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Jesuit Superior General: I cannot lead the Society under years of personal decay

2014-07-02

This past May, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus convoked a General Congregation for 2016. He's expected to formally give his resignation then. Adolfo Nicolas spoke about his plans for the first time, as he addressed the Society's spokespeople in Spain.

Fr. Nicolas was elected six years ago. He said that his age played a key role in his decision to step down. 

FR. ADOLFO NICOLAS
Superior General, Society of Jesus 
"Certainly, I cannot lead the Society under years of personal decay. After the age of 80, you start that process of decay. I prefer to leave the job, when I still retain my senses, and not wait until Jesuits start asking themselves, 'this old man in Rome is still there?' That is not very positive. You have to do things with certain clarity, and it's better start preparing things now.”

The General Congregation will take place in 2016. Until then, Jesuits around the world must analyze the challenges that society faces today, and how the Company can help overcome them.

FR. ADOLFO NICOLAS
Superior General, Society of Jesus 
"I think that our role today within the Church is to foster depth, so that we don't do what everyone else is doing: what's newsworthy, what's immediate. But rather, we need to look at things in depth and try to respond to what the Church needs now.”

One of the matters that they Soceity will look at is the situation in the Middle East, where two members remain missing: Prem Kuman in  Afghanistan, and Paolo Dall'Oglio in Syria. Fr. Nicolas said that they are "first-class” Jesuits, very dedicated, and aware of the risks they face, but were unafraid.

FR. ADOLFO NICOLAS
Superior General, Soceity of Jesus 
"For example, Fr. Frank Van der Lugt, was recently killed in Syria. He was a man that consciously understood he was headed towards martyrdom. When he had the opportunity to leave, amid international pressure, he chose to stay. He said that while his people were suffering, he would stay with them, and they killed him for that.”

Within the Society, the resignation of the Superior General is not without precedent. Fr. Nicolas' predecessor, Peter Hans Kolvenbach, stepped down in 2008, with the blessing from Benedict XVI.


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