Adolfo Nicolás Pachón
Superior General of the Society of Jesus is called the Black Pope because he wears a simple black cassock.
The post is for life.
However, on January 14, 2008, the then Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach sought permission from Pope Benedict XV to step down at the age of 80 citing poor health. Kolvenbach’s request to Benedict to step down as he approached the age of 80, Vatican sources say, could have implications for the “white” papacy as well if a Pope were to consider retiring because of old age or ill health.LINK
The same was approved and the post is now held by Adolfo Nicolás.
The Jesuits have always worked among the people. Some even accuse them of being Leftists.
Since the Second Vatican Council, many Jesuits have favored progressive reform in the Church, seeking to adapt Catholic traditions to modern life.
Here are some excerpts from an article in TIME.
The order was founded with a special mission to directly serve the Pontiff, and has been dubbed the “Pope’s cavalry,” engendering suspicion in the past of conspiracies and secret powers. Even Popes, including John Paul II, have criticized them for their apparent autonomy. “Yes, we are in the vanguard of the Church,” says Jose de Vera, head spokesman for the order. “It is not our job to just repeat the catechism, but to do research. Sometimes looking for real truth, you can step over the line.” Just last year, the Vatican’s doctrinal office issued a “Notification” to Spanish Jesuit scholar Jon Sobrino, a proponent of Marxist-inspired liberation theology, for what they called “erroneous … and even dangerous” writings.
Most Jesuits steer clear of offending the Vatican hierarchy, focusing on frontline missionary work amongst the poor and oppressed. Noted in particular for their vast network of schools and universities, the Jesuits are widely considered the day-to-day educational and intellectual motor for Roman Catholicism. Pecklers, who teaches liturgy at the Gregorian University in Rome, has lately been working on an education project in the hinterlands of Mongolia. “Whereas a Benedictine is centered around his monastery, the Jesuit’s life is the road. The way we’ve achieved our credibility is getting our hands dirty, getting involved in issues of countries.” LINK
Could it be that the present Pope has taken the cue from the previous head of the Jesuits and resigned?
One hopes that the Jesuits continue to play an important part in the Catholic Church and that they successfully influence the next Pope to adapt Catholic traditions to modern life.