Thursday, January 24, 2008

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: Homily Sunday January 20, 2008

Adolfo Nicolas
30th Superior General of the Jesuit Order

Above all I would like to say that this is not a message for the whole world. Rather, it is merely a simple homily; a prayerful reflection of today’s readings for us Jesuits who are here this afternoon.

The first reading taken from the prophet Isaiah briefly describes to us Christians our mission in the world. The prophet Isaiah tells us that we have all been called to serve, that we are here precisely to serve. It is a clear message regarding our mission as Jesuits, as Christians, as the people of God. God has made us servants and, in so doing, God finds delight. The Spanish version of this first reading says that God is proud of the servant, while the Italian version says that God “is satisfied”. I believe the latter is closer to what the Bible wants to say. The more we become as servants, the more pleased God is. I think this is an image we should all take home today.

Newspapers and magazines these past few days have been toying with a number of clichés, namely, the Black Pope, the White Pope, power, gatherings, discussions...But it is all so superficial, so artificial! These are but crumbs for those who love politics, but they are not for us.

The prophet Isaiah says that serving pleases the Lord. To serve is what counts: to serve the Church, the world, our fellow men and women, and the Gospel. Saint Ignatius also has written in summary form about our life: in all things to love and to serve. And our pope, Holy Father Benedict XVI, has reminded us that God is love; he has reminded us of the Gospel’s essence.

Later on the prophet Isaiah describes the servant’s strength. God is the servant’s only strength. We do not have any other source of strength: not the external strength found in politics, in business, in the media, in studies, in titles, nor the internal fortitude found in research. Only God. Exactly like the poor. Not too long ago I spoke to one of you regarding something that happened to me while working with immigrants. It was an experience that deeply affected me. A Filipino woman who had experienced many difficulties adapting to the Japanese society, a woman who had suffered a great deal, was asked by another Filipino woman for advice. The second woman said, “I have many problems with my husband and I do not know if I should get divorced or try to save my marriage...” In other words, she wanted advice concerning a rather common problem. The first woman replied, “I do not know what advice to give you right now. However, come with me to Church so that the two of us can pray because only God really helps the poor.” This statement deeply touched me because it is so true. The poor only have God in whom to find their strength. For us only God is our strength. Unconditional, disinterested service finds its source of strength only in God.

The prophet Isaiah continues today’s first reading by speaking about health. Our message is a message about health, about salvation. A bit later he stresses what has most caught my eye about this reading, namely, that our God, our faith, our message, and our health are so great that they cannot be enclosed within a container, in any one group or community, regardless of whether or not the group in question happens to be a religious community. What is at stake is the Good News of salvation for all nations. It is a universal message because the message itself is enormous; a message that in itself is irreducible.

All represented nations are gathered here today. All, everyone, is represented here. However, nations continue to open up. I ask myself today which are those “nations”. Indeed, all geographic nations are here today. However, there may be other nations, other non-geographic communities, human communities, that claim our aid: the poor, the marginalized, the excluded. In this globalized world of ours the number of those excluded by all is increasing. Those excluded are diminished, since our society only has room for the big and not the small. All those who are disadvantaged, manipulated, all of these, may perhaps be for us those “nations”: The nations that need the prophetic message of God.

Yesterday after the election, after the first shock, there came the moment of fraternal aid. All of you have greeted me very affectionately, offering your support and help. One of you whispered to me: “Don’t forget the poor!”. Perhaps this is the most important greeting of all, just as Paul turns to the wealthier churches of his time requesting aid for the poor of Jerusalem. Don’t forget the poor: These are our “nations”. These are the nations for whom salvation is still a dream, a wish. Perhaps it may be in their midst, but they don’t realize it.

And the others? The others are our collaborators, if they share our same perspective, if they have the same heart Christ has given us. And if they have a bigger heart and an even greater vision, then we are their collaborators. What counts is health, salvation, the joy of the poor. What counts, what is real, is hope, salvation, health. And we want that this salvation, this health, be an explosion of salvation that reaches out everywhere. This is what the prophet Isaiah is talking about: That salvation may reach and touch everyone. A salvation according to God’s heart, will, Spirit.

We go on with our General Congregation. Perhaps this is what we need to discern. In this moment of our history where do we need to fix our attention, our service, our energy. Or, in other words, what is the color, the tone, the image of salvation today for those many people who are in need of it, those human non-geographic nations that demand health. There are many who wait for a salvation that we have yet to understand. To open ourselves up to this reality is the challenge, the call, of the moment.

And we turn to the Gospel. This is how we can be true disciples of the Lamb of God, He who takes away our sins and leads us to a new world. And He, the Lamb of God, has shown himself as Servant, he who fulfills Isaiah’s prophecies, the message of the Prophets. His identity as Servant will be his sign, the mark of our own mission, of the call which we try to respond to these days.

Let us pray together for this sense of Mission of the Church, that it may be for the “nations’” benefit and not our own. The “nations” that are still far away, not geographically, but humanly, existentially. That the joy and the hope that come from the Gospel be a reality with which we can work little by little, doing it with a lot of love and disinterested service.
Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. Looks Back At Pedro Arrupe

Adolfo Nicolas
30th Superior General of the Jesuit Order

In this warm tribute to Pedro Arrupe for his centenary celebrations, the new Jesuit Father General, Father Adolfo Nicolás, looks back on his various encounters with his predecessor, whom he always saw to be a “man on fire”.


