Feb 13, 2017

Opus Dei leader recounts relationship with Pope Francis

Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz
Opus Dei leader Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz recounted the first time he met the pontiff, when he was still Bishop Jorge Bergoglio, auxiliary of Buenos Aires

Herald Malaysia
Feb 11, 2017

“On both of these occasions, he seemed like a very serious person, not like now, when he’s always smiling. He seemed serious, very kind, simple, educated … A serious person who, at the same time, manifested a great heart for the people,” he said.

Speaking about what’s next for the prelature he now leads, Ocáriz said he wanted for Opus Dei to continue doing the good it’s done, “and is increasingly doing, in service of the world, which is really the only thing that interests us: the good of the person. The good of the person which, in the end, is the encounter with Jesus Christ.”

Without going into details, among other reasons because his plan moving forward has to be approved by the congress currently meeting in Rome, he said he wants to have further programmes aimed at the youth. In many places, young people feel “crushed, without ideals” and many times lack hope. Following the line of recent popes, he also wants Opus Dei to work more closely with families.

Seeing that his election took place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Ocáriz also spoke about one of the lesser known facts of Opus Dei: since the 1950s, and after overcoming some resistance from the Vatican, the prelature has had cooperators who are not Catholics and also many who are not Christians.

“We shouldn’t be people of confrontation but builders of bridges,” he said.

In 1986, Ocáriz was named a consultant to the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, and emerged as a steadily more valued member of Ratzinger’s team.

Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the same time and who today is largely perceived as Pope Francis’ preferred theologian, said in a statement that he appreciates the Spaniard’s “prudent and balanced nature.”

The cardinal also defined Ocáriz as a “clear and differentiated thinker who fights for dialogue,” and as someone who “is a shepherd who promotes unity with the Pope and teaching while putting his whole heart into pastoral care.” -- Crux Now
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