The 217 Jesuits who are eligible to vote in the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in Rome will elect a new superior general this Saturday to succeed Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach.
A source from the Society of Jesus announced this week that the delegates at the General Congregation have been discussing among themselves the profile which the new superior ought to have, followed by a vote this coming Saturday.
After Pope Benedict XVI has been informed and has given his consent to the results, the name of the new superior will be disclosed to the public. The election will take place via electronic ballot and, according to the press office of the General Congregation, the election will be the first to take place electronically. Traditionally the new superior is elected for life. For reasons of age, Father Kolvenbach officially resigned this Monday after leading the Jesuits for more than 25 years.
The 80 year-old Dutch priest was elected in 1983 with the consent of Pope John Paul II to succeed Father Pedro Arrupe, who retired due to illness.
Although the internal norms of the General Congregation prohibit campaigning for one candidate or another, reports in the Italian media have singled out Father Lisbert D’Souza of India, Father Orlando Torres of Puerto Rico, Father Jose Morales Orozco of Mexico, Father Mark Raper of Australia, Father Ignacio Echarte of Spain and Father Franco Imoda of Italy, as possible successors to Father Kolvenbach.