The first time I saw Don Pedro, I did not really meet him. It was in Madrid, in late 1952 or early 1953. I was 17, in my last year of high school. I had already decided to become a Jesuit. Pedro Arrupe gave a lecture on Hiroshima and the atomic bomb. It was mostly about his experience. The special auditorium was so packed that I had to sit somewhere on a stairway. Arrupe was the great missionary, a national hero, a man on fire.

JAPAN 1961

In 1961, I was already in Japan, and would have him as Provincial for almost four more years. When he spoke to Scholastics he was still on fire. He tried hard to protect us against the dangers of Japan at the time, and tried even harder to build the Japanese Province.

This kept him often away from Japan. He had to raise funds and recruit Jesuits from all over the world. Although he did this with great success, it kept him away from us, except at visitation time. I was his personal barber at those times - so little to cut, but so much to listen to. He was a warm person and a great conversationalist.

Those four years were not his best. He was great at trusting his men but poor at choosing them. His long absences from the Province proved less than helpful. The Superiors he left in place and fully trusted did not have his style. So the Province had its share of uneasiness and anxiety.

ROME 1970

By 1970, he was already General. I was struggling through a doctoral thesis at the Collegio Bellarmino. The General traditionally spoke each year to the doctoral candidates. The first 30 minutes were the talk of a visionary. Magnificent and inspired: the signs of the times, the Post-Vatican Church, the challenges of an emerging new world.

The second half of the talk was anti-climatic: he felt that he had to justify theologically what he had presented to us, but he could not.

As with Ignatius, vision and intuition went ahead of theology, thank God. After all, he had himself studied theology in the 1930s.


In 1972 Colloquium II brought together to Hong Kong 28 ‘promising’ young Jesuits from East and West to look at the future of the Society. It did not work like that, but it did bring good fruits. Arrupe parachuted into the experience and stayed with us for three days. Japan had changed him, so that he wanted the East to have an impact on the rest of the Society. He shared with us his concerns and, once again, he expressed very clearly his Ignatian heart and his passion for the Jesuit vocation and life. In his key address to us, he spoke of Obedience and stated emphatically: “If there is no Obedience, we will have chaos in the Society.”

In his enthusiasm he pronounced chaos in the Spanish way, which in English sounds very much like cows. You can imagine the confusion of the English-speakers among us. During the break they were all asking: ‘Where did those cows come from?’


At the 1980 meeting of the Major Superiors, the high point was the celebration of the Eucharist in the Church of Francis Xavier in Malacca. The stage was perfect, a roofless and dilapidated church with a dilapidated empty space where the body of Francis Xavier had lain, and from where it had been stolen (or so the story goes). Arrupe had gone through the years after General Congregation 32, with the misunderstandings and distrust with the Holy See they had brought. It had been rough sailing. In his homily he focused on the last months of Francis Xavier, on his experience of abandonment, failure and loneliness on Shangchuan Island. Francis was going nowhere. He experienced in his body the mystery of the Cross.

This homily gave us all a glimpse of Francis’ heart. It also took us into the Ignatian Spirituality that we had earlier seen and now saw incarnated in Don Pedro. It was also a prophetic anticipation of what was to come.


When he visited the East Asian Pastoral Institute, he charmed the staff and participants who had the privilege of listening to him. The fire was still all there, as were his openness and imaginative vision of Evangelisation. I walked with him for a few moments during one of the very few breaks in his visit to the Philippines. It was in Angono. He shared his concern for the Society, which he summed up in his last letter on love. This was his last word. He was ready to go. The next day he flew to Bangkok, and from Bangkok to the infirmary.

ROME 1984

I visited him in Rome three years later. I could see Francis Xavier on the shore looking at China. Don Pedro was still burning, eager to communicate, to inspire, to encourage, to continue his mission in each one of us. His warmth came through in spite of his inability to speak, his frustration at being in chains, the pain of the moment.

ROME 1987

I saw Don Pedro for the last time in 1987 during a Congregation of Procurators. We could not speak with him. His light was going away, although it took still another four years to dim completely. We could only witness his passion, passed in quiet, in prayer and in thanksgiving. We were seeing the end of a life of total consistency, of great love, of a dedication that knew nothing of conditions and reservations.

After the last visit that I heard this story. An old Japanese man who had received instruction and Baptism from a younger Fr Arrupe was sharing his memories: ‘I asked to be baptised, not because he was a good catechist; not because I understood what he said (in fact I understood close to nothing); not because he tried to pull me in…but because of the goodness of the person.

“If Christianity”, I told myself, “can produce such quality in a person, it will be good for me too”.’

Adolfo Nicolás SJ

Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. The New Black Pope According to Eric Jon Phelps

Dear Brethren and Friends,

I though he would be a Spaniard or an Italian, but somewhat younger.

"Father General" Adolfo Nicolas is the master of the Far East and Oceania indicating that this war will extend into the Far East and Pacific Rim in the future.

