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The superior general of the Jesuits, Dutch Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, has informed members of the Society that he intends to step down in 2008, the year he will turn 80.
Catholic News service reports that in a letter sent on Thursday to all members of the Society of Jesus, Fr Kolvenbach said a general congregation to elect his successor and to discuss other important matters would begin on 5 January 2008, in Rome.
Each of the 91 Jesuit provinces in the world will hold a provincial congregation by 1 March 1 2007, to prepare for the Rome gathering.
While the Jesuit superior general is elected for life, the order's constitutions allow a superior to step down.
Catholic News Service in Rome obtained a copy of Fr Kolvenbach's letter in Italian; each Jesuit provincial is charged with ensuring that every member of the Jesuits receive a copy.
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