Arturo Sosa

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The Very Reverend
Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J.
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Arturo Sosa in January 2017.jpg
Arturo Sosa in January 2017
Installed 14 October 2016
Predecessor Adolfo Nicolás
Ordination 30 July 1977
Personal details
Birth name Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal
Born (1948-11-12) 12 November 1948 (age 69)
Caracas, Venezuela
Nationality Venezuelan
Alma mater

Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal SJ (born 12 November 1948) is the thirty-first and present Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the largest male religious institute in the Roman Catholic Church. As a Venezuelan, he was the first Latin American person to lead the Society of Jesus. He was elected Superior General by the Society's 36th General Congregation on 14 October 2016, succeeding Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, S.J., who served as Superior General for eight years.


Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on 12 November 1948. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1966 and was ordained to the priesthood on 30 July 1977. He earned a licentiate in philosophy from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (1972) and a doctorate in political science from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Arturo Sosa had a long career in teaching and research, and has held a number of positions in the university environment. He was a professor and member of the Foundation Council of the Andrés Bello Catholic University and for 10 years the rector of the Catholic University of Tachira, both Jesuit universities. He did most of his research and teaching in the area of political science, in a number of centres and institutions. He published a number of works, mainly about the history and politics of Venezuela.

Between 1996 and 2004, Sosa was Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela. Before that he was coordinator of the social apostolate in that country and director of Centro Gumilla in Venezuela, a Jesuit centre of research and social action.

In 2004, he lectured at the Georgetown University Center for Latin American Studies, Washington, DC, and was professor of Venezuelan political thinking at the Catholic University of Táchira.

During the 35th General Congregation in 2008, he was chosen Counselor General by Father General Adolfo Nicolás. In 2014, he joined the curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome as Delegate for the Curia for the Inter-provincial Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome. These institutions are directly under the Superior General of the Jesuits. Among them are the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and the Vatican Observatory, as well as a number of international colleges and residences.

Sosa speaks Spanish, Italian, English, and understands French.[1]

Superior General of the Society of Jesus

The thirty-sixth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus elected Sosa as the Order's thirty-first Superior General on 14 October 2016 to succeed Adolfo Nicolás. He became the first Latin American to head the Jesuits.[2] As is the custom, Pope Francis was notified of his election before it was announced to the public.[3]


Sosa, in defending Pope Francis' call for discernment in marriage cases, referred to development of doctrine in the Church[4] which drew some attention in the press.[5]

In an interview with El Mundo Sosa said: “We have formed symbolic figures such as the devil to express evil. Social conditioning can also represent this figure, since there are people who act [in an evil way] because they are in an environment where it is difficult to act to the contrary.” This drew criticism from those who point to the teaching in the Catholic catechism that the Devil is a creature made by God.[6] A spokesman for Sosa said that "to say the devil symbolizes evil is not to deny the existence of the devil”; he was not denying church teaching by what he said.[7]

The conservative media have found fault with Sosa's being one of over 1,000 signatories of a letter welcoming Fidel Castro to Venezuela in 1989.[8] Conservative Pope Francis biographer George Neumayr describes Sosa as a "Marxist", "a Venezuelian communist, and modernist".[9]


  1. ^ "Father Arturo Sosa SJ, 31st General of the Society of Jesus". Jesuits, General Congregation 36. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Harris, Elise (14 October 2016). "Venezuelan Fr. Arturo Sosa elected as new head of Jesuit order". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Glatz, Carol (14 October 2016). "Jesuits elect Venezuelan as new head of order". National Catholic Reporter. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  4. ^ Rusconi, Giuseppe. "GESUITI/PADRE SOSA: PAROLE DI GESU'? DA CONTESTUALIZZARE!". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-12-05. 
  5. ^ "Marriage and Divorce. The General of the Jesuits: "Jesus Too Must Be Reinterpreted"". Settimo Cielo (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-12-05. 
  6. ^ "Jesuit superior general: 'We have formed symbolic figures such as the devil to express evil' |". 1 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  7. ^ "Spokesman for Jesuit chief: Devil remarks must be read in context |". 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2017-12-05. 
  8. ^ "Jesuit Superior General 'signed letter praising Fidel Castro in 1989' |". 19 May 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "The Pope's Marxist Head of the Jesuits". The American Spectator. 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-08-02. 

External links

  • Father Arturo Sosa SJ, 31st General of the Society of Jesus
  • Sosa videos
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Adolfo Nicolás
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
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