Fernando Ocáriz Braña

Fernando Ocáriz Braña (born 27 October 1944) is a priest of the Catholic Church who has been the prelate of Opus Dei since 2017. Ocáriz is the fourth person to head Opus Dei since its founding in 1928. He is widely published in philosophy and has been a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1986.

Fernando Ocáriz Braña
Prelate of Opus Dei
Mons. Ocariz.jpg
Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz
ChurchRoman Catholic
SeeOpus Dei
Appointed23 January 2017
Installed27 January 2017
PredecessorJavier Echevarría Rodríguez
Ordination15 August 1971
by Marcelo González Martín
Personal details
Fernando Ocáriz Braña

(1944-10-27) 27 October 1944 (age 77)
Previous post(s)
  • Vicar General of Opus Dei (1994–2014)
  • Auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei (2014–17)
Alma mater

Life, studies and workEdit

Fernando Ocáriz Braña was born in Paris on 27 October 1944 to José Ocáriz Gómez and María Dolores Braña, and is the youngest of eight children. He joined Opus Dei on 7 September 1961.[1] He studied physics at the University of Barcelona, where he graduated in 1966.

In the 1960s, as a theology student, he lived in Rome alongside Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei. He received a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1969 and a doctorate in theology from the University of Navarra in 1971.

He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1971, and was especially involved in ministry to young people and to university students during the first years of his priesthood.

Since 1986, he has been a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as other departments of the Roman Curia: the Congregation for the Clergy since 2003 and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization since 2011. He has also been a member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology since 1989. In 2009, it was announced that he would participate in the doctrinal discussions between the Society of St. Pius X and the Holy See.

In the early 1980s, Ocáriz was among the professors who began the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, where he was a tenured professor (now Emeritus Professor) in Fundamental Theology.

Ocáriz was appointed Vicar General of the Prelature of Opus Dei on 23 April 1994. In 2014, he was named Auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei.

He became the provisional head of Opus Dei upon the death of the prelate of Opus Dei, Javier Echevarria, in December 2016. He was elected prelate of Opus Dei on 23 January 2017, and on the same day Pope Francis confirmed that appointment.[2]

Prelate of Opus DeiEdit

A few weeks after his election, on 14 February 2017, Ocariz transmitted to the members of the prelature the conclusions of the General Congress of Opus Dei, outlining the main priorities of the prelature.[3]

Among the priorities, the foremost place was given to the centrality of the Person of Jesus Christ. Ocariz explained that this means:

  • Go deeper into contemplative prayer in the midst of the world, and to help others to walk in paths of contemplation;
  • Rediscover the value of ascetical means;
  • Reach whole person: intelligence, will, heart, relationships with others;
  • Foster inner freedom, to do things out of love;
  • Help to think, so decide with personal responsibility;
  • Trust in the grace of God, to be on the alert against voluntarism and sentimentality
  • Express the ideal of the Christian life without confusing it with perfectionism, accepting one's own weakness and that of others;
  • Practice hopeful abandonment, based on divine filiation

On the process of formation, he stressed, aside from the supernatural means:

  • Clear, positive, encouraging tone
  • Encouraging active participation
  • Showing practical impact to lead towards unity of life
  • Attitudes such as humility, joy, generosity and sincere interest in others

On the Catholic Church, Ocariz pointed to:

  • Developing mutual appreciation among the faithful of the church
  • Dealing closely with bishops and priests
  • Collaborating in catechesis, premarital courses, social work, in parishes or other places that need it

On new apostolic challenges, the prelate specified:

  • All to be protagonists of new culture, new legislation, new fashion
  • Continuous self-improvement in gift of tongues and empathy
  • Getting and training experts
  • Developing a personalized plan of formation
  • Training opinion leaders
  • Full support to educational work
  • Starting new educational center to reach both children and parents

On the family, the priorities are:

  • Support for the mutual love of spouses and the Christian life of the family
  • Shaping public opinion in favor of large families

On the youth, Ocariz stressed the importance of this apostolate:

  • Teaching prayer
  • Teaching values of friendship, study, reading, professional excellence, fortitude, temperance, service
  • Teaching the youth to give reason for their faith and value total self-giving to God, and vocation to form a Christian family
  • Developing attractive ways to continue dealings with graduates (former parents and students): young professionals, single or newly married
  • Professionalizing alumni associations
  • Performing works of mercy, spiritual and corporal
  • Deep study of social doctrine of the church, through courses and conferences
  • Promoting research with international impact


He has written a number of philosophical and theological works, specializing in the areas of fundamental theology, christology, ecclesiology and the questions regarding the spirit of Opus Dei.

