Since October 2016, the Venezuelan Jesuit, Arturo Sosa Abascal, Superior General of the Jesuit Order and thus, is the 30th successor of St. Ignatius of Loyola. General Sosa distinguished himself in the 70s and 80s by trying to bring about a symbiosis of Christianity and Marxism. These aspirations were concretized by a jubilee address to the Communist Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Since his election to the Jesuit General Sosa attracted little favor. His spiritual "bon mots" range from syncretistic excursions to the polemical denial of the authenticity of the Gospels. Notorious for this is his answer in connection with the controversial post-synodal letter of Pope Francis, Amoris laetitia, whether the Lord’s command on the indissolubility of marriage is still valid. The "Black Pope" in all seriousness meant that at that time nobody had a tape recorder, so there was no sure proof of the authenticity of the Lord’s words.
In 2017, General Sosa also said that the devil is not a person and that his existence is only as a "symbolic figure" to name evil.
There was no official reaction from the Order or the Holy See either in one instance or the other. Pope Francis, otherwise stingy with criticism of his own ranks, did not utter a word of disapproval or correction to his religious superiors.
Now Sosa has repeated his adventurous thesis about the devil. On August 21, the weekly Tempi published an interview with the Black Pope, as the Jesuit General is traditionally called. He said:
Tempi: Father Sosa, does the devil exist?
Arturo Sosa Abascal: In different ways. We need to understand the cultural elements to refer to this figure. In the language of Saint Ignatius, it is the evil spirit that makes one do things that are directed against the Spirit of God. He exists as personified evil in different structures, but not in humans because he is not a person. He is a way to realize the evil. It is not a person like a human. It is a way of evil to be present in human life. Good and evil are in constant conflict in the human conscience and we have different ways to name them. We recognize God as good, as completely good. Symbols are part of reality, and the devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality.
According to the logic of the Jesuit general, is God, logically, only a "symbolic reality" that serves to name the good?
Will the General Curia of the Jesuit Order and the Holy See also stay away this time? Will Pope Francis remain silent this time, even though the Superior General of the Church's largest and traditionally most powerful order challenges the foundations of the Church and of religion as a whole? Some could at least recognize agnostic approaches in his words.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
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