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Pope lifts suspension on Sandinista priest

By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 August, 2014

Fr Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann

Fr Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann

Pope Francis has agreed to lift the suspension on Fr Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann who was suspended “a divinis” in the 1980s for holding political office in the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

The move follows the Pope’s receipt of a letter from the 81-year-old Maryknoll priest who no longer holds political office in which he expressed his desire to be able to celebrate the Eucharist again before he dies.

The Los Angeles-born priest’s faculties were suspended in 1985 after he refused to give up his position in the leftist Sandinista regime. He served as Nicaragua’s foreign minister from 1979 to 1990.

Pope Francis responded affirmatively to this request, and has left it to the superior general of the Maryknoll order to reintegrate Fr Brockmann into the priestly ministry.

The letter announcing the lifting of the suspension was signed by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

A press release issued by the Maryknoll congregation said, “The Holy Father has given his benevolent assent that Fr Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann be absolved from the canonical censure inflicted upon him.”

It added that the Vatican entrusted him to the superior general of the Maryknoll congregation to accompany him in the process of reintegration into the ministerial priesthood.

Although his censure had barred him from exercising priestly ministry, the Los Angeles-born Fr D’Escoto remained a member of the Maryknoll Society.

Canon Law prohibits priests from holding political offices.

Fr Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann was not the only cleric to hold a position in the Sandinista government.

Jesuit, Fr Fernando Cardenal, acted as the Sandinista’s education minister while his brother, Trappist Fr Ernesto Cardenal, acted as culture minister. They were also suspended in 1985 by the Vatican.

Fr Fernando Cardenal was readmitted to the Jesuits in 1997, four years after renouncing his membership in the Sandinistas. His brother, a poet, continues to be involved in politics.

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