Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal has been voted the next superior general of the Society of Jesus.

The Venezuelan becomes the 30th successor of Jesuit founder St Ignatius of Loyola and leader of the Catholic Church’s largest religious order.

He is the Jesuits’ first non-European leader in the society’s 476-year history, its first Latin-American leader and also the first superior general to be elected under a Jesuit pope.

He succeeds Fr Adolfo Nicolás, a Spanish priest who formally resigned this month aged 80.

The election took place in Rome last Friday.

Fr Sosa was born in Caracas in 1948, and before his election worked in Rome in a senior administrative role overseeing several Jesuit institutions.

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