Enrique Sanz, SJ takes office as the new Rector

The event was attended by His Holiness, the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, and by the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, among other eminences


The event was attended by His Holiness, the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, and by the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, among other eminences

The event was attended by His Holiness, the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, and by the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, among other eminences

Enrique Sanz Giménez-Rico, SJ recently took office as the new Rector of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid). His inauguration ceremony took place at an event in which the following authorities were in attendance:  His Holiness, the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, Fr. Bernardito Cleopas Auza, the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Fr. Carlos Osoro, the Vice Grand Chancellor and Provincial of the Jesuits, Fr. Antonio España, and the outgoing Rector, Fr. Julio L. Martínez, SJ.  Also among those attending were eminent business, professional, social and Ecclesial leaders, representatives of the university community, fellow Jesuits, family and friends.


A great feeling of gratitude


Fr. Julio L. Martínez, who began his period as Rector in 2012, commenced his address by recognizing that it was a privilege to perform a service which he defined as exciting, and which he carried out with a very strong personal identification steeped in his very existence: "Being at the helm of Comillas has allowed me to fulfill my vocation of service as a Jesuit in the most complete way that I could ever have imagined." At the same time, he transmitted , a deep sense of  gratitude: "what rises to the forefront in me is a great feeling of gratitude for 'a life that has given me so much'; thanks to the significant number of people that I have encountered and who have supported me, and thanks to God, since Our Lord has accompanied me, sustained me and placed His trust in me, through those who appointed me to this office”. He also had kind words for the new Rector, "whom I have known for many years and in whom I have been able to verify his intellectual and human worth, his generosity and his dedication of time in the spirit of service; I am sure that he will do his best, and will make a great contribution, and may count on a collaborative spirit from all of us, as well as be endowed with the help of the Divine Grace of God ".

He also highlighted the important leadership role of Comillas at the service of society and the Church, which may be viewed "with a foundation in solid traditions and courageous innovation, with a clear and open Catholic and Jesuit identity, held dear by many people who participate in a a culture of encounter, far from sectarianism and polarization, in order to respond to the needs of the world and the Church ". The outgoing Rector explained that he did not wish to present an exhaustive evaluation of his time in office, although he alluded to the fact that Comillas is now at the best moment in its history, and enjoys solid financial stability. Furthermore, as examples, he listed three significant pieces of information: "first, the all-time record in the number of applicants for our Undergraduate Programs; second, exciting projects, full of life, such as the creation of the Advantere School of Managment, which will offer a Postgraduate Degree in Business, of the highest quality, for which Comillas and Deusto are joining forces and will contribute to a highly relevant international strategic alliance,; and, third, significant advances in research and scientific publications, with a 30% increase in the number of articles published last year ".

Addressing his Holiness,  the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, he affirmed that: "we walk together, we are a University of the Church to our innermost core." As a work of the Society of Jesus, he highlighted, at the same time, the commitment of Comillas to Faith and Justice in all of its activities, "to promote Integral Ecology, as it is understood and practiced from the perspective of Ignatian tradition, filling Agenda 2030 with Anthropological significance, and to take care of people, in their inner beings, and nuture their relationships both within themselves, and with each other, with non-human Nature and with God. "

In this regard, he confessed his desire to continue his service as a Professor, as a Theologian. "I would like to return to my classes, my lectures and my writings, to serve the Church in a field at the forefront, such as Morality, on the path traced by the Magisterium of Pope Francis, and I hope that this will be at Comillas, my intellectual home, my alma mater and where I am a Tenured Associate Professor”, he concluded.


Research, training, transfer and identity and mission

Enrique Sanz, SJ, the new Rector at Comillas, also conveyed sincere gratitude in his speech to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, to the Vice-Grand Chancellor and to his collaborators, to the members of the Senate at Comillas, individuals in the University Community, and to the outgoing Rector, Fr. Julio Martínez SJ, "who in his 9 years of generous, selfless and successful work has made it possible for Comillas to be, at the present time, the premier Jesuit University in Madrid, because of its academic rigor as well as its high level of research and transfer of knowledge".

Aware that "an organization without a strategy has no soul," the new Rector at Comillas emphasized the strategic axes at Comillas, on the one hand, "to express gratitude for the work carried out in recent years by Rector Fr. Martínez, the Vice-Rectors and Deans of our University and all of the members of our University Community", and, on the other hand, "to place some possible road markers on the path that we are beginning today, and on which we will probably travel during the next three years ". And he did so by referring to four major areas: Research, Training, Transfer, and Identity and Mission.


