Commentary On The Document Of The Bishops
The communiqué of the bishops demanding the resignation of the demanding the resignation of the priests who hold government or party offices has caused profound consternation and surprise. The priests involved are: Father D’Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua, Father Parrales, Minister of Social Well-Being; Father Ernesto Cardenal, Minister of Culture; and Father Fernando Cardenal, director of the Sandinista Youth.
The communiqué, which bore the date of July 1, was kept secret until the third. On July 2, the regular monthly meeting of the clergy took place in Managua at which the bishop was present. Nevertheless he said nothing at the meeting. It is also know that, at least in Managua, he did not even consult the Priests’ Council, a body of priests elected as advisors to Monsignor Obando.
It is also interesting to note that the communiqué was unsigned, bearing only the heading of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua. This is intended to give the appearance of a unanimous letter when, in reality, Monsignor Rubén López, bishop of Estelí, was not present. The presence of two other bishops on June 1 is also doubtful and is being checked. There are seven bishops in Nicaragua.
Immediately after the publication, reporters tried to interview the bishops. By coincidence, all were out or busy; Monsignor Obando in Rome, the Nuncio in Honduras, etc.
The responses, both verbal and written, began on June 3, expressing regret over the communiqué. There is a consensus in the comments.
The priests are asked to continue in their offices for three reasons: First, because they are a symbol to the Nicaraguan people that Christians are present in the Revolution.
Second, because they are a support at the international level. In Europe and the USA, many people have confidence in Nicaragua because these priests work within the process.
Finally, it should be noted that the period of emergency at an economic, social and political level is not over in Nicaragua. In this sense, well qualified persons are needed, such as the four priests, in government positions in order to work from within the process.
But the reaction has not been kept at the level of documents and communiqués. The Government has sent the people who represented it in October to Rome: the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Secretary of the Junta, and the Minister of Housing. And the Christian community is beginning to mobilize.
Besides that, the priests who hold government posts have issued a statement which was read by Father Parrales at a press conference.
In Managua we need the support of Christians around the world. We ask you to send written support to the Fathers Cardenal, Parrales an D’Escoto at this address:
P. Francisco de Paula Oliva S.J.
Instituto Histórico Centroamericano
Apartado A-194, Managua, Nicaragua.