2008-01-25 19:15:51

New Jesuit Superior General Meets Journalists

(25 Jan 08 - RV) The new Superior General of the Jesuit order met journalists in Rome Friday. Fr. Adolfo Nicolàs began by thanking fellow Jesuits who affirmed their faith in him during elections in the Society of Jesus’ General Congregation this month.
Fr. Adolfo Nicolàs was born in Spain in 1936 but told journalists he has spent most of his life in Asia, after moving to Japan at the age of 24 to study philosophy. “Living in Japan” where he was also ordained a priest he said, “opened my eyes to the world.” Introduced to Buddhism and Hinduism, he found these two eastern faiths helped him to explore his own Catholic faith more deeply.
Fr. Nicolàs reiterated the Jesuit order’s loyalty and obedience to the Holy Father, saying that “the community has and will always be in communion with the Pope.”
And, it’s clear that the new Jesuit leader expects to dedicate a lot of attention in his new job to the region where he has spent so many years.
He noted the challenges and the potential for the Church in Asia, pointing to China’s 27 different ethnic groups and multiple languages including Arabic; he listed Korea and Vietnam, and the Philippines where he joked the majority Catholic country is infamous for obeying traffic laws as suggestions rather than the rule.
Indonesia, Asia’s most populous Muslim country, and Malaysia offered different challenges, while Australia, he said “can act as a bridge between Asia and the West.” Indeed, he said, “Australia has greatly contributed to the dialogue between cultures.”
He also mentioned as other challenges: Cambodia and Myanmar where he noted the Jesuits have been expelled, and the small Jesuit community in Timor where, after years of conflict, peace is struggling to take hold.
Fr. Nicolàs said he expected to receive his mandate from the Pope and from the Jesuits themselves as they reflect in their General Congregation on the order’s priorities and the challenges to be met. In responding to these challenges and implementing his mandate, Fr. Nicolàs said transparency would be an integral part of his leadership, and that he “hoped to follow the principles of Gandhi – truth, gentleness, charity and goodness to others.” RealAudioMP3

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