It is understandable, then, “that there are aspects that do not fit the way of thinking of some people. But that’s pluralism. The only important thing is to respect each other: We can always collaborate,” he added.
Position in face of criticism
Regarding the criticism that Opus Dei receives, Ocáriz commented that “mistakes and personal inconsistencies are part of life. Criticisms help to improve when they are well-founded and come from knowledge of reality.”
“I would like the variety of Opus Dei people to be better perceived from the social and cultural point of view. Sometimes the focus is on a person of public importance and not on a hundred others who have difficulties making ends meet.”
In the opinion of the 78-year-old Spanish prelate, “in some cases a stereotyped reading has been made of Opus Dei, based on clichés, which don’t help understanding a broader and more plural reality.”
“I would also like to see greater understanding that Opus Dei people are free and responsible. Their merits or mistakes in their professional performance or in civil life, for example, must be attributed to him or her, as it happens with any other Catholic,” he noted.
The prelate of Opus Dei stressed that “the opinions or decisions of a politician on the left or the right are his and his alone, not attributable to the Church or to an institution; these are realities that move on different planes. Historically, this mechanism of attributing personal performance to belonging to a spiritual path has fostered misunderstandings that continue to this day.”
Opus Dei is currently present in almost 70 countries and is made up of more than 93,000 lay members, of whom 57% are women and 43% men, in addition to 2,095 priests.
Fighting between progressives and conservatives in the Church?
Regarding the “fight” between conservatives and progressives in the Catholic Church, Ocáriz recalled that “the pope was asked a similar question, and he pointed out that it was a worldly interpretation, alien to the religious dimension. I think that too often there is a tendency towards a reading of reality in terms of power and polarization, with groups that oppose each other and don’t understand each other.”
However, the prelate explained that “in the Church the logic that must prevail is that of service and collaboration. We all row in the same boat, open to being helped to improve.”
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And about the “old conflict” that the Spanish newspaper mentioned between Jesuits and members of Opus Dei, the prelate noted that “personally I can tell you that I am a former student of the school of the Society of Jesus in Madrid, and I am very grateful for the formation and the example I received from the Jesuits.”
A prayer request from the prelate
The reform ordered by the pope, which includes the modification of the statutes of The Work, led to holding a world congress in Rome in April in which 126 women and 148 men participated, of whom 90 were priests.
“The motu proprio of Aug. 8 must also be taken into account when adapting and updating the statutes of the Work … For this reason, I now renew the request for prayers that I already addressed to you a few months ago, so that this work comes to fruition,” Ocáriz wrote in a letter to the members of Opus Dei two days after the publication of the papal document this month.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.