With this symbolic military salute, the former Superior General of the Jesuits, Adolfo Nicolás, handed the baton to the next leader of the Society of Jesus, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa. In the meantime, in the General Curia in Rome, there were satisfied looks all around. A spokesperson made the announcement.
'This morning, after four days of prayer and reflection, the Society of Jesus has elected father Arturo Sosa from Venezuela, as its new superior general. He is 68 years old. And at the moment he is the delegate for the International Roman Houses of the Society of Jesus'.
One of the electors was Fr. Federico Lombardi, former spokesman for the pope, and a good friend of the new general. He said that the Fr. Arturo Sosa 'is a reflection of the moment the Jesuits are living.'
FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI 'He is experienced in the fields of Faith and Justice. But he is also a person who cares about the intellectual apostolate of the Society of Jesus, because he has been the rector of a university for ten years. He knows the Jesuit ventures in Rome very well, like the Gregorian Univeristy, the 'Istituto Orientale' and the Biblicum. He is very experienced.'
Arturo Sosa is the 31st Superior General of the Jesuits, and the first from outside Europe. He was superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela until 2004, and the rector of the Catholic University of Táchira, on the border with Colombia.
Those who know Fr. Arturo Sosa well say that he is a joyful man, with social sensibilities, and an excellent mediator. He is, however, above all, a man of faith, deep spirituality, and a priest.