Sosa: The face of God is multicoloured and multicultural
In his first interview, the Jesuit Superior interprets his election “as confirmation of the path initiated back when Arrupe was Superior General” and states: “our life is based on collaboration”
Collaboration (“our life is based on our ability to collaborate with others”) and multiculturalism (“the true face of God is multicoloured, multicultured and extremely varied”). These are the two “fundamental themes” Fr. Sosa – who was elected Superior General of the Jesuits on 14 October – highlighted as the focal points of his generalate. In his first interview at the communications office of the Congregation that elected him as St. Ignatius’ new successor, the Venezuelan Jesuit interprets his election “as a confirmation of the path initiated back when Arrupe was Superior General”, after the Second Vatican Council.
“The emphasis on collaboration doesn’t mean we cannot make it alone,” Fr. Sosa underlined, “it means we don’t want to act alone. The Society of Jesus loses its meaning if collaboration with others is lacking. We are thus called to embark on an enormous conversion, because in many parts of the world we are still harbour a sense of nostalgia about when we used to do everything, there is no other solution but to share the mission. I sincerely believe the opposite is true: our life is based on our collaboration with others. The other theme is multiculturalism and interculturalism because it is a theme contained in the Gospel. The Gospel is a call to all cultures to convert, in order to guarantee them as cultures and bring them to God. The true face of God is multicoloured, multicultured and extremely varied. God is not homogeneous. Quite the opposite. Creation is showing us diversity in every aspect, how one thing completes another. If the Society manages to be an image of this, then it will itself be an expression of this face of God. I believe,” Fr. Sosa said, “that after the Council, the Society gained this cultural variety. We managed to put down roots in every part of the world and this is where authentic vocations are born from. You meet genuine Jesuits of all colours and in all sectors, everywhere you go. I believe this is a sign of the Church for the world. We are united in our diversity, by our bond with Jesus and with the Gospel and this is the sources of the Society’s creativity as well as that of the people who share our mission.”
Sharing some highlights from his own life’s journey, the 31st Superior General of the Society of Jesus said he “grew up always fighting to go a bit beyond what there was”. He said the Jesuit College in Caracas, which he began attending as a child, “for me was like a second home. In fact according to my mum it was my first home since I was never at home.”
Sosa spent a while reflecting on the Council: “The Council was very important to me, it was definitely great news. We followed it like a novel.” That was also when Fr. Arrupe – the famous Superior General who led the Jesuits from 1965 to 1983 – was elected, “another breath of fresh air”. Then came the Rio document, written by Arrupe and Latin America’s provincials and a few months later the Latin American Bishops’ Conference in Medellin. For a Church that had “practically been wiped out during the 19th century”, these events, the Second Vatican Council, Rio and Medellin “were in some way the Church that had found its strength again in the people, in people’s faith: this is the faith that must sustain us and with it we will be capable of creating another Church”.
Sosa went on to comment on his election by the 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, which is still underway. “I think my experience on a local and international level was seen as a valuable asset and I am sure that the last years I spent in Rome played their part. Above all, however, as far as I understand I was one of the many Jesuits in Latin America who sought to put into practice what the congregations had been saying for the past 40 years. I see it as a confirmation of the path initiated back when Arrupe was Superior General. I see this election as confirmation of what we need to continue doing in the future.” Pope Francis encourages us to push ourselves further, as if to say: ‘you still have a long way to go before you achieve what you are capable of’.” While the Society “has few doubts about what its mission is,” the big challenge now is “how we go about efficiently embarking on this mission”. This requires “intellectual depth because it is not simply a case of copying existing models but about creating. Creating means comprehending. And this is a tough intellectual process.”
Conversion to the Catholic Faith? NAAAHHHH
Convergence and collaboration with heretics, schismatics and false religions? ABSOLUTELY!