Jesuits elect first non-European leader
For the first time, the Jesuits have elected a non-European as their Superior General. The 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus has elected Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, of the Venezuelan Province. Father Arturo Sosa was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 12, 1948. He has a Ph.D in Political Science from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and speaks Spanish, Italian, and English. He also understands French. Fr Sosa works in the area of Faith and Justice at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome and shares a natural affinity with the Pope’s concern for the poor, the displaced and the marginalised.
Pat Colye asked Dr Michael O’Sullivan SJ, who worked for many years in El Salvador and Pinochet’s Chile, why the Jesuits looked to South America. Michael says that you have to look at the context in order to understand why the Jesuits would have elected someone like Fr Sosa, as well as the man himself. He begins by talking about his own involvement in living under Pinochet and how many gave up their lives standing up for the oppressed in their passion to create a more just world. He said that the idea of focusing on those living on the margins is very much at the heart of the theology of priests from South America.