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Society of Jesus
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The formation (training) of Jesuits seeks to pre

The formation (training) of Jesuits seeks to prepare men spiritually, academically, and practically for the ministries they will be called to offer the church and world. Ignatius was strongly influenced by the Renaissance, and he wanted Jesuits to be able to offer whatever ministries were most needed at any given moment and, especially, to be ready to respond to missions (assignments) from the pope. Formation for priesthood normally takes between eight and fourteen years, depending on the man's background and previous education, and final vows are taken several years after that, making Jesuit formation among the longest of any of the religious orders.

Governance of the society

The society is headed by a Superior General with the formal title Praepositus Generalis, Latin for "provost-general", more commonly called Father General. He is elected by the General Congregation for life or until he resigns; he is confirmed by the Pope and has absolute authority in running the Society. The current Superior General of the Jesuits is the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa who was elected on 14 October 2016.[102]

The Father General is assisted by "assistants", four of whom are "assistants for provident care" and serve as general advisors and a sort of inner council, and several other regional assistants, each of whom heads an "assistancy", which is either a geographic area (for instance the North American Assistancy) or an area of ministry (for instance higher ed

The Father General is assisted by "assistants", four of whom are "assistants for provident care" and serve as general advisors and a sort of inner council, and several other regional assistants, each of whom heads an "assistancy", which is either a geographic area (for instance the North American Assistancy) or an area of ministry (for instance higher education). The assistants normally reside with Father General in Rome and along with others form an advisory council to the General. A vicar general and secretary of the society run day-to-day administration. The General is also required to have an admonitor, a confidential advisor whose task is to warn the General honestly and confidentially when he might be acting imprudently or contrary to the church's magisterium. The central staff of the General is known as the Curia.[102]

The society is divided into geographic areas called provinces, each of which is headed by a Provincial Superior, formally called Father Provincial, chosen by the Superior General. He has authority over all Jesuits and ministries in his area, and is assisted by a socius who acts as a sort of secretary and chief of staff. With the approval of the Superior General, the Provincial Superior appoints a novice master and a master of tertians to oversee formation, and rectors of local communities of Jesuits.[103] For better cooperation and apostolic efficacy in each continent, the Jesuit provinces are grouped into six Jesuit Conferences worldwide.

Each Jesuit community within a province is normally headed by a rector who is assisted by a "minister", from the Latin word for "servant", a priest who helps oversee the community's day-to-day needs.[104]

The General Congregation is a meeting of all of the assistants, provincials, and additional representatives who are elected by the professed Jesuits of each province. It meets irregularly and rarely, normally to elect a new superior general and/or to take up some major policy issues for the Order. The Superior General meets more regularly with smaller councils composed of just the provincials.[105]

As of 2012, the Jesuits formed the largest single religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church.[107] The Jesuits have experienced a decline in numbers in recent decades. As of 2018 the society had 15,842 members: 11,389 priests and 4,453 Jesuits in formation, which includes brothers and scholastics. This represents a 56% percent decline since the Second Vatican Council (1965), when the society had a total membership of 36,038, of which 20,301 were priests.[108] This decline is most pronounced in Europe and the Americas, with relatively modest membership gains occurring in Asia and Africa.[109][110] According to Patrick Reilly of the National Catholic Register, there seems to be no "Pope Francis effect" in counteracting the fall of vocations among the Jesuits.[111] Twenty-eight novices took first vows in the Jesuits in the United States and Haiti in 2019.[112] In September 2019, the superior general of the Jesuits, Arturo Sosa, estimated that by 2034 the number would decrease to about 10,000 Jesuits, with a much younger average age than in 2019, and with a shift away from Europe and into Latin America, Africa, and India.[113]

The society is divided into 83 provinces along with six independent regions and ten dependent regions.[106] On 1 January 2007, members served in 112 nations on six continents with the largest number in India and the US. Their average age was 57.3 years: 63.4 years for priests, 29.9 years for scholastics, and 65.5 years for brothers.[20]

The current Superior General of the Jesuits is Arturo Sosa. The society is characterized by its ministries in the fields of missionary work, human rights, social justice and, most notably, higher education. It operates colleges and universities in various countries around the world and is particularly active in the Philippines and India. In the United States the Jesuits have historical ties to 27 colleges and universities and 61 high schools. The degree to which the Jesuits are involved in the administration of each institution varies. As of September 2018, 15 of the 27 Jesuit universities in the US had non-

The society is divided into 83 provinces along with six independent regions and ten dependent regions.[106] On 1 January 2007, members served in 112 nations on six continents with the largest number in India and the US. Their average age was 57.3 years: 63.4 years for priests, 29.9 years for scholastics, and 65.5 years for brothers.[20]