Hattip to commenter Greg Mockeridge. Pope John Paul II shaking his finger at Ernesto Cardenal, Culture Minister for the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, during the Pope’s visit to Nicaragua in 1983.
Flash forward to the present:
Pope Francis on Sunday lifted the sanctions “a divinis ” on Nicaraguan priest, Father Ernesto Cardenal, who was suspended from his priestly ministry 35 years ago because of his political militancy and for joining the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega as Minister of Culture.
“With benevolence”, Pope Francis has granted Father Ernesto Cardenal absolution from “all canonical censorships” which he incurred in 1984, said Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, the Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua, in a note.
When St. John Paul II visited Nicaragua in 1983, he sternly reprimanded Fr. Cardenal publicly at Managua airport. “You must fix your affairs with the Church,” the Polish pope told him sternly. A year later on Feb. 4, Pope John Paul suspended him “a divinis “.
Canon law (No. 285) forbids clerics from assuming public offices, an act that entails participation in the exercise of civil power.
However, in 1994 Cardenal abandoned the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), criticizing what he interpreted as an authoritarian drift of the party.
Archbishop Sommertag said the 94-year old priest “accepted the canonical punishment imposed” on him at that time, keeping “always to it”, “without carrying out any pastoral activity”, having abandoned “for many years all political commitment”.
Go here to read the rest. Cardenal has criticized his erst while comrade Daniel Ortega, the current dictator of Nicaragua. With Cardenal ailing and obviously nearing the end of his days, PopeWatch is not necessarily opposed to this action which could be interpreted as an act of mercy for a very old man, who perhaps got wiser than he was in 1983. Or perhaps PopeWatch is going soft.