Australian on frontrunners list for Jesuits' top job

The Australian Jesuits' Provincial, Fr Mark Raper, is on a US website's select list of four Jesuits described as frontrunners for election as successor to the Society's Superior-General Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach.

Catholic News Agency reports that the General Assembly of the Jesuits will meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on 22 April. In the letter convening the 35th General Congregation for 2008, Fr Kolvenbach announced his wish to retire. A new Superior General will therefore be elected in January 2008.

A "high ranked" Jesuit spoke to Catholic News Agency on condition of anonymity, and put forward the names and profiles of possible frontrunners for the election of the successor of Peter Hans Kolvenbach.

Fr Franco Imoda, SJ, former Rector of the Gregorian University. He is an Italian psychiatrist. He is well known in the Vatican, and would represent the Italian Jesuits and the educational sector of the Society.

Fr José Morales Orozco, SJ, current rector at the Iberoamerican university of Mexico. Former provincial of Mexico, and advisor to Kolvenbach for formation. He knows well the Society worldwide and is well appreciated internationally. He would represent Latin-America as well the Faith and Justice and educational sectors of the Society.

Fr Elias Royon Lara, SJ, current provincial for Spain for the second time. He was also master of novices, rector in Philosophy and provincial of Toledo, vice-rector of the University of Comillas in Spain, advisor to Fr Kolvenbach for Italy, Spain and Portugal and co-president of the Conference of Religious people in Spain. Well known and respected by the Spanish bishops and the Vatican. He is older than the others, but it might work in his favor if the election is controversial and a compromise candidate is sought.

Fr Mark Raper, SJ, current provincial of Australia. Former director of the Jesuit Refugee Service. He knows Rome and is well known there. He would represent the movement of Faith and Justice in the Society.

Catholic News Agency is run by Alejandro Bermudez, a Peruvian-born Catholic journalist who lives in the US. He also blogs under the title 'Catholic Outsider'.

Election of the new Superior General of the Jesuits for 2008, names unveiled of frontrunners for the succession (Catholic News Agency 6/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Society of Jesus (International)
Australian Jesuits
Jesuit Refugee Service
Society of Jesus (Wikipedia)

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7 Feb 2006