It appears to me that there are now two Jesuit Generals; the new Spanish General, Adolfo Nicolas, is to be secretly aided by the former Dutch General, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. This means the Third World War will be huge, needing the oversight of essentially two Generals coordinating the Black Pope's 10 Assistants overseeing their 91 Provincials throughout the world. No doubt the new General is indeed the final authority for the Order according to the Constitutions. But he has the benefit of the advice of a former General, most beloved by the Company, to be garrisoned in the Near East.

Typically, this was a great martial movement by the pope's most astute soldiers of them all, the Knights of the Virgin Mary---the Jesuits.

Sincerely in faith,
Brother Eric

Nicolas and Kolvenbach

Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.'s Elusive Coverage By The New York Times

As with the print and on-line articles from The New York Daily News, this article from The New York Times does not appear in the Google news search that I reported here.

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. in The New York Daily News

This is the only thing about the new Black Pope that I have seen in print in a New York City newspaper

The New York Daily News, page 26
at top right

Here's that edition's cover

A different article appears on-line:

Jesuits pick new leader

Sunday, January 20th 2008, 4:00 AM

ROME - The Jesuits, a Roman Catholic order known for intellectual excellence and missionary work, on Saturday chose a 71-year-old Spanish theologian with top academic credentials and extensive experience in Asia to be their new leader.

The Rev. Adolfo Nicolas was chosen to serve as superior general, the 29th successor to St. Ignatius Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus, as the order is formally known, in 1540. With nearly 20,000 members worldwide, it is the largest Catholic religious order.

The choice of Nicolas followed four days of prayer and discussion among 217 electors who came to Rome from around the world, the Jesuits said.

Pope Benedict XVI was informed of the choice and immediately gave his approval, Vatican officials said. Papal approval is required.

Nicolas succeeds Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, a Dutch priest who was elected leader in 1983 and who was widely credited with improving the Jesuits' often tense relations with the Vatican.

Jesuit leaders traditionally serve for life, but Kolvenbach, who turns 80 this year, had asked to retire because of his age.

A native of Spain, Nicolas was ordained a priest in Tokyo in 1967 after studies in theology in that city and earlier in philosophy in Madrid. He received a masters degree in sacred theology in Rome's prestigious Gregorian Pontifical University.

He then embarked on nearly four decades of work in the Pacific, taking a theology professorship at Sophia University in Tokyo in 1971 and directing a pastoral institute in Manila, Philippines, from 1978 to 1984. In the 1990s he held leadership positions in the order in Japan and from 2004 to 2007 served as moderator of the Jesuit Conference for Eastern Asia and Oceania.

He also has had experience in Korea.

Nicolas' Asian experience will help him "understand the world, and the church, from a non-European perspective," said James Martin, a priest who is associate editor of America Magazine, a New York-based Jesuit publication, in an e-mailed comment.

With the exception of the Philippines, Catholics are generally a small minority in Asian countries.

Discuss this Article

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Neither appears in the Google news search. that I reported here.

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. Election Essentially Ignored By U.S. Newspapers

A Google news search of "Jesuit General Congregation"

