For the protection of the charism of Opus Dei
By the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, published on 19 March 2022, Pope Francis reorganised the Roman Curia. The Article 117 establishes that the Dicastery for the Clergy will oversee personal prelatures, instead of the Dicastery for Bishops, as was the case until now. The Motu Proprio Ad charisma tuendum develops and concretizes the change brought about by the Apostolic Constitution in the specific case of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei.
Both the title and the introduction of the Motu proprio convey the Holy Father’s determination that this change be carried out while fully respecting the charism of Opus Dei: “according to the gift of the Spirit received by Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the Prelature of Opus Dei, with the guidance of the Prelate himself, fulfils the mission of spreading the call to holiness in the world, through the sanctification of work and of family and social duties.” (Motu proprio Ad charisma tuendum)
As Vatican II says, the Holy Spirit makes use of hierarchical and charismatic gifts to guide the Church (Lumen Gentium, no. 4). The Motu Proprio reminds us that the government of Opus Dei must be at the service of the charism.
To fulfil its charism, Opus Dei needs the priestly ministry, and this is where the hierarchy must intervene. Therefore, as Pope Francis now recalls, “to safeguard the charism, my predecessor Saint John Paul II, in the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit on November 28, 1982, erected the Prelature of Opus Dei, entrusting to it the pastoral task of contributing in a special way to the evangelizing mission of the Church.” (Motu proprio Ad charisma tuendum). With the progressive maturation and assimilation of the Council’s teachings on the hierarchical and charismatic gifts, it will become increasingly clear that, far from being in opposition to each other, in Opus Dei they are complementary realities.
What changes does the Motu Proprio Ad Charisma tuendum introduce? The change is in the Prelature’s relations with the Holy See.
On the other hand, The Motu Proprio does not directly introduce modifications in the governance of the Prelature, nor in the relations of the authorities of the Prelature with the bishops. What the Motu proprio foresees is that Opus Dei will propose an adaptation of the Statutes in accord with the indications of the Motu Proprio.
Therefore, the fruits of the apostolic work that Opus carries out in the dioceses of South Africa, and all over the world, will continue benefiting the local churches as has always been the case.
By Msgr Anton Borras,
The Representative of Opus Dei in South Africa.