TIMELINE OF CHURCH DOCUMENTS RELEVANT TO PRELATURES
DECREE ON THE MINISTRY AND LIFE OF PRIESTS PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS
POPE PAUL VI
Where a real apostolic spirit requires it, not only should a better distribution of priests be brought about but there should also be favored such particular pastoral works as are necessary in any region or nation anywhere on earth. To accomplish this purpose there should be set up international seminaries, special personal dioceses or prelatures (vicariates), and so forth, by means of which, according to their particular statutes and always saving the right of bishops, priests may be trained and incardinated for the good of the whole Church.
APOSTOLIC LETTER - ECCLESIAE SANCTAE - ISSUED MOTU PROPRIO
IMPLEMENTING THE FOLLOWING DECREES OF VATICAN COUNCIL II:
Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests
POPE PAUL VI
4. Moreover, to carry on special pastoral or missionary work for various regions or social groups which are in need of special assistance, prelatures composed of priests from the secular clergy equipped with special training can be usefully established by the Apostolic See. These prelatures are under the government of their own prelate and possess their own statutes.
It will be in the competence of this prelate to establish and direct a national or international seminary in which students are suitably instructed. The same prelate has the right to incardinate the same students and to promote them to sacred orders under the title of service for the prelature.
Laymen, whether single or married, may also dedicate themselves with their professional skill to the service of these works and projects after making an agreement with the prelature.
Such prelatures are not erected unless the episcopal conferences of the territory in which they will render their services have been consulted. In rendering this service, diligent care is to be taken to safeguard the rights of local Ordinaries and close contacts with the same episcopal conferences are always to be maintained.
Nov. 28th, 1982
Erecting Opus Dei as the first Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church
For A Permanent Record Of The Matter
John Paul II
I. Opus Dei is erected as a personal Prelature, international in ambition, with the name of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, or, in abbreviated form, Opus Dei. The Sacerdotal Society of the Holy Cross is erected as a clerical Association intrinsically united to the Prelature.
II. The Prelature is governed by the norms of general law, by those of this Constitution, and by its own Statutes, which receive the name "Code of particular law of Opus Dei".
III. The jurisdiction of the personal Prelature extends to the clergy incardinated in it, and also—only in what refers to the fulfillment of the specific obligations undertaken through the juridical bond, by means of a contract with the Prelature— to the laity who dedicate themselves to the apostolic activities of the Prelature: both clergy and laity are under the authority of the Prelate in carrying out the pastoral task of the Prelature, as established in the preceding article.
IV. The Ordinary of the Prelature Opus Dei is its Prelate, whose election, which has to be carried out as established in general and particular law, has to be confirmed by the Roman Pontiff.
Nov. 28th, 1983
1982 Code of Canon Law takes force
TITLE IV.PERSONAL PRELATURES
Can. 294 After the conferences of bishops involved have been heard, the Apostolic See can erect personal prelatures, which consist of presbyters and deacons of the secular clergy, to promote a suitable distribution of presbyters or to accomplish particular pastoral or missionary works for various regions or for different social groups.
Can. 295 §1. The statutes established by the Apostolic See govern a personal prelature, and a prelate presides offer it as the proper ordinary; he has the right to erect a national or international seminary and even to incardinate students and promote them to orders under title of service to the prelature.
§2. The prelate must see to both the spiritual formation and decent support of those whom he has promoted under the above-mentioned title.
Can. 296 Lay persons can dedicate themselves to the apostolic works of a personal prelature by agreements entered into with the prelature. The statutes, however, are to determine suitably the manner of this organic cooperation and the principal duties and rights connected to it.
Can. 297 The statutes likewise are to define the relations of the personal prelature with the local ordinaries in whose particular churches the prelature itself exercises or desires to exercise its pastoral or missionary works, with the previous consent of the diocesan bishop.
You can use the Code of Opus Dei links under the tab above and work
your way through the list of pages, from the Code of Canon Law
and reading through to the end of the 1982 Statutes,
which all equal about 200 pages printed out.
Or, go through and look at the main topic pages using the tabs for
your areas of interest, which will refer you to
specific Code Numbers you can find here.
The Code is presented here primarily for research, and is updated as
a newer translation becomes available. Important points about the Code, such as why the 1950 Constitutions are still in force, are discussed below.
There are references in both the 1950 Constitutions and the 1982 Statutes to specific Canons from the Code of Canon Law.
These references appear in red and refer to the 1917 Code of Canon Law which was replaced by the 1983 Code one year after the Prelature of Opus Dei was erected. They are no longer valid to the Church, generally.
But because they were previously incorporated into the Constitutions, the particular laws stated in those Canons are in force for Opus Dei unless they have been specifically altered by the 1982 Code.