Saturday, 19 January, saw the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus elect Father Adolfo Nicolás as their new Father General, the 29th successor to the order’s founder, Ignatius Loyola. He succeeds Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach, whose resignation was accepted on the preceding Monday. Jesuits and their colleagues around the world, as well as many church leaders, have warmly welcomed the news.
Father Nicolás was born in Palencia in the north-west of Spain – not far from the Basque Country, of which Ignatius Loyola was a native – but he has spent much of his Jesuit life in Asia, especially in Japan, where he studied and worked as professor of Theology at Tokyo’s “Sophia University”, founded by the Jesuits in 1913.
Many people acquainted with Father Nicolás have commented on how much his perspective resembles that of Father Pedro Arrupe, the Jesuit Father General from 1965 to 1983, particularly in their sense of the need to promote a ‘faith that does justice’ throughout the world.