Forty years after St. John Paul established Opus Dei as a personal prelature in his Apostolic Constitution Ut Sit, Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter Motu proprio Ad charisma tuendum, published today, confirmed the charism of Opus Dei but ordered the transfer of jurisdiction from the Dicastery of Bishops to the Dicastery for Clergy and also established that the Prelate can no longer be awarded the episcopal order. This enters into force August 4.

The Holy Father modified some of Opus Dei’s structures on the basis of the March 19, 2022 constitution on reform of the Roman Curis, Praedicate Evangelium, in order to “protect the charism” and “promote the evangelizing action that its members carry out in the world” by spreading “the call to holiness in the world, through the sanctification of work and commitments to family and society.”

Here’s a translation of some of the salient paragraphs:

“To protect the charism, my predecessor Saint John Paul II, in the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit, of 28 November 1982, erected the Prelature of Opus Dei, entrusting it with the pastoral task of contributing in a particular way to the evangelizing mission of the Church.” (Vatican file photo, Pope, prelate)

“With this Motu Proprio we intend to confirm the Prelature of Opus Dei in the authentically charismatic context of the Church, specifying its organization in harmony with the testimony of the Founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, and with the teachings of the conciliar ecclesiology regarding personal prelatures.”

By means of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium of March 19, 2022 that reforms the organization of the Roman Curia to better promote its service in favor of evangelization, I have deemed it convenient to entrust to the Dicastery for the Clergy the competence for all that pertains to the Apostolic See regarding the personal prelatures, of which the only one erected up to now is that of Opus Dei, in consideration of the pre-eminent task carried out in it, according to the norm of law, by clerics (cf. can. 294, CIC).

In Article 1, the Pope moves the jurisdiction for Opus Dei from the Dicastery for Bishops to the Dicastery for Clergy.

Article 2. The text of art. 6 of the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit is, starting from now, replaced by the following text: “Each year the Prelate will submit to the Dicastery for the Clergy a report on the state of the Prelature and on the carrying out of its apostolic work.”

(That original Ut sit article VI read: “Through the Sacred Congregation for Bishops, the Prelate will present to the Roman Pontiff, every five years, a report on the state of the Prelature, and on the development of its apostolic work.”

Art 4. In full respect of the nature of the specific charism described by the aforementioned Apostolic Constitution, we intend to strengthen the conviction that, for the protection of the particular gift of the Spirit, a form of government based more on charism than on hierarchical authority is needed. Therefore the Prelate will not be awarded or eligible to be awarded the episcopal order.

Art. 5. Considering that the pontifical insignia are reserved for those awarded the episcopal order, the Prelate of Opus Dei is granted, by reason of his office, the use of the title of Apostolic Protonotary supernumerary with the title of Reverend Monsignor and therefore may use the insignia corresponding to this title.

This motu proprio will enter into force on August 4, 2022 and be published in the official commentary of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

Given in Rome at St. Peter’s on July 14, 2022, the 10th year of pontificate, Francesco


The Bishops write, among other things: “Since the beginning of the Synodal Path, the Synodal Committee has endeavoured to find direct ways of communication with the Roman bodies. In our opinion, this would be the right place for such clarifications. Unfortunately, the Synodal Committee has not been invited to a discussion to date. We regret with irritation that this direct communication has not yet taken place. In our understanding, a synodal Church is something else!”

An English translation of the full response from the German episcopacy on the July 21 Vatican communique on the “synodal path” underway in Germany is here (scroll down to bottom of page): 21.07.2022: Statement by the Presidents of the Synodal Path on the statement presented by the Holy See


Seems the Catholic Church in Germany, as it pursues a “Synodal Path,” is being told to “shape up”….


Released today by the Holy See Press Office:  “In order to protect the freedom of the people of God and the exercise of the episcopal ministry, it seems necessary to specify that the “Synodal Path” in Germany has no power to oblige the Bishops and the faithful to adopt new ways of governing and new approaches to doctrine and moral.

“It would not be lawful, before an agreement is reached at the level of the universal Church, to initiate new official structures or doctrines in dioceses (as) that would represent a wound to ecclesial communion and a threat to the unity of the Church. As the Holy Father recalled in the Letter to the People of God who are on their way in Germany: “The universal Church lives in and of the particular Churches, just as the particular Churches live and flourish in and from the universal Church, and if they find themselves separated from the entire ecclesial body, they weaken, rot and die. Hence the need to keep communion with the whole body of the Church always alive and effective “[1]. Therefore it is hoped that the proposals of the pathway of the particular Churches in Germany will converge on the synodal path that the universal Church is taking for a mutual enrichment and a witness of that unity with which the body of the Church manifests its fidelity to Christ the Lord.” [1] FRANCIS, Letter to the People of God who are on their way in Germany, 9   (Pope urges German Church to walk together, moved by the Spirit – Vatican News)

(FYI: BISHOPS WRITE OPEN LETTER TO GERMAN EPISCOPACY: April 2022: More than 70 bishops from around the world have released a “fraternal open letter” to Germany’s bishops warning that sweeping changes to Church teaching advocated by the ongoing process known as the “Synodal Path” may lead to schism. Bishops sign letter warning that Germany’s ‘Synodal Path’ could lead to schism | Catholic News Agency)




Following the publication of the investigation*,  the years of the Pope Emeritus’ Bavarian episcopate are in the spotlight. It’s only fair to remember Benedict XVI’s fight against clerical paedophilia during his pontificate and his willingness to meet and listen to the victims, asking them for forgiveness.

