Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Society of Jesus

IHS

ISIS HORUS SETH

History of the Jesuits
Regimini militantis
Suppression
Jesuit Hierarchy
Superior General
Adolfo Nicolás
Ignatian Spirituality
Spiritual Exercises
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
Magis
Discernment
Famous Jesuits
St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Francis Xavier
Blessed Peter Faber
St. Aloysius Gonzaga
St. Robert Bellarmine
St. Peter Canisius
St. Edmund Campion

The Superior General of the Society of Jesus is the official title of the leader of the Society of Jesus—the Roman Catholic religious order, also known as the Jesuits. He is generally addressed as Father General. The position carries the nickname of Black Pope, after his simple black priest‘s vestments, as contrasted to the white garb of the Pope. The current Superior General is the Reverend Father Adolfo Nicolás.

Titles

Saint Ignatius of Loyola served as the first Superior General.

The formal title in Latin is Praepositus Generalis, which may fairly be rendered as "superior general" or even, "president general". The term is not of military origin, despite popular misconceptions, but is derived from "general", as opposed to "particular" (as with many other Catholic religious orders, like the Dominicans’ "master general", Franciscans’ "minister general", Carthusians’ "prior general", etc. and many civil posts, such as Postmaster General, Attorney General and Receiver General). The Jesuits are organized into provinces, each with a provincial superior, (usually referred to as the "Provincial Father" or just "Provincial"), with the head of the order being the "general superior", for the whole organization. As a major superior, the Superior General is styled "The Very Reverend".

Black Pope

"Black Pope" is a deragatory nickname given to the Superior General, usually by the media (and never used by the Jesuits themselves). The name comes partly from the color of the plain black priest’s cassock, worn by members of the Society, including the Superior General and partly from a past concern, (most prominent around the 16th and 17th centuries), amongst Protestant European countries, concerning the relative power of the Jesuits within the Roman Catholic Church.

Powers

The Superior General is invested with ordinary power over the members of the Society, similar to the power given to a bishop over the people of a diocese. Superiors General submit themselves to the direct authority of and service to the Pope, not local ordinaries.

Succession

Superiors General are elected by the General Congregation of the Society, summoned upon the resignation, retirement or death of an incumbent. Superiors General are elected for life and almost all have served life terms, the exceptions being Father Pedro Arrupe (resigned for reasons of failing health) and his successor, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach. Kolvenbach’s resignation was announced in February 2006, which led to the convocation of the 35th General Congregation. That General Congregation elected the current Superior General of the Society, Father Adolfo Nicolás, who succeeded Kolvenbach.[1]

List of Superiors General

1
Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius Loyola.jpg
April 19, 1541
July 31, 1556
Azpeitia, Spain
5,582

