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PRELATE. The name of an ecclesiastical officer. There are two orders of prelates; the first is composed of bishops, and the second, of abbots, generals of orders, deans, &c.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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(10) <<Apart from creating a sui iuris particular Church, which may not have met the aspirations of Anglicans petitioning to enter into Communion with the Catholic Church, the ecclesial association of the faithful which might have fitted the requirements both of the petitioners and of the Catholic Church is that of a Personal Prelature (...).
First, Opus Dei is described as "a Catholic group of mostly laymen who take religious vows, including celibacy." A little research in the Internet, but especially one tapping official sources, will tell us that Opus Dei is a Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church.
This quite likely clears the way for formal readmission, perhaps as a "personal ordinariate" or a "personal prelature." Under either option, the Lefebvrites would maintain their distinctive spirituality, including celebration of the older Latin Mass.
Only time will tell whether they will indeed be granted this privileged status in the Church, which at this point only belongs to Opus Dei, whose nature and purpose fit comfortably within the genus of the personal prelature.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the erection of the Prelature of Opus Dei gives the occasion to summarize the progress as regards the comprehension of the figure of personal Prelature at this moment.
"We concede that the Venerable Servant of God Bishop Alvaro del Portillo y Diez de Sollano, Prelate of the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, a pastor according to the heart of Christ and a zealous minister of the Church, from this hour may be called Blessed," Cardinal Amato read in Latin from the beatification rite.
Other observers believe the Vatican might instead offer the Lefebvrites a "personal prelature," a canonical structure akin to a nonterritorial diocese led by a prelate.
It is a personal Prelature and, canonically, therefore not an association of laity though it was founded to serve them.
In college he joined Opus Dei, a "personal prelature" that fosters an ethic of seeing work as a path to holiness.
Opus Dei is a Rome-based personal prelature of the Catholic Church, founded in Madrid on October 2, 1928, by Blessed Josemaria Escriva.
This is a strategy whose failure has been demonstrated in past centuries and that, at best, might lead to the founding of a "uniate" Anglican "minichurch" in the form of a personal prelature, not a territorial diocese.
A personal ordinariate is also similar to the canonical status of "personal prelature," currently held by only one Catholic group: Opus Dei.

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