When he was elected, Fr. Arturo Sosa was surprised. He said, “I have the feeling I’ll need so much help. It is a big challenge”. But the challenges awaiting him do not weigh only on his shoulders. He will do his best, as he’s expressed “it is not the work of one person, but the work of the whole Society”.
This Jesuit became the 30th successor of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. At the time of his election, he was the Delegate for Interprovincial Houses of the Society in Rome, a position he's held for the past 2 years, and looked over the formation of Jesuits and other initiatives in Rome.
The former Vatican spokesperson, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, however, clarified that despite Fr. Arturo’s expertise in political science, “he is not a politician” but someone “who understands the reality of the world in which he lives”. When he served as provincial superior in Venezuela, the Society was divided on the issue of the dictatorship in place.
Fr. Lombardi also explained that the election of Fr. Arturo shows the “Church’s openness towards the Latin American countries in matters of great responsibility”. In fact, the Venezuelan father is the first superior general of the Jesuits from Latin America.
The decision was made by 212 Jesuit electors, who were acting as representatives to the nearly 17,000 Jesuits serving all over the world. They were gathered over the course of a week for their general congregation in Rome.
And the good news made its way to Pope Francis’ ears – perhaps the most well-known Jesuit in the world – before the announcement of the newly elected superior general was made to the public.
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