- On October 2, 1928, during a spiritual retreat in Madrid, St. Josemaria saw the mission that God had been stirring in his heart. In his own words, St Josemaria saw that “sanctity is not reserved for a privileged few. All the ways of the earth, every state in life, every profession, every honest task can be divine.” And, “since God wants the majority of Christians to remain in secular activities and to sanctify the world from within, the purpose of Opus Dei is to help them discover their divine mission, showing them that their human vocation—their professional, family, and social vocation—is not opposed to their supernatural vocation. On the contrary, it is an integral part of it.”
Ut Sit: 1982
- N.B.: Emphasis added in bold. MXM, SJ.
- With very great hope, the Church directs its attention and maternal care to Opus Dei, which—by divine inspiration—the Servant of God Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer founded in Madrid on October 2, 1928, so that it may always be an apt and effective instrument of the salvific mission which the Church carries out for the life of the world.
- From its beginnings, this Institution has in fact striven, not only to illuminate with new lights the mission of the laity in the Church and in society, but also to put it into practice; it has also endeavored to put into practice the teaching of the universal call to sanctity, and to promote at all levels of society the sanctification of ordinary work, and by means of ordinary work. Furthermore, through the Sacerdotal Society of the Holy Cross, it has helped diocesan priests to live this teaching, in the exercise of their sacred ministry.
- Since Opus Dei has grown, with the help of divine grace, to the extent that it has spread and works in a large number of dioceses throughout the world, as an apostolic organism made up of priests and laity, both men and women, which is at the same time organic and undivided—that is to say, as an institution endowed with a unity of spirit, of aims, of government and of formation—it has become necessary to give it a juridical configuration which is suited to its specific characteristics. It was the Founder of Opus Dei himself who, in 1962, in a humble and trusting petition, asked the Holy See to grant an appropriate ecclesial configuration to the Institution, bearing in mind its true nature and theological characteristics, and with a view to a greater apostolic effectiveness.
- From the time when the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council introduced into the legislation of the Church, by means of the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis—which was made effective by the Motu proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae (I, § 4)—the figure of the personal Prelatures, to carry out specific pastoral activities, it was seen clearly that this juridical figure was perfectly suited to Opus Dei. Therefore, in 1969, Our Predecessor Paul VI, of beloved memory, graciously accepting the petition of the Servant of God Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, authorized him to convoke a special General Congress to begin, under his guidance, the study necessary for a transformation of Opus Dei, in keeping with its nature and the norms of the Second Vatican Counsel.
- We ourselves expressly ordered that this study should continue, and in 1979, We requested the Sacred Congregation for Bishops, which was the competent Congregation, by virtue of the matter involved, to examine the formal petition presented by Opus Dei, following a careful study of all the relevant facts and legal data.
- In carrying out the task entrusted to it, the Sacred Congregation carefully examined the matter, taking into account the historical, and also the juridical and pastoral aspects. Thus, having completely eliminated all doubts about the basis, and the possibility, and the specific manner of granting the petition, it became abundantly clear that the desired transformation of Opus Dei into a personal Prelature was opportune and useful.
- "Present norms of incardination and excardination should be so revised that, while this ancient institution still remains intact, they will better correspond to today's pastoral needs. Where a real apostolic spirit requires it, not only should a better distribution of priests be brought about but there should also be favored such particular pastoral works as are necessary in any region or nation anywhere on earth. To accomplish this purpose there should be set up international seminaries, special personal dioceses or prelatures (vicariates), and so forth, by means of which, according to their particular statutes and always saving the right of bishops, priests may be trained and incardinated for the good of the whole Church" (Presbyterorum Ordinis § 10).