Every year in September, Father General brings
together his Extended Council. This comprises his usual group of Assistants,
who are joined by the Secretaries of the Sectoral Secretariats (Social
Apostolate and Ecology, Service of Faith, Pre-Secondary and Secondary
Education, Higher Education), the General Treasurer and the six Presidents of
the Society’s Regional Conferences. This September’s meeting uses an original
format, that of a “formation workshop” during which the members of the Council
study in depth a theme useful for the governance of the Society.
During the week of 11 to 15 September, the workshop
focused on the topic of change.
Starting with the presentation of case studies, the participants will consider
how the Society, in its past and recent history, has dealt with changing epochs,
changes in society and changes in the Church. A link can easily be made between
this topic and Father General’s recent document De Statu Societatis.
This text, which Jesuits around the world will be studying over the next few
months, includes a whole chapter entitled: “Epochal Changes in the World
Challenge the Mission of the Church.” The document highlights the complexity of
today’s world and mentions challenges such as the growth of forced migration,
the new media ecosystem, situations of war and other forms of violence, and of
course climate change. All of this can obviously force the Society of Jesus to
change and adapt.
change is not something new. It has been present at every epoch of humanity and
many times in the history of the Society. On the first day of the Consiglio
Allargato meeting, Robert Danieluk, a Jesuit historian from the Roman
Archives of the Society of Jesus, was asked to present examples of how the
Society had, throughout its history, resisted, embraced or accompanied change.
As a subtitle to his presentation, Fr Danieluk chose the well-known adage: “God
writes straight with crooked lines.”