Pope Francis approved and confirmed the “apostolic preferences” chosen by the Jesuits for the next ten years. They are “in harmony with the priorities of the Church,” he affirmed in a letter reported by “Vatican News” on February 19, 2019.
For the decade 2019-2029, the Society of Jesus chose four “apostolic preferences”: to promote discernment and the Spiritual Exercises; to walk with the excluded; to accompany young people on the way; and to look after the common home.
These apostolic preferences “are in harmony with the present apostolic priorities of the Church, expressed through the Pope’s ordinary Magisterium, the Synods and the Episcopal Conferences, especially stemming from the Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium,” stressed Pope Francis in a letter addressed to Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits.
The discernment undertaken, he adds, has been a “dynamic discernment, and not a “library or laboratory” process. For the Pontiff, the first preference is fundamental because it implies as “first condition a Jesuit’s relationship with the Lord, the personal and communal life of prayer and of discernment.“
The apostolic preferences are the fruit of a process of discernment that lasted practically two years. They inspire the Jesuits “in discernment and in apostolic planning,” specifies Father Sosa. They put the accent on the way in which Jesuits can “use better the means at their disposal in order to serve Christ’s reconciling mission in the world.”
Pausing on the second preference, Father Sosa explains: “We want to borrow a path to promote social justice . . . We want to promote the change of economic, political and social structures that cause injustices . . . We want to eliminate the scourge of abuses from the life of the Church and of society.”
And he emphasizes the third preference, which is attention to young people who can help to understand society’s changes. Therefore, it’s necessary to “open areas to young people, to their creativity” and it’s necessary to learn from young people, assures the Superior General.
Finally, the fourth preference encourages participation in urgent actions to halt and stem the deterioration of the environment. However, all these preferences imply collaboration, which must be a strong point of the Jesuits ‘ way of acting, concludes Father Sosa.