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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 1 | Junio 1981



Events Preceding The Declaration Of The Bishops Of Managua

Events Preceding The Declaration Of The Bishops Of Managua On June 1, 1981, Concerning The Participation Of Priests In Government Functions

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May 13, 1980. Communiqué by the Bishops.
"We consider that since that since exceptional circumstances have passed, Christian laity can occupy the political offices with no less efficiency than some priests who are presently occupying them." With these words the bishops of Nicaragua asked for the resignation of the priests who work in government positions.

May 20, 1980. Communiqué of the Priests who work in the Government.
"We make know to our brothers and sisters in the Christian faith that we find ourselves in dialogue with our pastors, the bishops, regarding the content of their pastoral letter....Our faithfulness to the Church and our faithfulness to the poor cannot be in contradiction." (Nine Nicaraguan priests signed this communiqué.)

October 20, 1980. Declaration of the Special Mission that went to the Vatican.
"Our concrete mission", affirmed the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, "was to expose to the Vatican the situation of Nicaragua and the opinion of the government regarding the same....I understand that, with respect to the priests who are in the Government, it is the bishops who have to resolve the situation, taking into consideration each particular case..."

Octobre 23, 1980. Declaration of the Ministry of Housing.
"The fact that priests are occupying state positions is not a matter for the Vatican to resolve, rather the bishops of Nicaragua, we were told by Cardinal Casserolli, Secretary of State of the Holy See." The Minister of Housing told Barricada that two months ago he went to Rome as part of the special mission of the Nicaraguan government. "Cardinal Casserolli offered to communicate to the bishops of our country that this situation be resolved taking into consideration that in Nicaragua the emergency situation has not even remotely been terminated. Speaking as a Christian, I hope that the bishops of Nicaragua will act within the orientation sent by Bishop Casserolli and that no unnecessary conflict will be created.”

February 19, 1981. Priest-Ministers Ask the Bishops to Dialogue.
The three priests who have positions as ministers in the Sandinista Government have asked the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua for a new dialogue in order to elucidate their stay in public offices.

January 26, 1981. Dialogue with the Bishops.
Members of the Episcopal Conference held a dialogue with two of the priest-functionaries of the Sandinista Government, Miguel D'Escoto, Minister of Foreign Relations, and Ernesto Cardenal, Minister of Culture. Father Edgard Parrales, Minister of Social Well-Being, was unable to participate as he was out of the country. The priests were told that the period in which they were allowed to continue participating in the Government had ended. Monsignor Barni said that he had offered his services to obtain an extension from the Pope.

January 31, 1981. D'Escoto Explains the Conversation with the Bishops.
"We cannot speak of time periods. The only thing that we know is that we were received by the bishops, they listened to our reasons and now we await their decision and the later action they take so that their decision be confirmed in Rome. We have been called upon by the Government in an emergency situation not only in the economic aspect, but also when there exists an obvious lack of trained personal at a directive level. We asked permission to continue, which in no way violates the nature of our priestly ordination...We recognize the extraordinary character of the task that we presently exercise, in a transitory manner, with the Government. This responds in a fundamental way to the emergency situation that covers the country...we cannot hide behind our priestly ordination to avoid the duty of all good citizens in a time of national emergency. And every Christian should be a good citizen".

April 28, 1981. Letter of French Catholic Intellectuals to the Priests who work in Government.
"We French Catholics believe that your presence in the Government is very important, not only as politicians but also as Christians, because you are, together with the Nicaraguan people, authors of an innovative revolution that rejects dogmatism and looks for economic, political, cultural and spiritual enrichment."

May 13, 1981. Statement by Monsignor Obando y Bravo in Costa Rica.
Monsignor Obando y Bravo indicated that with respect to the permanence of the priests in Government positions, it cannot be resolved within the Nicaraguan Episcopate, but that it is the duty of the Holy See, thanks to a decree in 1966 by Pope Paul VI. The Archbishop said that the bishops of his country had taken all factors into account and had sent them to the Vatican for their pronouncement on the matter.

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Dear Friends

Events Preceding The Declaration Of The Bishops Of Managua

Excerpts From The Nicaraguan Bishops Communiqué Of June 1, 1981

Priests Respond To Bishops' Communiqué

Christian Communities In The Revolution

Circumstances Surrounding The Bishop’s Communiqué

Commentary On The Document Of The Bishops
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