Arturo Sosa

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The Very Reverend
Arturo Sosa Abascal
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
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 68)
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.

Since his election, Sosa has been criticized by some Catholics for his alleged lack of orthodoxy, and for his sympathy for marxism and communism.


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 in Táchira, 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]


Since his election, some Catholics criticized Sosa for his alleged lack of orthodoxy. In 2017, Sosa suggested that different interpretations of Jesus' teachings can be valid, since "at that time, no one had a tape recorder to record his words".[4][5] Sosa also suggested that the Devil was a symbolic figure, and not, as explicitly taught by the Catholic Church, a creature made by God.[6]

Conservative Francis' biographer George Neumayr describes Sosa as a "Marxist", "a Venezuelian communist and modernist".[7] Sosa was especially criticized for a manifesto he signed in 1989, praising Fidel Castro and welcoming him to Venezuela.[8]


  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. ^ "Marriage and Divorce. The General of the Jesuits: "Jesus Too Must Be Reinterpreted"". Settimo Cielo. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "Jesuit chief rejects charges of 'heresy' for views on Gospels". Crux. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Jesuit superior general: ‘We have formed symbolic figures such as the devil to express evil’ |". 1 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Pope’s Marxist Head of the Jesuits". The American Spectator. 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2017-08-02. 
  8. ^ "Jesuit Superior General ‘signed letter praising Fidel Castro in 1989’ |". 19 May 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 

External links

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