Religion: Choosing the Middle Way

The Jesuits pick a scholarly ascetic as their leader

Votes on the first ballot were still being counted when the 211 electors who had gathered at Jesuit headquarters in Rome began to applaud. By an overwhelming margin, the general congregation of the Society of Jesus last week chose its new superior general: the Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, 54, a Dutch priest highly respected within the church's largest religious order of men (26,000 members) for his piety, scholarship and skills as a prudent diplomat.

By selecting Kolvenbach as the 28th successor to the society's founder, St....

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