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Jesuit Superior General publishes a book interview on modern Society of Jesus

The challenges within the Church and in the Society of Jesus, and the crisis in Venezuela and the pandemic, make up part of the conversation between the Spanish journalist Dario Menor and Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits since 2016.

Darío Menor compares him to the "cannonball" that wounded St. Ignatius of Loyola 500 years ago, and which changed his life and the lives of millions of others.

They cover topics ranging from the human to the divine. One of the most anticipated pieces of their conversation is the relationship between the Venezuelan Jesuit and the first Jesuit Pope.

"On the road with Ignatius".
“It's obvious that there is strong agreement on the big themes such as the denunciation of clericalism, the commitment to synodality and reaching greater harmony. Although in the book it is very clear that the Society (of Jesus) does not try to influence the papacy nor the papacy influence the Society, that they are separate entities in the Church, and that each one has its own identity."

Among other topics, they discuss the challenges the pandemic has posed to the work of the Jesuits.

Superior General of the Society of Jesus
"There has been tremendous creativity all around the world in taking advantage of this opportunity to deepen the commitment to the mission of reconciliation and justice."

Among the 270 questions and answers, Dario Menor recounts that he was struck by how St. Ignatius was even able to leave his discernment to a mule.

"Shortly after he was wounded, he was on his way to Manresa, on the back of a mule. He meets a Muslim who speaks to him about the Virgin Mary in terms that for him are an insult. And he reaches the point of thinking of killing this Muslim, but he leaves the final decision in the hands of his mule, (we must remember that Ignatius was a soldier) since he decides that if he goes one way he will go at the Muslim, while if he goes the other way, he will not".

From his childhood in Caracas, to his passion for politics and relationship with Hugo Chávez, Fr. Arturo Sosa shares his life with the world to begin this “Ignatian Year,” one which has been filled with challenges for the whole world, and the Jesuits alike. 

Superior General of the Society of Jesus
"At this time we have about 200 Jesuits hospitalized and many others infected. In the month of April alone 28 Jesuits died in India, but in all countries there is a great willingness to continue. The schools have not stopped, the work in the parishes, the social centers have not stopped and we have even found different ways to conduct the spiritual exercises".

The book was presented to Pope Francis and is published in English, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Tamil, Vietnamese and Arabic; offering a 360-degree view of the Jesuits 500 years after the conversion of their founder.

Daniel Diaz Vizzi.

TR: Justin McLellan