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Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
Jesuits News Formation Fr. Sosa at the Romanian University

Fr. Sosa at the Romanian University

Speaking this morning about the historical link between the Society and Babes-Bolyai University, Father General highlighted the similarities and the differences. “The umbilical cord has been “cut off” centuries ago, with the universal suppression of the Jesuit Order in 1773, and all the merit for the worldwide recognition of this prestigious school at the international level ever since then is due to its Academic body, to their macro and micro management, and the achievements of its brilliant students. However, I would like to enlist briefly some similarities or correspondences between the Jesuit Founders of the Academia Claudiopolitana and the current Babes-Bolyai University, which betray a common spirit and shared values.

The magis

The Spirit of Magis: the Latin word was used by St. Ignatius of Loyola to express the ongoing journey of the human person towards God, towards his peers and towards himself.

The political dimension of education

The first Jesuits were brought to Transylvania by King Stephen Bathory in 1579, during the terrific political turmoil caused by the Lutheran and Calvinist Reformation. The reason was the conviction that schools could form long-term leadership and social mindsets better than any conflictual approach. Today, despite the momentous changes that have taken place in the world at the religious and socio-political levels, education retains the same proactive remedy against the three Ps that threaten the world’s socio-political sphere: populism, polarisation and post-truth. Populism empties the authentic exercise of the will of the people of content, polarisation puts an end to any authentic debate on ideas, while post-truth turns the invention of reality into an instrument of power and governance. I am convinced that these common challenges call for common responses and therefore for networking between partners such as UBB and the Jesuit Order.

The relationship between faith and science

The third aspect that attracts my attention concerns the relationship between faith and science. The current coexistence of four different confessional theological faculties within the Babes-Bolyai University confirms the possibility of integrating scientific research with spiritual research, especially in the common interest of social justice. In this field, too, Jesuit schools have sought to meet the dual challenge: on the one hand to offer an education for justice and on the other hand, to ensure that social or economic status is not a determining factor for access to a broad education.

The Universal Apostolic Peferences are also challenges for universities

And last but not least, let me evoke a surprising, yet thoughtful “dissimilarity”. Nowadays, unlike in the past, there is no Jesuit school in Cluj, nor in Romania, at least for the time being. However, the four current Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Jesuit Order, approved by Pope Francis for the period 2019-2029, express challenges and goals which are both understandable and reachable by any serious University of our times. Promoting discernment and the spiritual exercises; walking with the excluded; caring for our common home; journeying with youth. In a time of fundamentalism, we want to witness to a faith that faces emerging questions with honesty and that can debate them with sincerity and openness.

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