The Superior General of the Jesuit Order, Arturo Sosa, has taken aim at Pope Francis’ critics and denounced a “political struggle” within the Church.

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“There’s no doubt there’s a political struggle inside the Church”, Sosa said Monday at a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, as AFP reports.

“The struggle is between those that want the Church that Vatican II dreamed of and those that don’t”, explained the Jesuit head, in reference to the great Church modernising Council held between 1962-1965.


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Sosa, who in 2016 became the first Latin American head of one of the Church’s most numerous, most respected and most influential religious orders, explained how he sees Pope Francis’ priorities.

“Pope Francis’ struggle is against clericalism and the exercise of power within the Church.

The Pope proposes a synodal Church – that is, participatory and that collectively takes decisions – against clericalism”, explained Sosa, who is also a renowned university professor and political scientist.

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Why it matters

Sosa – who as a Jesuit and a Venezuelan is particularly close to history’s first Jesuit and Latin American Pope – referred to the constant ultraconservative attacks on Francis ever since he took over in the Vatican in 2013.

“I’m convinced that it is not an attack against the Pope alone”, Sosa said, referring to the criticisms that even Francis has referred to as coming especially from far-right churchmen and media groups in the United States.

“Francis is convinced of what he’s doing ever since he was elected pope. It’s actually a way to influence the election of the next pope”, Sosa explained.

“It’s more that Francis’, for his age, will not be the longest pontificate in history. They [his critics] are looking to his succession”, the Jesuit Superior General denounced.

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What’s next

Sosa also referred in his comments to the press to next month’s Pan-Amazon Synod in Rome, a favourite target of ultraconservative attacks.

“The synod does not make doctrinal decisions”, Sosa explained.

“It is a pastoral meeting, to exchange ideas, make recommendations for more effective pastoral care in important areas, such as Latin America”, he added.

“The synod is an opportunity”, the Jesuit insisted.

In the case of the Pan-Amazon Synod, an opportunity for “the Church and society to commit to an integral ecology”.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.