The Australian Province of the Society of Jesus has announced a new incorporated legal entity, The Society of Jesus in Australia Limited (SOJA) to govern and provide strategic oversight of Province ministries.
The intention to establish this new entity was announced with the Province Apostolic Plan released in mid 2019 and flows from General Congregation 35 of the Universal Society of Jesus (GC35), held in 2008, which called on Provinces of the Society to look afresh and reimagine their governance structures.
The creation of the new entity will also implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, providing greater transparency and accountability and supporting the delivery of our common Jesuit mission.
The new entity has commenced operating and Province office staff will transition, with all employee entitlements preserved, in coming months.
Jesuit works such as parishes, migrant chaplaincies and Newman College will continue to operate and by governed in accordance with universal canon law, diocesan protocols and Australian civil law.
Jesuit residential communities will continue as entities of the unincorporated association known as “The Australian Province of the Society of Jesus” led by local community superiors in collaboration with the Provincial.
Commenting on the new structure, Jesuit Provincial Fr Brian F McCoy SJ said, ‘While the new structure complies with our legal obligations – the process of rethinking our governance structures has been in train for some time and is first and foremost a response to the call for renewal in General Congregations 34, 35 and 36. It aims to achieve greater openness, accountability and transparency.’
‘We envisage that this structure will evolve over time. It is important that we regularly review our governance structures and seek to continually improve them, while at the same time fostering shared responsibility and collaboration with our lay partners and remaining faithful to our Ignatian charism and “way of proceeding”.’