Jesuits choose Spaniard as leader
The Australian, Australia - Jan 20, 2008
ROME: The Jesuits, a Roman Catholic order known for intellectual excellence and missionary work, yesterday chose a 71-year-old Spanish theologian with top ...
Jesuits select new 'black pope'
BBC News, UK - Jan 19, 2008
The Jesuits have chosen Adolfo Nicolas, a Spanish theologian with extensive experience in Asia, to be their new leader or "black pope". ...
Will the Pope Like the New "Black Pope"?
TIME - Jan 19, 2008
The Jesuits were once such a powerful force in the Roman Catholic Church that their elected leader was unofficially called the "black pope" a nod both to ...
Jesuits in Rome election pick Spanish priest as their new leader
The Canadian Press - Jan 19, 2008
ROME - The Jesuits, a Roman Catholic order known for intellectual excellence and missionary work, on Saturday chose a 71-year-old Spanish theologian with ...
Jesuits elect new leader
Radio Netherlands, Netherlands - Jan 19, 2008
Rome - The Roman Catholic order of Jesuits have elected the 71-year-old Spaniard Adolfo Nicholas as their new Superior General. The Jesuits Superior General ...
Spaniard becomes Jesuits' new "black pope"
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - Jan 19, 2008
By Stephen Brown VATICAN CITY, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Spaniard Adolfo Nicolas was elected the Jesuits' "black pope", as the head of the largest and perhaps most ...
Jesuits choose Adolfo Nicolás as their new Superior General
Men's News Daily, CA - 6 hours ago
Following four days of prayer and discussions among the 217 electors representing more than 19000 members worldwide, the Society of Jesus, whose members are ...
The new "Black Pope" promises more Jesuit turmoil
Catholic World News - 7 hours ago
by Phil Lawler Rome, Jan. 21, 2008 ( - Since Saturday, when Father Adolfo Nicolas was elected by the 35th general congregation of the Society of ...
Jesuits Elect a New "Black Pope"
The Ledger, FL - 9 hours ago
On Saturday, the Society of Jesus -- the Catholic order more familiarly known as the Jesuits -- elected a new superior general. He is the Rev. ...
Spaniard elected to lead Jesuits
Spero News - 12 hours ago
The 71-year-old Spaniard, Rev. Adolfo Nicolas was Jesuit provincial of Japan. "A man from Asia, a theologian of Japan...He represents a new generation of ...
Jesuits elect Fr Adolfo Nicolas as their new leader
Indian Catholic, India - 21 hours ago
By Fr Cedric Prakash Fr Fernando Franco a representative of the Gujarat Jesuits for the elections held in Rome, and a former Professor of St. Xavier's ...
Fr Nicolas elected new Jesuit Superior General
Navhind Times, India - Jan 20, 2008
Panaji, Jan 20 For the second time, a former provincial (regional head) of the Jesuits of Japan, Fr Adolfo Nicolas has been elected the general of the ...
Jesuits Elect New General Superior
Zenit News Agency, Italy - Jan 20, 2008
ROME, JAN. 20, 2008 ( Father Adolfo Nicolás, 71, was elected the new superior general of the Society of Jesus on Saturday. ...
Asian Church has a lot to offer says new Jesuit head
CathNews, Australia - Jan 20, 2008
The newly elected Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr Adolfo Nicolas told an Australian Jesuit publication last year that the Church in Asia has much to ...
More on the New Father General
America Magazine (subscription), NY - Jan 20, 2008
Yesterday the Catholic world was introduced to the new Jesuit Superior General through a variety of resources: conversations with Jesuits who have known him ...
Jesuits Elects Spanish Theologian As New Leader []
RTT News, NY - Jan 19, 2008
1/20/2008 1:45:34 AM The Jesuits on Saturday selected Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, a 71-year-old Spanish theologian, as their new leader, reports said. Rev. ...
Jesuits elect Spaniard as new 'black pope'
China Post, Taiwan - Jan 19, 2008
ROME -- Jesuits on Saturday elected Spaniard Adolfo Nicolas as their new superior general, the Society of Jesus announced in a communique. ...
Adolfo Nicolas Elected Superior General
America Magazine (subscription), NY - Jan 19, 2008
by the Delegates of the 35th General Congregation, and his election has been confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI. Received his Licentiate in Philosophy in 1960 ...
Spaniard is elected new Jesuit Superior-General
Earthtimes, UK - Jan 19, 2008
Rome - Spanish cleric Adolfo Nicolas Saturday in Rome was elected the new Superior-General of the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits - the community said on its ...
Jesuit working in Asia elected new head of order
Catholic News Service - Jan 19, 2008
By Cindy Wooden ROME (CNS) -- Spanish-born Father Adolfo Nicolas, moderator of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania, was elected superior general ...
Father Adolfo Nicolás new head of Jesuits
Wanted in Rome, Italy - Jan 19, 2008
Father Adolfo Nicolás has been elected the new superior general of the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, as they are more commonly known. ...
Pope Sends Letter to Jesuits
Vatican Radio, The Vatican - Jan 18, 2008
( 18 Jan 08 - RV) A few days before he presented his resignation as Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach received a ...

Monday, January 21, 2008

The British Continuing Counter Reformation Launches "Thinking Faith"on-line journal

Jesuits launch new on-line journal ...

The state of ecumenism today, what scientists think about faith, and the European Treaty are among the topics that will be addressed as the British Province launches Thinking Faith this month.

The online journal, which has been developed by Jesuit Media Initiatives in close collaboration with an editorial team of Jesuits and lay co-workers, will be officially launched this evening at a reception attended by journalists, theologians, writers and others associated with the project.

Edited by Peter Scally SJ, the web site will be open to the widest set of subjects from science to theology, policy studies to poetry and spirituality to culture and development. It will build on the tradition of the former British Jesuit journal, The Month, contributing to debates and issues from a British (and European) perspective. But unlike a printed publication, Thinking Faith will not have a weekly or monthly edition, but a 'rolling' format. Articles may be added at any time, with subscribers informed by email alert, enabling a faster response to news, events and issues of concern.

Among the first contributors to the online journal-the launch of which will coincide with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity-will be Michael Hurley SJ of the Irish Province on where our hopes for ecumenism stand now, Dan Madigan SJ on interfaith dialogue, and broadcaster and Anglican deacon, Cindy Kent, on the situation of the Church of England. British Jesuit, Frank Turner, who is Director of the Jesuit European Office in Brussels (OCIPE), will be writing on the European treaty; while Raúl Gonzalez SJ of Venezuela and Anthony Egan SJ (South Africa) will be addressing the Chávez government and the ANC's new leader respectively.

Jesuit brother, Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory will be another contributor as the journal goes online, alongside Jim Corkery from Ireland, a noted expert on the writings of Pope Benedict XVI, who will be offering his views on Spe Salvi.

Thinking Faith will be launched at approximately 7pm on Friday, 18 January 2008 on To be informed whenever new articles are uploaded, please contact:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: Reported By The New York Times With Some Scary Ad Juxtaposition

Considering N.Y. Jesuit Provincial Jeff Chojnacki's comments
about Nicolas' election as a

"bridge to all parts of the world.”

Having posted Chojnacki's "bridge" metaphor comments only hours earlier, I was most struck by this juxtaposition at The New York Times.

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: The Wise Man From The East

Accordingly to Whispers in the Loggia
Rocco Palmo
PHOTOS: Don Doll SJ (1,2,4)/Dani Villanueva SJ

Outside the Aula, the Society's official chronicle of the day depicted the moment thus:

" Only electors were allowed in the aula; everyone else, including community members and congregation staff, had to wait in the room below and listen for the telltale applause that would signal an election. About 11:15 there was a false alarm, then at 11:45 came the loud, sustained applause let us know that we had a new Superior General. A bell in the Curia signaled that the community could enter the aula and salute the new general.