He pointed out the need to continue with committed Research, rigorous in its rationality, interdisciplinary in nature and applied in scope, "because only from this may we successfully address the increasingly complex problems that we face, and delve into the inner reaches of human reality, making it more ‘livable’. " Regarding Training, he highlighted the importance of helping individuals discover life as a vocation, as a project and steeped in meaning, through an excellent staff of Professors, qualified, identified with the institution and devoted to their tasks.  In addition to these values, ​references were also made to to rankings, internationalization, professionalization, soft skills and Ignatian leadership. The key, he pointed out, "is to educate and train graduates, in the words of the great Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, who are men and women at the service of others." Transfer of Knowledge, in continuing on these lines, was approached from key ideas such as Lifelong Learning, Permanent Training, Employability and Placement into the Job Market, Interdisciplinary Work, and the commitment of Comillas to the 2030 Agenda and Integral Ecology. Finally, regarding identity and mission, he highlighted the need to continue strengthening the identity and mission of the members of the University Community, collaborating with the Jesuit networks IAJU, Kircher Network and UNIJES, as well as the importance of the participation of the members of Comillas in the decision-making process, and the introduction of the principles that sustain common discernment.

His speech ended with a wish: "May God grant me the ability, in the future, to trust Him, as Fr. Pedro Arrupe did on many occasions, in reciting this precious prayer: 'the Lord had never been so close to us, perhaps never; we have never been so insecure.


A deep sense of dedication to the Mission


The Vice Grand Chancellor and Provincial of the Jesuits, Fr. Antonio España, also participated in the event. His words highlighted the deep sense of dedication to the mission that the outgoing Rector carried out and that the new Rector will continue to foment.  In addition, he added: "to the entire University, to all of the members and personnel of which it is composed, I express my gratitude and recognize the enormous energy that you have dedicated to it in recent times, bringing hope in the midst of enormous difficulties." Special thanks were offered to Fr. Julio L. Martínez, "for your exposure and visiibility during these years of intense work and  even more so, in the past year". He went on to highlight further contributions such as: "the deepening of the Ignatian and Catholic identity of the University, the expansion of the number of degrees offered, the steady increase in a more central role for research, the public connection of the university with society, the obvious  improvement in the financial situation of the University and the effort to introduce greater pedagogical innovation and constant investments of time; you have been a special instrument of the Mission; you have known how to give of yourself, in order to give deeply, and from our vantage point we recongnize and value everything that you have given to us, as a person and as a Jesuit " . At the same time, he expressed frankly to the new Rector: "I believe that your personal education and training, both spiritual and human, your preparation and background as a Professor and a Teacher, the time you have devoted to study in the area of ​​the Bible, and your period as Dean of Theology, will provide you with self-confidence in performing your functions, ensuring that you will be able to move forward, with the help of God. " "Let us not tire of renewing and rethinking, evaluating and rectifying to move in the direction of a university that serves society, the Church and the world," he concluded.

In his address, the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Fr. Carlos Osoro, defined the University as "a work of the Church", and highlighted its ability "to know how to position itself and spread hope in all situations and on all of the paths on which Humankind embarks", making true the words of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium. The Cardinal devoted some special words to the outgoing Rector: "I would like to thank you, Fr. Julio, before this audience, since you have always been attentive, with an open mind and heart, to everything that God asks of us at this time, building a more human tale ". And he added: "for me, you have been a key person in my Episcopal Ministry here in Madrid." To the new Rector, he also addressed his sincere appreciation for his acceptance to lead the University Government Bodies. "From your knowledge and understanding, you will undoubtedly contribute to generating Hope", a mission understood as true "service within the Church".

His Holiness the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, Bernardito Cleopas Auza, offered his most cordial congratulations the new Rector. "Coming from the Theological field - he ascertained - I am sure that your management of the University will enrich this institution with the approchement of Theology to other disciplines", while transmitting "great encouragement in communion of mind and heart with the Holy Father".


Entrada en cargo del nuevo rector Enrique Sanz


Entrevista al nuevo rector de Comillas


Born in Valladolid in 1965, Fr. Enrique Sanz has a degree in Trilingual Biblical Philology from the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Pontifical University of Salamanca (1990); Licenciate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome (1997); and received his Doctorate in Theology from Comillas (2000).

Specializing in Theology of the Pentateuch and Theology of the Psalter, as well as in Spirituality of the Old Testament, he has been a Professor in the Faculty of Theology at Comillas since 2001. He was also Director of the Department of Sacred Scripture and Church History, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Theology (2009-2012), and Director of the Pastoral Theology periodical Sal Terrae (2001-2012). In his teaching work, he has taught Wisdom and Apocalyptic Literature (Undergraduate level), as well as Old Testament Theology and Spirituality, at the Postgraduate level.

His publications include – titles translated to English - Closeness to Distant God, (Madrid, 2002), A Memory that Leads to the Gift (Bilbao, 2004), Prophets of Mercy (Madrid, 2007), Already in the Beginning (Madrid, 2008) and Lord, my Rock, Hear my Voice (Estella, 2014), in addition to numerous chapters in books,  pieces of research and articles of dissemination.

He was Dean of the Faculties of Theology and Canon Law from 2015 until his successor in the Faculty, Fr. Francisco Ramírez SJ, took over on May 5, 2021.  He has also been a member of the Board of UNIJES (Jesuit Universities of Spain).