Obituary: Bishop Alvaro del Portillo

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Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, priest, died Rome 23 March, aged 80. Leader of the conservative Roman Catholic organisation Opus Dei from the death of its founder Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer in 1975. Escriva's closest aide for 40 years, he was ordained a priest in 1944, and consecrated a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1991. Opus Dei claims a world-wide membership of 77,000, including 1,500 priests. In 1982 the Pope made the organisation a 'personal prelature', giving it a privileged position in the church hierarchy with unusual autonomy to run its own affairs.