Arturo Sosa Abascal S.J., 67, was chosen as the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) on Friday, October 14, 2016 and succeeds Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, S.J. The Society of Jesus, as the Jesuits are called officially, is the largest male religious organization in the Catholic Church with officially nearly 17,000 members worldwide.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Abascal was ordained to the priesthood in July of 1977. His duties before becoming Superior General included an appointment to be the Delegate of Fr. General for the [Jesuit] Curia and the Interprovincial Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome. He has a degree from the Catholic University of Venezuela and a doctorate in political sciences from the University of Central Venezuela.
He is the 31st Superior General. His history curiously parallels that of Pope Francis. He is the first Latin American to be chosen as the Superior General of the Jesuits. His distinguished career among Roman Catholics included his appointment as the Jesuit provincial of Venezuela similar to Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina. Prior to that he was in charge of the social apostolate of the Jesuits in Venezuela from which he oversaw the massive Catholic school system in Venezuela. He was also head of the Centro Gumilla, the Jesuit-run social and action research center.
Centro Gumilla tries to foster organizational growth and community empowerment. Social action has to do with working with the common people, particularly the poor, to build confidence and popularity of the Jesuits and encourage the people to become dissatisfied with the existing governing regime to facilitate change, which would naturally favor the Catholic Church. Centro Gumilla is also the venue for public forums on topics like election results and the future of the country. Sosa is an expert in political science, and understands how to organize communities to facilitate change where possible, in the name of helping the poor.
Sosa “knows the Venezuelan Maduro regime first hand. His election seems designed, in part, to bolster the Vatican’s mediation in the fast-deteriorating situation in Venezuela,” which would thereby strengthen the Catholic Church in the Communist country.
Sosa was a member of the Foundation Council of the Andrés Bello Catholic University and Rector of the Catholic University in Tàchira, Venezuela, both Jesuit universities. He has taught as a visiting professor in Latin American studies at Georgetown University in the U.S. He speaks Spanish, Italian, English, and understands French.
He was chosen as the Counselor General in 2014 during the 35th General Congregation by Adolfo Nicolás. In 2014, he joined the curia of the Society of Jesus, in Rome, as Delegate for the Curia, for the interprovincial Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome. These institutions are directly under the Superior General of the Jesuits. They include the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Vatican Observatory. Perhaps his predecessor Adolfo Nicolás brought him to Rome to groom him for Jesuit potential Jesuit leadership and then worked to get him elected.
Sosa was elected after a week of murmuratio, the political process of the Jesuits in which some 212 electors advocate for one or another of possible superior generals, similar to the Roman conclave. After sufficient time to develop their political influence, ballots were cast for the new Superior General. It is unclear how many ballots were necessary, but apparently it only took a couple of hours.
The Jesuit order has a long history of undermining God’s truth, particularly the Protestant Reformation. The ecumenical movement, which has essentially stripped Protestant churches of their protest of Rome’s teachings and practices, has been largely influenced by the Jesuits. The new Superior General will, no doubt, continue this tradition, and thereby help the world to wonder after the beast, and to cause all men to worship the beast.
“Throughout Christendom, Protestantism was menaced by formidable foes. The first triumphs of the Reformation past, Rome summoned new forces, hoping to accomplish its destruction. At this time the order of the Jesuits was created, the most cruel, unscrupulous, and powerful of all the champions of popery. Cut off from earthly ties and human interests, dead to the claims of natural affection, reason and conscience wholly silenced, they knew no rule, no tie, but that of their order, and no duty but to extend its power… To combat these forces [of Protestantism], Jesuitism inspired its followers with a fanaticism that enabled them to endure like dangers, and to oppose to the power of truth all the weapons of deception. There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy.” The Great Controversy, page 235.