13. What’s “fraternal correction?”

Fraternal correction is the practice in which brothers and sisters in the faith support each other in the pursuit of the perfection they’re both striving for. Jesus recommended this practice in Matthew 18:15 – “But if thy brother sin against thee, go and show him his fault, between thee and him alone. If he listen to thee, thou hast won thy brother.”

In Opus Dei fraternal correction is practiced in a way that is intended to ensure that:

  • The perceived fault in the other person is, in fact, a fault or failing in the spirit of the Work;
  • The person receiving the correction doesn’t get hit with the same thing over and over and over again;
  • If the directors of the Work are aware of some fact that makes it inopportune to make the correction, it isn’t made;
  • A spirit of fraternal charity is the motivation for the correction;
  • The person receiving the correction is aware that the matter in question isn’t simply the opinion of another member but is, in fact, an issue of the spirit of the Work.

Any member of Opus Dei may give a fraternal correction to any other member. There is an established procedure to ensure that the above criteria are respected. The person who observes a fault or failing in another member first prays about the issue and for the person to whom he will make the correction. He then goes to that person’s director or the director of the center and confidentially mentions it. If the director agrees the correction should be made he gives permission. The person making the correction then confidentially tells the other person what he observed, simply and clearly. The person receiving the correction then thanks his brother or sister for making it. When the correction has been made, the person goes to the oratory to pray for the other, and then tells the director that the correction has been made.

When receiving a fraternal correction members should do so cheerfully and without making any excuses. If he disagrees with the correction he may go to the director for an explanation.

Any fault or failing in living the spirit of the Work would be matter for fraternal correction.

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