Print Version    Email to Friend
Revolution priest dies in Nicaragua

MANAGUA (CWNews): Father Fernando Cardenal, a Jesuit liberation theologian who supported Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution and served as the nation’s education minister in the government of Daniel Ortega from 1984 to 1990, died on February 20 at the age of 82.

At a time when priests in politics was a hot topic, Father Cardenal became the subject of the famous photograph showing Pope John Paul II’s castigating wagging finger.

Father Cardenal was later suspended from the priesthood. However, he was reinstated as a member of the Society of Jesus in 1997.

In a 2015 interview, he expressed his support for contraception, the ordination of women and the return to the ministry of former priests who had married.

A poet and well-known liberal thinker, he said that looking back upon his life, he believes that Jesus asked him to commit himself to the Sandinista revolution and that Jesus’ voice is stronger than the pope’s.

Former Maryknoll Father Miguel D’Escoto served alongside Father Cardenal in the Ortega administration as minister for foreign affairs. He too was suspended from the ministry and later became a human rights commissioner at the United Nations.

However, Father D’Escoto always maintained that he was not a politician, as he was never elected to or ran for office, but simply responded to a request from Ortega to serve his people in government at a time when few competent or trustworthy people were available. He received no salary


Now old and sick, Father D’Escoto has applied to be admitted back to the priesthood.

More from this section