Opus Dei priests

Hi everyone,

Just a quick question about Opus Dei priests – are only numeraries and associates (not supernumeraries) eligible to get invitations to join the priesthood? Will most numeraries and associates at least get asked once in their life to consider joining the priesthood … or is it a rare occurrence? How long does it typically take for one to get an invitation (I’ve heard that it’s typically 10 years after joining Opus Dei)?

I’ve just been fascinated by this as the formation process for Opus Dei priests seems to be quite different from that of other organisations, both secular and regular.

Just curious…in what way is it different?

mn40, to my knowledge, Opus Dei does not invite anyone to be a priest. The clergy of Opus Dei automatically belong to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. Priests, who are not members of Opus Dei, can also request to belong to this Society. No one needs to wait for an invitation. It is true that the priests within Opus Dei itself were initially numeraries but I doubt that they were specifically asked to be priests. A priest might suggest that they think about becoming a priest, but they would most certainly come to that decision of their own free will.

How much do you know about *Opus Dei *itself? What has drawn you to *Opus Dei *specifically?

I was a numerary for 10 years so I can confirm that numeraries and associates must be invited to become priests. And the only person that can invite them to the priesthood is the Prelate. Every numerary or associate is invited to the priesthood by the Prelate? no, only some of them.
More, if a numerary or an associate for their own initiative requests to be ordained, the request is automatically denied, and mostly sure, he will never ordained.
As you all know, the vocation that numeraries and associated have is to be saints in the middle of the world, working on their own professions.
So one of the first and most important requirements for numeraries and associates’ call is that they do not want to be priests, that they’ll become saints working on their own profession.
If someone says that would like to join Opus Dei as a numerary or associate in order to become a priest later, their request to became a member is denied.
For years ex-Opus Dei members we’ve been criticizing this practice.
How someone that was called to sanctify his ordinary profession (and not become a priest), can later be asked by the Prelate to become a priest?
Is true that the numerary or associate can say “no” to the Prelate’s request, but is looked as bad spirit to say no to his requests.

Mark

That's interesting Mark12. I work closely with Opus Dei priests and numeraries although I am not a member myself. One priest, in particular, has related his call to the priesthood a few times (during Recollections) and one is given the impression that he made this choice of his own free will (in fact, his 'call' became stronger on a retreat). Although one would not expect him to go into further detail, he has never mentioned that he was actually invited to become a priest. He gives the impression that it was a decision that he came to, on his own, after much reflection and prayer and, yes, he was a Numerary.

luxcrucis thanks for your response. If you're curious for the answer, you can ask him, or better, you can ask him to show you a copy of Opus Dei's catechism.
As you all know, Opus Dei has an internal catechism where the members learn how the organization operates.
So the catechism says that only can be ordained those numeraries and associates that the Prelate invites them to do it.
Opus Dei has an international seminary close to Rome called "Cavabianca".
The Prelate invites every year a handful of numeraries to go to Rome and complete their ecclesiastic studies (which all the numeraries are obligated to do, not in Rome, but in their home countries) close to him. Some of those numeraries while in Rome are asked by the Prelate if they want to be ordained.
Everyone that goes to Rome does not go with the intention to be ordained, because as I mentioned before, it is not the numerary the one who asks to be ordained, it is the Prelate, so some of the numeraries that go to Rome, do not get ordained. Once they complete their ecclesiastical studies they return to their countries to continue working on their professions.

Mark

Interesting finding this thread here. I have a meeting in the next few days with a local Opus Dei member, to whom I was referred after contacting the house in LA. I am a choreographer, trying to fulfill my charism for dance and theater, and am not looking at Opus Dei as a stepping stone to the priesthood, to be sure.

Since I'm single and celibate, it seems that I will be a fit for numerary or associate, whichever fits the need of the prelature.

Mark12, I asked one of the Opus Dei priests I work with about the topic of this thread and here is how he explained it to me.

He said there are three wills involved when a Numerary or Associate feels the call to the priesthood. The will of God, the will of the man wanting to become a priest and the will of the Bishop. This is not a practice exclusive to Opus Dei. Any man in any Diocese/Archdiocese, after having expressed the wish to become a priest also needs to receive an invitation from the local ordinary. The person wanting to become a priest still needs to express that desire by writing a letter, in the case of Opus Dei, to the Prelate expressing that wish. He is not simply invited, out of the blue, by the Prelate or any other Bishop to become a priest.

luxcrucis, thanks for your reply. As you can see, he didn’t answered your question. Of course that in order to be ordained all the three wills that you mentioned below should be required.
And of course that the person that is requesting to be ordained will write a letter to the Prelate (or to the Bishop).
But what we’re talking here is which is first the chicken or the egg?
To explain, you said that the person (in this case a numerary or associate) should express his wish to be ordained first to the Prelate and wait for his answer.
That should be fine if it was the true.
In Opus Dei (as is mandated by its own catechism, I’m not making this up) the Prelate is the one that makes the first move and asks the numerary or associate if he wishes to be ordained.
It may sound “out of the blue” the request? yes, but that’s how things work.
Opus Dei has the premise that numeraries and associates gave up their lives to serve wherever and whichever way the apostolic work needs them.
And one of them is to be priests. Their believe is that priesthood is just another way to serve their members, not a special or specific calling, because their vocation was not to be priests, was to serve Opus Dei.
Sad to say that I met several ex-Opus Dei priests (which I can put in contact with you if you want) that confirmed that they joined Opus Dei because they didn’t want to be priests, they just wanted to be lay working people. But once the Prelate asked them to be ordained, they didn’t have much choice than to accept, as all the requests that come from the Prelate are taken as requests coming from God.
I know that is hard to understand this, and looking from the outside does not make much sense, but I could tell you hundreds of internal rules that will not make any sense either.
The same way that the Legionaries had their own “internal rules” which were never approved by the Vatican and now slowly are being reformed, people inside Opus Dei know that they are behind in the line for a special scrutiny from the Vatican.

Mark

Thank you for your responses - they have been very helpful.

Just curious, Mark12, how many years does it typically take for a numerary to be invited to the priesthood after joining Opus Dei? Also, what percentage of numeraries would you say (roughly speaking) are invited to the priesthood?

[quote="Mark12, post:9, topic:268369"]
Sad to say that I met several ex-Opus Dei priests (which I can put in contact with you if you want) that confirmed that they joined Opus Dei because they didn't want to be priests, they just wanted to be lay working people. But once the Prelate asked them to be ordained, they didn't have much choice than to accept, as all the requests that come from the Prelate are taken as requests coming from God.
I know that is hard to understand this, and looking from the outside does not make much sense, but I could tell you hundreds of internal rules that will not make any sense either.

The same way that the Legionaries had their own "internal rules" which were never approved by the Vatican and now slowly are being reformed, people inside Opus Dei know that they are behind in the line for a special scrutiny from the Vatican.

Mark

[/quote]

Er, this is quite interesting. So what happens if the numerary says no?
Is he asked to leave the work? Does he have to go for confession? How does his negative answer affect him?

Hi Mark. Can you connect me to some ex priests of opus dei?

This is a very old thread. You may have better luck making a new one and making an appeal to whomever as that poster may or may not be active in this section of the forums now.

Either way, best of luck to you!

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