By Andrea Tornielli **

The words that were used during the press conference to present the report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich, as well as the seventy-two pages of the document dedicated to the brief Bavarian episcopate of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, have filled the newspapers in the past week and have triggered some very strong comments. The Pope emeritus, with the help of his collaborators, did not evade the questions of the law firm commissioned by the Archdiocese of Munich to draw up a report that examines a very long span of time, from the episcopate of Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber to that of the current Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Benedict XVI provided an 82-page response, after having been able to examine some of the documentation in the diocesan archives. Predictably, it was Ratzinger’s four and a half years at the helm of the Bavarian diocese that monopolized the attention of commentators. (photo Munich cathedral)

Some of the accusations have been known for more than ten years and had already been published by important international media. Today, there are four cases being contested against Ratzinger, and his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, has announced that the Pope Emeritus will issue a detailed statement after he has finished examining the report. In the meantime, however, the reiterated condemnation of these crimes by Benedict XVI can be forcefully repeated, and the steps taken by the Church in recent years, starting from his pontificate, can be retraced.

Child abuse is a horrendous crime. The abuse committed against minors by clerics is possibly an even more revolting crime, and this has been tirelessly repeated by the last two Popes: it’s a sin that cries out vengeance before God that little ones suffer violence on the part of priests or religious to whom their parents have entrusted them to be educated in the faith. It is unacceptable that they become victims of sexual predators hiding in ecclesiastical garb. The most eloquent words on this subject remain those pronounced by Jesus: those who scandalize the little ones would do better to hang a millstone around their necks and throw themselves into the sea.

It cannot be forgotten that Ratzinger, who as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had already fought the phenomenon in the last phase of the pontificate of St. John Paul II, with whom he had been a close collaborator, and once he became Pope, promulgated very harsh norms against clerical abusers, special laws to combat paedophilia. What’s more, with his concrete example, Benedict XVI testified to the urgency of that change of mentality that is so important to counter the phenomenon of abuse: listening and closeness to the victims to whom forgiveness must always be asked. For too long abused children and their relatives, instead of being considered wounded persons to be welcomed and accompanied on the path of healing, have been kept at a distance. Unfortunately, they have often been distanced and even pointed to as “enemies” of the Church and its good name.

It was Joseph Ratzinger, the first Pope to meet several times with victims of abuse during his apostolic journeys. It was Benedict XVI, even against the opinion of many self-styled “Ratzingerians”, who upheld, in the midst of the storm of scandals in Ireland and Germany, the face of a penitential Church, which humbles itself in asking for forgiveness, which feels dismay, remorse, pain, compassion and closeness.

It is precisely in this penitential image that the heart of Benedict’s message lies. The Church is not a business, it is not saved only by good practices or by the application, even if indispensable, of strict and effective norms. The Church needs to ask for forgiveness, help and salvation from the Only One who can give them, from the Crucified One who has always been on the side of the victims and never of the executioners.

With extreme lucidity, on the flight that took him to Lisbon in May 2010, Benedict XVI recognized that “the sufferings of the Church come precisely from the inside of the Church, from the sin that exists within the Church. We have always been aware of this, but now we do see it in a truly appalling way: that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from the external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church, and that the Church needs deeply to learn repentance again, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on one side and the need for justice on the other. Forgiveness does not replace justice.” These words were preceded and followed by concrete facts in the fight against the scourge of clerical paedophilia. All this can neither be forgotten nor erased.

The reconstructions contained in the Munich report – which, it must be remembered, is not a judicial inquiry nor a final sentence – will help to combat paedophilia in the Church if they are not reduced to the search for easy scapegoats and summary judgments. Only by avoiding these risks will they be able to contribute to the search for justice in truth and to a collective examination of conscience on the errors of the past.

* Munich Report on sex abuse in Germany

**editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication since December 2018.



By CNA Staff – Munich, Germany, Jan 24, 2022 /

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has apologized for mistakenly saying that he did not attend a disputed meeting in 1980 while serving as archbishop of Munich and Freising.

In a statement published in the German Catholic weekly Die Tagepost on Jan. 24, the 94-year-old retired pope said that the mistake was the result of an editing error, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner. Benedict XVI initially told investigators that he was not present at a meeting of archdiocesan officials on Jan. 15, 1980.

But in the statement, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s private secretary, said that the pope emeritus “would now like to make it clear that, contrary to what was stated during the hearing, he took part in the ordinariate meeting on Jan. 15, 1980.”

“The statement to the contrary was therefore objectively incorrect,” he said.