  • Hijos de Dios en Cristo, Pamplona 1969
  • Hijos de Dios en Cristo. Introduccion a una teología de la participación sobrenatural, Pamplona 1972
  • La Santisima Trinidad y el Misterio de muestra Deificacion..., Scripta Theologica 6 (1974) 363-390
  • Introducción al marxismo, Prensa española, EMESA, Barcelona 1976
  • Il Marxismo: ideologia della rivoluzione, Ares, Milano 1977
  • Perspectivas para un desarrollo teológico de la participacion sobrenatural y de su contenido essentialmente Trinitario, in: "Atti del Congresso Internazionale" n. 3 Napoli 1979, 183-193
  • Amor a Dios, amor a los hombres, ed.4: Madrid 1979
  • Filiación divina, GranEncRialp X (1979) 116-118
  • El marxismo: teoría y prática de una revolución, ed. 5: Madrid 1980
  • La elevación sobrenatural como re-creación en Cristo, in: AA. VV., Prospettive Teologiche Moderne, Libreria Edtrice Vaticana 1981, (Atti del'VIII Congresso Tomistico Internationale; Studi Tomistici, 13), 281-292
  • La filiacion divina, realidad central en la vida y en la enseñanza de Mons. Escrivá de Balaguer, in Mons. Escrivá de Balaguer y el Opus Dei: en el 50 aniversario de su fundación, ed.2: Pamplona 1985 Scripta Theologica 13 (1981) 513-552
  • Lo Spirito Santo e la libertà dei figli di Dio, in: Atti del Congresso Internazionale di Pneumatologie, Lib. Ed. Vaticana 1982, 1239–1251
  • Partecipazione dell' essere e soprannaturale, in: Essere e libertà, Studi in onore di Cornelio Fabro, Rimini 1984, S. 141-154
  • La mediazione materna (Riflessione teologica sull'Enc. Redemptoris Mater), Romana III/5 (1987) 311-319
  • La nota teologica dell'insegnamento dell'«Humanae vitae» sulla contraccezione, Anthropotes 4 (1988) 25-44
  • María y la Trinidad, Scripta Theologica 20 (1988) 771-798
  • La competenza del Magistero della Chiesa «in moribus», in: Pontificio Istituto Giovanni Paolo II per Studi su Matrimonio e Famiglia Università Lateranense. Centro Accademico Romano della Santa Croce Università di Navarra, «Humanae Vitae» 20 Anni Dopo. Atti del II Congresso Internazionale di Teologia Morale (Roma, 9–12 novembre 1988), Milano 1989, p. 125-138
  • Tomás de Aquino, también hoy, resp. C. Fabro, F. Ocáriz, C. Vansteenkiste, A. Livi, Ed. Universidad de Navarra, ed. 2: Pamplona 1990
  • Il prelato dell'Opus Dei è vescovo: significato ecclesiale e teologico dell'ordinazione, Studi Cattolici 35 (1991) 22-29
  • Teologia Fondamentale (Prima Parte), Roma 1991
  • El misterio de Jesucristo. Lecciones de cristología y soteriología, EUNSA, Pamplona 1991; 1993
  • Sul primato teologico della S. Scrittura secondo S. Tommaso d'Aquino, in: Storia del tomismo (fonti e riflessi), Atti del IX Congresso tomistico internazionale, Lib. Ed. Vat., Vaticano 1992, S. 7-12
  • Teologia Fondamentale I, Ateneo Romano della Santa Croce, Roma 1992
  • God as Father, Scepter 1998
  • Dichiarazione Mysterium Ecclesiae, 24. 6. 1973: testo e commenti, Congregazione per la dottrina della fede, commenti F. Ocáriz, S. Nagy, Lib. Ed. Vat., Vaticano 1993
  • L' Opus Dei nella Chiesa, ecclesiologia, vocazione, secolarietà; resp. P. Rodríguez, F. Ocáriz, J.L. Illanes, Casale Monferrato 1993
  • La Revelación en Cristo y la consumación escatológica de la historia y del cosmos, in: Izquierdo, C.; Alviar, J. J.; Balaguer, V.; González-Alió, J. L.; Pons, J. M.; Zumaquero, J. M. (Hrsg.), Dios en la palabra y en la historia. XIII Simposio Internacional de Teología de la Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona 1993, 377-385
  • La vocación al Opus Dei como vocación en la Iglesia, in: El Opus Dei en la Iglesia: introducción eclesiológica a la vida y el apostolado del Opus Dei, Pedro Rodriguez, Fernando Ocáriz, José Luis Illanes, Rialp, Madrid 1993, p. 135-198
  • Questioni di teologia fondamentale, Ateneo Romano della Santa Croce, Roma 1993
  • Questioni su tradizione e magistero, dispense ad uso degli studenti, Ateneo Romano della Santa Croce, Roma 1993
  • Vivir como hijos de Dios. Estudios sobre el Beato Josemaría Escrivá, Eunsa, Pamplona 1993
  • El Opus Dei en la Iglesia, Rialp, Madrid 1993
  • El Beato Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y la teología, Scripta Theologica 26 (1994) 977-991; italienisch: Il beato Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer e la teologia, Romana 9 (1993) 264-274; Divinitas 38 (1994) 107-119
  • The Mystery of Jesus Christ: a Christology and Soteriology textbook, Four Courts Press, Blackrock 1994
  • Vocazione alla santità in Cristo e nella Chiesa, Ateneo Romano della Santa Croce. Santità e mondo. Atti del Convegno teologico di studio sugli insegnamenti del beato Josemaría Escrivá (Roma, 14-14 ottobre 1993) Citta del Vaticano 1994, 27-42
  • Delimitación del concepto de tolerancia y su relación con el principio de libertad, Scripta Theologica 27 (1995) 865-884
  • God, the Church and the World (Interview by Rafael Serrano), Midwest Theological Forum 2013


  1. ^ "'The Church's vitality depends on a complete openness to the Gospel'". Opus Dei. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Monsignor Ocariz confirmed as new prelate of Opus Dei". Catholic News Agency. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Letter from the Prelate". Opus Dei. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2018.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Prelate of Opus Dei
23 January 2017
Succeeded by