Statutes of Opus Dei -- Latin and English
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
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.
The original electronic document is distributed in RTF (Rich Text
Format), which is a universal word processing format that can be
read by most word processors. The original Latin text is shown in
black, and the English translation appears indented, boldface and
in a blue color. This document is in 12 point text. It prints in
about 135 pages.
If you have problems opening the link above, you can try right-clicking
on the link and saving the file to your hard drive first before
Posted: August 6, 2003