Pope Lifts Suspension of Nicaraguan Priest

Admonished by Pope John Paul II for Political Activity, 81-year-old Wants to Celebrate Mass Before He Dies

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Pope Francis has lifted the suspension of a Nicaraguan priest who was admonished for political activity by Pope John Paul II.

The Holy Father approved lifting the suspension of Fr Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann from Nicaragua. The 81-year-old Maryknoll priest had been suspended “a divinis” in the 1980s for holding political office in the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, reported Vatican Radio on Monday.

Until now, he has accepted the suspension and not engaged in pastoral ministries, although he has remained a member of the missionary society.

Having stepped down from politics some years ago, Fr Brockmann wrote a letter to the Pope, expressing his desire to “celebrate the Holy Eucharist” “before he dies.”

Responding affirmatively to this request, Francis has left it to the superior general of the Institute to proceed with the process of reintegrating Fr Brockmann into the priestly ministry.

During a visit to Central America, Pope John Paul II admonished Fr Brockmann for political activity. He was suspended for not resigning his political office, which he held against his own vows. He was suspended by the Vatican in the 1980s, together with two other priests involved in the Sandinista revolution, Ernesto and Fernando Cardenal.

Born in Los Angeles in 1933, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann is a Nicaraguan diplomat, politician and Catholic priest of the Maryknoll congregation of priests. In recent years, he was nominated Libyan Representative to the UN, a request which is currently pending.

As the President of the United Nations General Assembly from September 2008 to September 2009, he presided over the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He was also the last UN ambassador for the Libyan Arab Jumeirah.

Before engaging in politics, D’Escoto was ordained a Roman Catholic priest for the Maryknoll congregation. He was a key figure in the founding of the Maryknoll press, Orbis Books, in 1970, and was an official with the World Council of Churches. A follower of liberation theology, he secretly joined the Sandinistas.

D’Escoto formed the Nicaraguan Foundation for Integral Community Development (FUNDECI) in January 1973, to promote a non-governmental response to the displacement of thousands in the December 1972 Managua earthquake. Today, he continues as its president.

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