At GC36 there are some new developments in light of the experience of the last Congregations. For instance, the report on the State of the Society will be ready before the start of the General Congregation in order to allow for a more serene and reflected formulation. Also, the previous work done by other commissions on various topics will be considered part of the General Congregation. Finally, for the first time six Jesuit Brothers will participate as electors with the right to vote in the election of the General.
Regarding topics for the Congregation, in the letter of convocation of the General Congregation, Fr. Nicolás asked each Jesuit to reflect and discern the three most important calls that the Lord makes to the Society today. It seems to me that gathering together these calls could indicate some important themes for the General Congregation.
I think we should also keep in mind the call of the Holy Father to go to the frontiers and peripheries of the world, issues connected with migrants and refugees, the Jubilee of Mercy, the Synod on the family. It is important to recall that the well-known decree 4 of GC 32 on the service of faith and the promotion of justice was inspired as follow-up to the Synod on Justice in 1971-72.
Another big issue that I think should be addressed is the demographic change in the Society. As it happens in the universal Church, the number of young Jesuits grows especially in Asia (47%) and Africa (20%), it remains more or less the same in Latin America (12%), and continues to diminish in Europe (12%) and the United States (9%). That means that 79% of young Jesuits is found in the global South (Asia, Africa and Latin America) while only 21% is found in the whole of Europe and the United States. The Society of the future, and by that I mean in the next ten years, will show a different face. Considering that key positions in many institutions – such as in the Gregorian University – have been occupied by Jesuits from Europe and North America, we must reflect on the consequences of this demographic change so as not to find ourselves unprepared.
This post is a fragment of an interview to Fr. Orlando Torres published at the last issue of the Gregorian University publication, available in Italian at http://www.unigre.it/sito/PUG_HG_03O820150936/web/LaGregoriana/48_03_36ma_congregazione_generale_it.pdf and in english here