Opus Dei 1982 Statutes

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This document (see link below) contains the original Latin text and an English translation of the 1982 Statutes of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei. Opus Dei is the first Personal Prelature in the Catholic Church, a new figure of government which was established by Vatican II. Opus Dei is immediately and directly subject to the Holy See (see N 171) and resides in the Congregation for Bishops.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law dedicates a sparse four canons to Personal Prelatures, NN 294 to 297. These canons say, basically, that Personal Prelatures can be established by the Church for specific pastoral purposes, but their purposes, their law, regulations and relationships are to be defined and set forth in their statutes.

The Latin text of these statutes has been published in several places, among which are the three citations listed at the end. The second citation refers to a Latin-Spanish translation of these statutes published by the Spanish magazine TIEMPO, in 1986. (The Spanish translations of the 1950 and 1982 statutes are available on the OpusLibros website.)

This translation is intended to be a working document for those who need access to the scope, content and general direction of the statutes. Anyone requiring juridical correctness or interpretation should consult a canon lawyer. However, this translation should assist such persons in identifying relevant passages. There is also a short Appendix displaying the central offices of government defined in these statutes.

Prior to 1982, Opus Dei was a Secular Institute, governed by statutes approved in 1950. From the Final Dispositions listed at the end of this document, traditions and laws of the 1950 statutes, not directly abrogated by this current edition, still apply.

Although these statutes have been kept in the shadow of a "discretion" tantamount to secrecy for many years, they were obviously written to be made public someday, and are intended to inspire people, from all walks of life, to search for higher things. From this point of view, they can only be praised. They say very little about the actual methods and practices employed by Opus Dei. For individuals deeply concerned about these methods and practices, you will find little in these statutes to settle your concerns. Opus Dei is a uniquely self-defined and self-defining organization, although public dissemination of these statutes will help place limits on the extent of its definition.

For the purposes of retaining rights of public access, copyright is hereby asserted over this English translation, which at the time of this posting, is the only one.

Download the English translation of the 1982 Statutes of Opus Dei (DOC file - 480kB)