"As the door to the aula opened, the whispers swept down the stairs: "Adolfo Nicolás, it's Adolfo!" It was public Father Adolfo Nicolás, former provincial of Japan and currently president of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceana, had been selected as the 29th Superior General of the Jesuits. Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, his predecessor, read the decree formally naming him, and then Father General Nicolás placed his hand on the Holy Scriptures and professed his faith, kneeling before a crucifix in the center of the aula. Only then did the electors--beginning with Father Kolvenbach and followed by the Curia community--congratulate the new general. Many expressed their emotion and affection by a wordless hug, and some had tears in their eyes."

As the new Father-General prepares to celebrate his Mass of Thanksgiving -- including the homily that'll serve as his inaugural address to his Society and the wider church -- his electors have begun to speak.

Much has been made that Adolfo Nicolás was not in the commonly-held list of generabili. And, candidly, that's exactly the sign not a few Jesuits were hoping for.

Given the unprecedented length of the transition -- almost two years exactly from the first public reports of a "possible" congregation of election until today -- there was a fear that the 24 months of informal murmuratio would render Ignatius' foreseen 96 hours of prayer and conversation a fait accompli.

The theory proved itself unfounded, however, as the five-century old process triumphed over the 24-hour news cycle to produce a choice that was, in the truest sense of the word, "inspired."
Representing the Wisconsin Province, Fr David Schultenover (the editor-in-chief of Theological Studies) blogged it thus:

Why Adolfo Nicholás as the new general? At age 71 (72 in April), I can imagine that the rest of the world is saying to us electors, “What were you thinking?! You couldn’t find a younger man?!” Well, God alone knows the real reason. Of course, age is a factor. But there are many other factors too, factors that apparently outweigh the age factor. The first time I met Adolfo, the day he arrived, I was instantly impressed with his youthful spirit, which belied his age, and his integrity. He was clearly a man at home with himself and of good humor. In fact, I told him, kiddingly, that he was a marked man—kidding, because I figured that for all his personal gifts, experience, record of accomplishments, and reputation, he would be a dark horse simply because of his age. But apparently most of us—and eventually all of us, I hope—concluded that this was in fact the man God was calling to be general of the Society of Jesus. John XXIII was elected pope at age 76, and Benedict XVI at 78, so why not Adolfo Nicholás at 71? What I find especially attractive about him is that he is a professional theologian who has very broad and deep experience of a part of the world—the Far East—that is becoming increasingly important as world-hegemonies shift. He will bring that perspective to the Society of Jesus and to the church it serves. The Basque Pedro Arrupe came to us as general from Japan in 1965. Forty-three years later, the northern Spaniard Adolfo Nicholás also comes to us from Japan. I trust he’ll be the proverbial wise man from the East.

And the president of the US Jesuit Conference Fr Thomas Smolich offered his impressions to CNS:
Nicolás [Smolich said] "is a great man. He is inspirational, he is holy and he represents a great bridge among the various cultures in the church."

Smolich said he had gotten to know the new general as they both served on the commission preparing for the General Congregation. Although Father Nicolas is 71, "he has the energy of a much younger man."...

Father Smolich said, "I do not think there was a cause-and-effect relationship, but we have chosen one of the premiere men in the society" in the field of relations between Christianity and other religions.

"He can work intimately with the pope and the Vatican on this very issue," the Jesuit said.

"Seriously, he is one of the most intelligent and holiest men I have ever met," Father Smolich said. "He has the breadth and depth to handle these issues."

Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: "his election is a bridge to all parts of the world.”

According to New York Provincial Father Jeff Chojnacki, S.J.


New York Provincial Father Jeff Chojnacki, SJ added, “his election is a bridge to all parts of the world.” It is a bridge expected to reach across not only geographic divisions. Father Shogo Sumita, SJ, current provincial of Japan, recalled how Father Nicolás moved from the provincial residence to one of poorest neighborhoods. “He has a deep grace of Ignatian spirituality and a creative imagination. After serving as provincial, he decided to live and work with the poor,” said Father Sumita.

Chojnacki's picture at right in the masthead for The UnHived Mind

And here's the masthead of the N.Y. Province of the Jesuit Order

If Nicolas' election is to be a bridge, how about a change to the sort of Jesuit values encountered within their city of Washington, D.C.?

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: Elected By The Order

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: Wikipedia Biography

Adolfo Nicolás

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reverend Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ (born April 29, 1936) is a Spanish priest of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the thirtieth and current Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the largest religious order of the Church.


Adolfo Nicolás was born in Villamuriel de Cerrato, Palencia, and entered the Society of Jesus, more commonly known as the Jesuits, in the novitiate of Aranjuez in 1953. He studied at the University of Alcalá, there earning his licentiate in philosophy, until 1960, whence he traveled to Japan to familiarize himself with Japanese language and culture. Nicolás entered Sophia University in Tokyo, where he studied theology, in 1964, and was later ordained to the priesthood on March 17, 1967.

