Ariccia, 14-18 May 2002
Trying to peer more than two decades into the future is a very risky undertaking. If we were to place ourselves backward for the same length of time, would we have predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the rise of globalization? The best which we can do in all of this is make some extrapolations from the present. In the previous presentation I tried to do some of that by looking at how the lens through which the leaders of our institutes in 2025 is being formed. That was less an act of future- gazing than a careful look at present forces already at work in the world. To look further ahead requires a careful scrutiny of things already underway now that are likely to continue to that distant point, and the hope that there will not be significant disruption of those patterns in the ensuing two decades. There remain, of course, many imponderables, especially events in the future which we cannot now anticipate.
Yet peer into the future we must. Despite its many hazards and difficulties, those in leadership in our religious institutes have a responsibility to look beyond the present so as to prepare for the future as best they can. It is with that same sense of responsibility that I undertake this task here, fully aware at the same time that future events can alter radically the scenario described here.