“He would like to emphasize that this was not done out of bad faith, but was the result of an error in the editing of his statement. He will explain how this came about in the pending statement. He is very sorry for this mistake and asks for this mistake to be excused.”

A more than 1,000-page report *** on the handling of abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, issued on Jan. 20, accused the retired pope of mishandling four cases during his tenure as archbishop from 1977 to 1982.

Benedict XVI, who strongly denies cover-up allegations, sent 82 pages of observations to researchers compiling the report.

One of the four cases related to a priest named Father Peter Hullermann, who is accused of abusing at least 23 boys aged eight to 16 between 1973 and 1996.

The case was first highlighted by the media in 2010, when Benedict XVI was pope, and again earlier this month.

*** I have learned that the report mentioned in this story is actually well over 1,600 pages



Thursday morning, upon receiving the German report of over 1,000 pages on sex abuse cases in that country, Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni told reporters: “The Holy See believes it must give due attention to the document, whose content it does not currently know. In the next few days, following its publication, the Holy See will examine it and thus be able to appropriately examine the details. In reiterating the sense of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors committed by clerics, the Holy See ensures closeness to all victims and confirms the path taken to protect the little ones by guaranteeing them safe environments.”

Following Matteo Bruni’s declaration, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, personal secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict, released the following statement to reporters: “Until this afternoon, Benedict XVI had not known the report of the Westpfahl-Spilker-Wastl law firm, over 1,000 pages in length. In coming days, he will examine the text with the necessary attention. The Pope Emeritus, as he has already repeated several times during the years of his pontificate, expresses his dismay and shame at the abuse of minors committed by clerics, and manifests his personal closeness and his prayers for all the victims, some of whom he met on the occasion of his apostolic journeys.”

For more on German document: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250153/report-on-handling-of-abuse-cases-in-germany-s-munich-archdiocese-released


I’m not sure if you are aware of it but the Vatican is present at the Dubai Expo that began earlier this month and runs through March 2022. Here are some links to stories about the Holy See Pavilion: A 1,200-year-old Vatican Library manuscript is on display at Dubai Expo (catholicnewsagency.com). ALSO: The Holy See Opens Pavilion at Expo 2020 – Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia – Abu Dhabi (avosa.org). ALSO: Expo Dubai 2020 – Holy See Pavilion – YouTube. ALSO: Holy See Pavilion | Expo 2020 Dubai

As I do every Monday, I appear tonight on EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy” when we talk about their focus this week: How can one know true and lasting happiness?  I explain what true and lasting happiness is for me. Tune in at 7:30 pm, East Coast time. You can also watch online if you can’t get to a TV (ewtn.com, then TV, then Watch Live).


There are some great photos in the following link about a meeting that Pope Francis had this morning in the Paul VI Hall with 500 Lutheran youths on an ecumenical journey to Rome from Germany. There was a musical interlude for the Holy Father who afterwards said: “Singing unites. …In the choir, no one is alone: it is important to listen to others.” Pope Francis: Listen to the melody of God in your lives – Vatican News

Also this morning, Francis welcomed German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who afterwards met Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

A Vatican statement noted that, “During the cordial talks, the Parties discussed the recent internal political developments within the country. Attention then turned to matters of mutual interest, especially the question of migration and various situations of international conflict, as well as the importance of multilateral commitment to the search for a solution.”

Click here for additional photos: Pope Francis receives German president in audience – Vatican News


The Office of Papal Charities and Rome’s San Carlo di Nancy Hospital team up to offer cardiological checkups for the poor at a mobile medical unit placed in St. Peter’s Square. The initiative is called “The roads of the heart, a journey for prevention.”

By Benedetta Capelli (vaticannews)

The goal of the joint initiative of the Office of Papal Charities and Rome’s San Carlo di Nancy Hospital is to provide life-saving cardiological checkups for those who do not have easy access to them, especially the poor living in the surrounding areas. The outreach is also providing a solidarity of presence for those who often feel alone and abandoned.

Many disadvantaged persons went to St. Peter’s Square since 9am Monday morning when the mobile clinic opened its doors. Service continued until 6pm. The initiative has been dubbed, “The Roads of the Heart,” and is coordinated by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski who heads the Office of Papal Charities, the Vatican’s charitable office that operates on behalf of the Pope, and medical doctors from the San Carlo di Nancy Hospital in Rome.

Outreach for the most vulnerable
The mobile clinic was placed next to the right colonnade where free heart and general medical consultations were carried out. The initiative, organized by the hospital, and including involvement from Tiberia Hospital and the Italian Heart Foundation, is itinerant and started on Thursday. It aims to raise awareness on good practices in daily life and the importance of regular check-ups. Cardiovascular diseases are in fact the main cause of death in Italy, accounting for 35.8% of all deaths, with a higher incidence among females: 38.8% compared to 32.5% for males. The percentages increase significantly for those living on the street, especially when compounded by other health challenges.

(PS. Rosaries blessed by the Pope were given to the doctors of this mobile clinic).