From 1968 to 1971, he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from where he obtained his Master's degree in theology. Upon his return to Japan, Nicolás was made professor of systematic theology at his alma mater of Sophia University, teaching there for the next thirty years.

He was Director of the Pastoral Institute of Manila, in the Philippines, from 1978 to 1984, and later served as rector of the novitiate in Tokyo from 1991 to 1993, when he was appointed Provincial of the Jesuit Province of Japan. Nicolás remained in this post until 1999, and then spent three years doing pastoral work among poor immigrants in Toyko. In 1998 he clashed with the Vatican when he and several Asian bishops requested for more local authority for Church decisions[1]. He once stated, "Asia has a lot yet to offer the Church, to the whole Church, but we haven't done it yet. Maybe we have not been courageous enough, or we haven't taken the risks we should"[2]. Nicolás has also expressed his wariness of missionaries who are more concerned with teaching and imposing orthodoxy than in having a cultural experience with the local people, saying, "Those who enter into the lives of the people, they begin to question their own positions very radically"[3].

In 2004 he was named Moderator of the Jesuit Conference for Eastern Asia and Oceania. As Moderator, he was responsible for the Jesuits of several countries, including Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Micronesia, Myanmar, and East Timor.

On the second ballot of the thirty-fifth General Congregation (GC XXXV) of the Society of Jesus, Nicolás was elected as the Order’s thirtieth Superior General on January 19, 2008, succeeding the Dutch Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach. His election was immediately relayed to Pope Benedict XVI, who confirmed him in the post. Many have marked the similarities between Nicolás and former Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe, who was also a Spanish missionary in Japan.

In addition to his native Spanish, Nicolás can speak English, Italian, French, and Japanese.

[edit] References

  1. ^ TIME Magazine. Will the New "Black Pope" Work? January 19, 2008
  2. ^ Province Express. Father Adolfo Nicolás February 21, 2007
  3. ^ Ibid.

[edit] Extermal links

What Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. Has Done,spaniard-is-elected-new-jesuit-superior-general.html

According to the Catholic order, Nicolas was born in Spain in 1936 and became a novice in the province Toledo in 1953.

He studied theology in Tokyo, where he was ordained a priest in 1967.

Nicolas became professor for systematic theology in Tokyo four years later.

Between 1978 and 1984 Nicolas was director of the pastoral institute of Manila, and in 2004 became moderator of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania.

Here is some biographical information about Father General, from the official communique:

Born in Palencia (in Spain) on 29 April 1936.

Entered the Jesuit novitiate at Aranjuez in the Toletana Province (Spain) in 1953

Received his Licentiate in Philosophy in 1960 at Alcalá, Madrid and then studied theology in Tokyo.

Ordained a priest on 17 March 1967 in Tokyo.

From 1968-1971 completed his master's degree in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Professor of systematic theology at Sophia University in Tokyo beginning in 1971.

Director of the Pastoral Institute of Manila (1978-1984).

Rector of the Jesuit scholasticate (training young Jesuits) in Tokyo (1991-1993).

Provincial of Japan (1993-1999).

Since 2004 he has been the moderator of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania.

Father General speaks Spanish, Japanese, English, French and Italian.

And a comment from your correspondent in New York...

Today, every one of the almost 20,000 Jesuits has a new leader. And each of those Jesuits will, at some point today, pray in thanksgiving to God for the election of Father Nicolas, the man who succeeds the estimable Father Kolvenbach. Also, every Jesuit, young and old, will be devouring information about their new Superior General for clues about his outlook on the future of the Society of Jesus.

Interestingly, like Father Nicolas, Pedro Arrupe, the Superior General before Father Kolvenbach, had also been Provincial of Japan, something that helped Father Arrupe understand the world, and the church, from a non-European perspective. Father Nicolas, a distinguished theologian, has spent most of his Jesuit life in the Far East, has been responsible for training young Jesuits, and also has had much experience in governance and administration. The delegates have chosen a man with a solid background in theology, extensive experience in a country that is largely non-Christian, and an admirable combination of administrative skills, to lead them into the 21st century.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

James Martin, SJ

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What Should the Jesuits Do?

Two Suggestions:

- Open Up the Vatican Archives for Investigating the Activities of WW2 Black Pope Wlodimir Ledochowski

- End the Pharmacratic Inquisition

Wlodimir (Vladimir) Ledochowski: Mission, Motivation, Geopolitical Chessboard

The Pharmacratic Inquisition: Subverting Public Health

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: What Should the Jesuit GC 35 Do?

Recent Remarks

Fr Adolfo Nicolas SJ: Six hopes for the General Congregation

Can we be realistic?

I can still remember GC34. They are fond, humorous and challenging memories. But we were not realistic.

Just imagine: 220 Jesuits decide to tackle 46 topics, work on them for three months, produce 26 documents and solemnly handle and approve 416 complementary norms. Thus, we were not surprised when crises emerged: crises of content, of management, and of hope. Next year we will be close to 230 members.

Can we be transparent?

Transparency has become more difficult in our small world. When was the last time that a great leader could confess substantial sins in public and continue leading the flock, the country, the Church?

And yet, our GCs have always started with an honest and frank acknowledgment of where we are going wrong, what is missing in our lives, what has been distorted or wounded of our spirit, what needs conversion, renewal or radical reform.

It is my sincere hope that we can do that again.

Can we be accompanied?

