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Spanish bishop open to mediation regarding non-Opus Dei priest as rector of Opus Dei shrine

Procession at the Sanctuary of Torreciudad in Spain. / Credit: Torreciudad Sanctuary

ACI Prensa Staff, Sep 12, 2023 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

Bishop Ángel Pérez Pueyo of Barbastro Monzón, Spain, recently made a statement regarding the differences he has with Opus Dei concerning his appointment of a non-Opus Dei priest as rector of the Opus Dei Torreciudad shrine in Spain.

“We are open to the competent ecclesiastical authority resolving the situation if they are really not satisfied with the arguments presented,” Pérez said in a letter titled “Aunque Duela” (“even though it hurts”) published Sept. 10 in the diocesan newsletter.

Pérez said he has waited for things to calm down before making a statement about the Torreciudad shrine, although the diocese already responded to the situation less than two weeks ago.

The bishop pointed out that “despite the media brouhaha, which has tried to confront us and muddy the situation,” at the diocese “we have always tried to reach out to the prelature.”

Pérez assured that his intention has been to “promote ecclesial communion” and “adjust reality to current canonical legislation” with his July appointment, for the first time in its history, of a non-Opus Dei priest as rector of the prelature’s Torreciudad shrine.

This decision was received by the prelature “with surprise” since according to the statement it released at the time, “it’s not up to the bishop to make this appointment as it is a church of the prelature.”

Pérez expressed his support for “forming mixed teams” with the presence of “diocesan priests and the respective religious institutions” to “crystallize the desired convergence.”

The bishop thus stated that he is in favor of a possible ecclesial mediation.

Pérez concluded the letter stating: “I have great peace for having proceeded with honesty, transparency, courage, and evangelical spirit. Ask the Lord to continue enlightening me to carry out his will even if it hurts.”

Sources at the Opus Dei prelature consulted about the content of the letter by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, said they have “nothing to add, nor to clarify nor to comment” and that they are still waiting for the diocese to study the proposal that they sent regarding Torreciudad.

The Diocese of Barbastro-Monzón has announced that Pérez will preside next Saturday at the Marian Day of the Family in Torreciudad, an annual event that is usually attended by thousands of pilgrims, especially members of the prelature.

The controversy over the Torreciudad shrine takes place at a time when significant steps have been taken by the Holy See to modify the canonical nature of personal prelatures.

These changes were made through the decrees Praedicate Evangelium in March 2022, Ad Charisma Tuendum in July 2022, and Pope Francis’ motu proprio published Aug. 8 that modifies the canons relating to personal prelatures.

In a recent report published by the Spanish newspaper El País, the prelate of Opus Dei, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, pointed out that “Opus Dei does not wish to be an exception” and that its specificity “rests in the charism or spirit, more than in its legal trappings. At its core is the universal call to holiness through work and the ordinary realities of life.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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