New Opus Dei leader is veteran Vatican insider

(Crux) Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, a Spanish priest and consultant to the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as other Vatican departments, has been confirmed by Pope Francis as the new leader of Opus Dei after being elected to the post by the group’s congress.

Ocáriz becomes the third successor to St. Josemaría Escrivá, who founded Opus Dei, technically a “personal prelature” under church law, in 1928.

Widely seen as the frontrunner heading into the Opus Dei electoral congress, Ocáriz had been group’s auxiliary vicar. His selection was confirmed by Pope Francis on the same day of his election.

The choice of a new leader followed the death of Bishop Javier Echevarría on December 12. If things hold to form, and in keeping with Opus Dei’s status as a prelature, Pope Francis likely will make Ocáriz a bishop.

Generally seen as the most accomplished theologian in Opus Dei, Ocáriz was born in Paris in 1944 to a Spanish family living in exile during Spain’s Civil War. He obtained a degree in physics from the University of Barcelona, then degrees in theology from Rome’s Lateran University and the Opus Dei-affiliated University of Navarre in Spain. [More]