The best of a General Congregation is the event itself, as an ‘event of the heart'. This is a time of intensive search and of exhilarating exchange, where questions and answers do not come lineally, but dance within us and around us, at the rhythm of fraternal and humble mutual openness.

My hope is that this happens to the whole Society of Jesus. I hope that we all take an active part in preparing the Congregation from inside our common issues. Prayer, reflection and exchange are the gift and the contribution.

I hope that those who do not go to Rome, will monitor and follow events closely, with the same hope, the same intensity of search, the same willingness to change and be led by the Spirit of our Lord. This will be our best accompaniment.

Can we be creative?

I have a feeling, still imprecise and difficult to define, that there is something important in our religious life that needs attention and is not getting it. We have certainly been diligent in addressing our problems whenever we have seen them: Poverty (GC32 in 1974 and 34 in 1995), Chastity (GC34), Community (Provincials at Loyola)... But the uneasiness in the Society and in the Church has not disappeared.

The question for us is: Is it enough that we are happy with our life and are improving our service and ministry? Isn't there also an important factor in the perception of people (Vox Populi) that should drive us to some deeper reflection on religious life today? How come we elicit so much admiration and so little following?

Thus, one of my hopes is that in GC35 we begin a process of dynamic and open reflection on our religious life that might begin a process of re-creation of the Society for our times, not only in the quality of our services, but also and mostly in the quality of our personal and community witness to the Church and the World.

Can we be practical?

The age in which we live and our younger Jesuits will live, is an age of very rapid change. New technologies and new communication possibilities can make a great difference. We are using some. We do not feel free to use others. Maybe a certain restraint in using new means might be good for us. Maybe not. It is so difficult to know what is going to happen seven, ten years from now.

It is my hope that the coming GC opens the way for future General Congregations, giving the new General and his Council the freedom to discern and choose the best means to prepare and to run the Congregations of the future.

Can we be short?

We would not like GC35 to become another exercise in patience. A General Congregation is not a "Panacea" for all the problems we might face. It is a help of great value, but basically oriented to the ongoing growth in the Spirit and the Apostolate of the whole Society.

Thus, my final hope is that we will be so clear as to the purposes, and so focused in our work, that we can do this service to the Society and the Church within a reasonably short time.

By Adolfo Nicolas SJ, Moderator of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania.

What Should The Jesuits Do?

The New Black Pope is Adolfo Nicolas

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.

Spaniard becomes Jesuits' new "black pope"

Sat 19 Jan 2008, 12:56 GMT
[-] Text [+]

By Stephen Brown

VATICAN CITY, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Spaniard Adolfo Nicolas was elected the Jesuits' "black pope", as the head of the largest and perhaps most influential, controversial and prestigious Catholic order is known, in a secret conclave on Saturday.

Nicolas, 71, has run Jesuit operations in east Asia and Oceania since 2004 and spent most of his career in the Far East after being ordained in Tokyo in 1967.

The order said in a statement that Nicolas had been elected to succeed Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, who received permission from Pope Benedict to retire as head of the order formally known as the Society of Jesus at the age of 79.

Jesuit superior generals are known as "black popes" because, like the pontiff, they wield worldwide influence and usually keep their position for life -- and because their simple cassock is black, in contrast to the pope who dresses in white.

The 468-year history of the Jesuit order has often included stormy relations with the Vatican. Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul, believed the order had become too independent, leftist and political, particularly in Latin America.

Soft-spoken, white-haired Dutchman Kolvenbach won widespread praise for mending relations with the Vatican during his years in the post, after conflicts between his charismatic Basque predecessor and Pope John Paul.

Kolvenbach also had to deal with declining vocations and the future of the order founded by St Ignatius Loyola in 1540.

In the 1960s, the all-male order peaked with some 36,000 members worldwide. It now has about 19,200 members involved in education, refugee help and other social services.

The general congregation that elected Nicolas gathered 217 electors from all over the world at Jesuit headquarters, a block from the Vatican.

They spent four days in prayer and what is known in Latin as "murmuratio", or murmurings, about who should be elected. It is strictly forbidden to lobby for the post and anyone actively seeking the job must be 'turned in' by the other delegates.

The election is by secret ballot and delegates are not allowed to leave the room until Pope Benedict is informed who has won, in keeping with a tradition that the "white pope" is first to know who is the new "black pope".

But unlike a conclave to elect the pontiff, a Jesuit general congregation can continue for weeks or even months after the election to discuss future challenges and priorities.

CITIES 'THE VATICAN - The Jesuit Adolfo Nicolas is the new "black pope". He was elected on the second ballot the General Congregation gathered at the headquarters of the General Curia in Borgo Santo Spirito near St. Peter. The initial entry of the religious, who succeeds father Kolvenbach, is scheduled for tomorrow in Rome. Father Nicolas, 72 years next April, is called "Black Pope" for the color of cowl wearing because it is elected for life as the Pope and leading as Superior of the Jesuits, the largest and powerful religious order of the world. Our extensive experience in Asia, strong growth in land of evangelization, and the ability of government "are the qualities on which the Society of Jesus has pointed to the election of Nicolas driving 19,200 Jesuits of the world.

