Thursday, July 04, 2024

Opus Dei in Central Europe reforms itself

The reform of the Catholic organisation Opus Dei is progressing. 

According to a statement published by the "Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur" (KNA) on Monday, Opus Dei in Central Europe will focus more on regionalisation and greater involvement of all members in future - a first for the personal prelature, which has so far been run rather centrally and by the celibate "numeraries".

The adjustments had become necessary after Pope Francis issued a reorganisation for Opus Dei in 2022

The Pope justified his move with the desire to "protect the original charism of the movement".  

A year later, Francis withdrew some of their other rights due to their special status as the only personal prelature of the Catholic Church.

At the end of 2022, some European regions merged to form a streamlined "Central Europe" administrative unit. Its members are now to be allowed to play a greater role in decision-making processes. 

Following a synodal process among the members, two regional assemblies in Austria and Germany have now developed further reform steps. 

According to the Central European region of Opus Dei, married members (supernumeraries) should also be more involved in educational tasks in future, i.e. in "personal spiritual guidance, leading retreats or participating in organisational aspects such as the economic management of educational institutions".

Renewing the founding spirit

The regional vicar of Opus Dei in Central Europe, Christoph Bockamp, sees the changes initiated by the Pope as an opportunity to "renew the founding spirit" and to be able to build on "the dynamism of the early days with its minimum of structure" in the future.

Opus Dei ("Work of God") was founded in 1928 by the Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975) , who was later canonised, as a Catholic lay movement. 

The female branch was founded in 1930. 

The organisation also has a good 2,000 priests of its own. Members of Opus Dei are required to help shape society by living a consistently Christian life. 

Opus Dei runs several universities, including the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome. 

In Germany, there is a branch of its IESE Business School, a management school at the University of Navarra. 

It is recognised worldwide as one of the leading institutions in its field.