2
Diego Laynez
Diego Laínez.jpg
July 2, 1558
January 19, 1565
Almazán, Spain
2,393

3
Francis Borgia
San Francisco de Borja.jpg
July 2, 1565
October 1, 1572
Gandia, Spain
2,648

4
Everard Mercurian
Mercurian.jpg
April 23, 1573
August 1, 1580
La Roche-en-Ardenne, Belgium
2,657

5
Claudio Acquaviva
CAcquaviva.gif
February 19, 1581
January 31, 1615
Atri, Italy
12,399

6
Mutio Vitelleschi
November 15, 1615
February 9, 1645
Rome, Italy
10,679

7
Vincenzo Carafa
VCaraffa.jpg
January 7, 1646
June 8, 1649
Naples, Italy
1,248

8
Francesco Piccolomini
December 21, 1649
June 17, 1651
Siena, Italy
543

9
Aloysius Gottifredi
January 21, 1652
March 12, 1652
Rome, Italy
51

10
Goschwin Nickel
March 17, 1652
July 31, 1664
Jülich, Germany
4,519

11
Giovanni Paolo Oliva
GPOliva.jpg
July 31, 1664
November 26, 1681
Genoa, Italy
6,327

12
Charles de Noyelle
CharlesNoyelle.JPG
July 5, 1682
December 12, 1686
Brussels, Belgium
1,621

13
Thyrsus González de Santalla
July 6, 1687
October 27, 1705
Arganza, Spain
6,688

14
Michelangelo Tamburini
MTamburini.jpg
January 31, 1706
February 28, 1730
Modena, Italy
8,521

15
Franz Retz
FRetz.jpg
March 7, 1730
November 19, 1750
Prague, Bohemia
7,562

16
Ignacio Visconti
IVisconti.jpg
July 4, 1751
May 4, 1755
Milan, Italy
1,389

17
Aloysius Centurione
ACenturione.jpg
November 30, 1755
October 2, 1757
Genoa, Italy
672

18
Lorenzo Ricci
LRicci.jpg
May 21, 1758
August 16, 1773
Florence, Italy
5,566


Stanislaus Czerniewicz[3]
October 17, 1782
October 21, 1785
Kaunas, Lithuania
1,100


Gabriel Lenkiewicz[3]
October 8, 1785
October 21, 1798
Polotsk, Belarus
4,761


Franciszek Kareu[4]
February 12, 1799
August 11, 1802
Orsha, Belarus
1,275


Gabriel Gruber[5]
October 22, 1802
April 6, 1805
Vienna, Austria
897

19
Tadeusz Brzozowski[6]
T.Brzozowski.jpg
August 7, 1814
February 5, 1820
Königsberg, Prussia
2,008

20
Luigi Fortis
Fortis.jpg
October 18, 1820
January 27, 1829
Verona, Italy
3,023

21
Jan Roothaan
Roothaan.jpg
July 9, 1829
May 8, 1853
Amsterdam, Netherlands
8,704

22
Peter Jan Beckx
Beckx.jpg
August 2, 1853
March 4, 1887
Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, Belgium
12,267

23
Anton Anderledy
Anderledy.jpg
March 4, 1887
January 18, 1892
Berisal, Switzerland
1,781

24
Luis Martín
Martin Garcia Luis SJ.jpg
October 2, 1892
April 18, 1906
Melgar de Fernamental, Spain
4,945

25
Franz Xavier Wernz
FatherWernz.jpg
September 8, 1906
August 20, 1914
Rottweil, Germany
2,903

26
Wlodimir Ledochowski
February 11, 1915
December 13, 1942
Loosdorf, Austria
10,167

27
Jean-Baptiste Janssens
September 15, 1946
October 5, 1964
Mechelen, Belgium
6,595

28
Pedro Arrupe
May 22, 1965
September 3, 1983
Bilbao, Spain
6,678

29
Peter Hans Kolvenbach
Peterhanskolvenbach.jpg
September 13, 1983
January 14, 2008
Druten, Netherlands
8,889

30
Adolfo Nicolás
Adolfo Nicolas, Sup. Gén.jpg
January 19, 2008

Villamuriel de Cerrato, Spain
839

Leadership during suppression

Saint Francis Borgia, depicted performing an exorcism, served as the third Superior General.

In 1773, the Jesuits were suppressed by Pope Clement XIV, through the Papal brief Dominus ac Redemptor on July 21, 1773, executed August 16. The leaders of the order, in the nations where the Papal suppression order was not enforced, were known as temporary Vicars General.

The temporary Vicars General were:

On March 7, 1801, Pope Pius VII issued the brief Catholicae fidei, giving approval to the existence of the Society in Russia and allowing the Society there to elect a Superior General for Russia. This was the first step to the Society’s eventual restoration.

The Superiors General in Russia were:

The order was restored on August 7, 1814, by Pope Pius VII, through the papal bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Lists the present-day name and nationality of the city in question.
  2. ^ a b Vicar General
  3. ^ Vicar General until March 7, 1801, Superior General for Russia thereafter.
  4. ^ Superior General for Russia only.
  5. ^ Superior General for Russia only from September 14, 1805 to August 7, 1814.

External links

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