What is the mission of the prelature of Opus Dei? What is special about this mission that is not found in other Church entities?
The mission of the prelature of Opus Dei is the same salvific mission as that of the whole Church, carried out in conformity with a specific charism of sanctification and apostolate in professional work and in the context of ordinary life.
Does Opus Dei have greater autonomy now that it is a prelature. Can one speak of Opus Dei as a church within the Church?
No part of the Church constitutes "a church within the Church."
It is the Church itself, represented by the Pope, that makes the decision to create a personal prelature, after consulting the Bishops’ Conferences, in order to serve souls more effectively. Naturally this decision requires the existence of the elements that constitute a personal prelature: a community of faithful, presided over by a prelate, with a clergy that assists him in his pastoral task, and a specific ecclesial purpose.
Naturally this vocational requirement is not essential to personal prelatures, which could be based on very diverse circumstances, usually linked to social bonds among its faithful.
What was Opus Dei before it became a prelature? How did the 1950 statutes differ from the present ones?
From its foundation on October 2, 1928, Opus Dei was already in essence, although in an embryonic state, the same as we see it today: a part of the Church, made up of faithful and structured hierarchically around a head who was at first the founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá, a priest.
Cardinal Ruini, the Vicar of the diocese of Rome, and Bishop Javier Echevarria, Opus Dei's Prelate, were among the speakers. The conference was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (VIDEO: 2’37’’).