Nicaragua: Fr. Cardenal’s Suspension a divinis Lifted

Source: FSSPX News

On February 18, 2019, the Vatican news service announced that Pope Francis had lifted the canonical sanctions on Fr. Ernesto Cardenal, now 94 years old, imposed by John Paul II on January 30, 1985.

Fr. Cardenal was a supporter of liberation theology who in 1979 accepted the job of culture minister in the government formed by revolutionary Daniel Ortega. When John Paul II travelled to Nicaragua in 1983, the pope publicly reprimanded Fr. Cardenal, who had come to greet him on the tarmac of Managua airport. The Polish pope asked Fr. Cardenal to resign from his position and conform to the requirements of Canon Law. When he refused to leave his ministerial post, Fr. Cardenal was suspended a divinis by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), forbidding him to celebrate Mass or administer the sacraments.

Nonetheless, Pope Francis has decided in response to Fr. Cardenal’s request “benevolently to abolish all canonical censures” incurred by his “political militancy” within the Sandinista regime, according to a statement issued by the apostolic nunciature of Managua. The reason given is that Ernesto Cardenal has “given up all political involvement many years ago,” and left the Sandinista National Liberation Front. According to the Vatican website, he was protesting the authoritarian direction President Daniel Ortega had taken; according to Giuseppe Nardi on German website Katholisches, he blamed Ortega for betraying the revolution.

Archbishop Waldermar Sommertag, Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua, announced Pope Francis’ decision to lift the sanctions on Fr. Cardenal at the Vivian Pellas Hospital of Managua, where the “poet-priest” has been hospitalized since February 4, 2019 because of a kidney infection. On Sunday, February 17, Fr. Cardenal concelebrated his first Mass since his suspension with Archbishop Sommertag.

Katholisches adds that Ernesto Cardenal has never distanced himself from Marxism, nor from the errors and crimes committed in Nicaragua with his support. “Rome is reconciling itself with Cardenal, not Cardenal with Rome,” Giuseppe Nardi wrote.