of God” – or, in Latin, “opus Dei”.

Canon 296 on the lay involvement in the personal prelature now also includes a reference to canon 107 and stresses that “the manner of this organic cooperation and the main duties and rights connected with it shall be determined appropriately in the statutes”.

The changes build upon the Pope’s previous decree on the oversight of Opus Dei last year in the motu proprio “To guard the charism,” which declared that its leader, the prelate, could no longer be a bishop.


Pope Francis changes canon law on Opus Dei and any future personal prelatures (By Courtney Mares, CNA)