Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz was born in Paris on October 27, 1944, in a Spanish family exiled in France due to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The youngest of eight children, he graduated from the University of Barcelona with a degree in Physical Sciences in 1966. 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, the year he was ordained a priest. In his first years as a priest he was especially involved in ministry to young people and university students.
He is a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (since 1986), 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 is a consultor for the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (since 1986, when it was the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and for the Dicastery for Evangelization (since 2022; previously, from 2011, he was a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization). From 2003 to 2017, he was a consultor for the then Congregation for the Clergy. He has been a member of the Pontifical Theological Academy since 1989. In the 1980s, he was among the professors who began the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, where he was a tenured professor (now emeritus) in Fundamental Theology.
He has published two important works on Christology: Hijos de Dios en Cristo. Introducción a una teología de la participación sobrenatural and El misterio de Jesucristo. The second title (co-authored with Lucas F. Mateo Seco and José Antonio Riestra) is available in English as The Mystery of Jesus Christ. Other publications include Amar con obras: a Dios y a los hombres and Naturaleza, gracia y gloria, with a preface by then-Cardinal Ratzinger. In 2013, Rafael Serrano's extensive interview with him was published under the title Sobre Dios, la Iglesia y el mundo. He has also published two philosophical works: El marxismo: teoría y práctica de una revolución and Voltaire: tratado sobre la tolerancia. In addition, he has authored numerous theological and philosophical articles.
Since 1994 he has been the Vicar General of Opus Dei, and in 2014 he was named Auxiliary Vicar of the Prelature. Over the past 22 years he has accompanied the previous Prelate, Bishop Javier Echevarría, on his pastoral trips to more than 70 countries. In the 1960s, as a theology student, he lived in Rome alongside Saint Josemaría, the Founder of Opus Dei. From a young age he has been an avid tennis player, which he still enjoys.
He was elected and confirmed by Pope Francis as Prelate of Opus Dei on January 23, 2017.