Experience in Asia. Father Nicolas has a pastoral training and all Asia, in particular played in Japan. Among the successors of 29 founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 1540 Spanish theologian is the second to reach the Land of the Rising Sun after the missionary Pedro Arrupe (one of the witnesses to the tragedy of Hiroshima). Born in 1936 in Palencia, Spain, he graduated at the Gregorian University, in 1971 he obtained a master's degree in sacred theology and was Professor of Systematic Theology at Sophia University in Tokyo.

From 1991 to 1993 was rector of Scholasticate in Tokyo, then until 1999 he assumed the role of provincial of the Jesuit Province of Japan. The new "Black Pope", from 2004 to 2007, was moderator of the Jesuit Conference Eastern Asia and Oceania. He enjoys wide esteem in the Vatican and the Order also for being Secretary General of the Congregation, which Kolvenbach father got the Jesuits to more moderate positions.

In recent days Benedict XVI has asked the Jesuits greater fidelity in "promoting the true and sound Catholic doctrine," that "the Church has even more need today, at a time when there is the urgent need to convey to contemporary, distracted by discordant voices, and the only unchanged message of salvation that is the Gospel. " Ratzinger has described as "very useful" a public reaffirmation of its total membership to Catholic doctrine "by the Society of Jesus," in particular focal points today strongly attacked by secular culture, as the relationship between Christ and religions, some aspects of the theology of liberation and different points of sexual morality, particularly with regard to the indissolubility of marriage and the pastoral care of homosexual persons. "

The pontiff then acknowledged "the valuable contribution that the Company offers to the Church in different fields and in many ways", stressing the urgency that "the lives of members of the Society of Jesus, as well as their research doctrinal are always animated by a spirit of faith and communion in docile harmony with the directives of the Magisterium. "

( January 19, 2008 )

The Congregation greets the new Superior General.

Fr. Nicolás is greeted by Fr. Kolvenbach.

Fr. Nicolás is greeting one-by-one by the members of the Congregation.

Each member of the Congregation offers Fr. Nicolás his congratulations.

Fr. Nicolás addresses the Congregation.

Fr. Nicolás is greeted by Fr. Brad Schaefer, former moderator of the U.S. Assistancy.

Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions

The Next Black Pope TBA 6 AM EST January 19, 2008

According to Whispers in the Loggia

It's Election Day in Rome... and as you can see, the Ballot Boxes are already in place.

In about 12 hours or so (1100UTC, 6am Eastern) the church'll have a new "Black Pope" as the Jesuits of the General Congregation choose one of their own as the Society's 30th Superior-General -- a mission given under obedience to last the length of his days.

As the murmuratio winds down quietly, the delegates are said to be "amazed" at the wisdom, beauty, and prayerfulness of the five-century-old process. And while its resulting mandate begins immediately for the one tasked with it, a moving inaugural ritual will take place on Father-General's first full day in office.

On Sunday afternoon, just before celebrating his first Mass as leader of the Catholic world's largest, most storied and influential religious community, the 29th successor of Ignatius of Loyola will make a "statio," or "station stop," at the room of the Jesuit founder. Known as the camerete, it was there that Ignatius wrote the constitutions governing the life of his small band, the room where he spent the last years of his life. After his death within its walls, it was converted into a chapel, albeit one that merely much like his life,

Joined by a small group representing his electors, the new General will spend a moment in silent prayer. A Jesuit deacon will open the Book of the Gospels to the 23rd chapter of Matthew and read aloud its exhortation:
As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Messiah.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
That they might "continue to illumine the prayer of the Society," the opened Gospels will then be placed upon the chapel's altar.

At that point, the senior elector -- likely, in a first, the General-emeritus Peter-Hans Kolvenbach -- will turn to the Superior with the Ignatian exhortation, written in the same room, of the proper attributes of the good General.

Your Fatherhood, the Lord has chosen you as successor of St Ignatius in the leadership of his Company.

Remember the qualities that the Constitutions recommend that the Superior General must expect of himself: be always united intimately with the Lord, for familiarity with God in prayer and in all things is the fountain of grace for the entire apostolic work of the Society.

Be for us an example of virtue, let charity for all be resplendent in you, and true humility: this will make you lovable before our Lord God and before men.

Be free from passions, live with mortification and rectitude, that you may always be pure in your justice and each one inspired by your integrity.

Know to moderate kindness with firmness, just indulgence with severity, that you might match the love of Christ the Lord.

With strength of spirit, support the weakness of the many and persevere constantly in the face of adversity, trusting not in your own strengths, but in the love and grace of God. Be firm in doctrine, wise in your judgments, prudent in your decisions, illumined in discerning the spirits, vigilant in leading to fulfillment that which is entrusted to you.

Seek not the esteem or the honors of men, but seek rather to please only the Lord, to receive from him your just reward.

Love the Company, not as your possession, but as that which has been entrusted to you, that it might bring forth countless fruits of charity and service; and when the owner of the house returns, know that from this you will make account before his just mercy.

Remember, then, that you are given to us as a guide, so that in watching and following you in the acceptance of our own vocation, all of us might persevere and grow in that way which leads to the Lord, with the end of reaching that for which we have been created and called.

May the good Father bring to completion that which he has begun in you, for the good of the church, of the Company and of men.

In all things love and serve.
(Whispers translation from the Italian original.)

PHOTO: Don Doll SJ