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Rome Reports

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Nuncio celebrates Mass with Ernesto Cardenal who is readmitted into priesthood

This is the first Mass celebrated by Ernesto Cardenal. It has been 35 years since he has been suspended from the priesthood. The pope's nuncio in Nicaragua informed Ernesto Cardenal that his sanction had been removed.

John Paul II personally reprimanded him during a papal trip to Nicaragua in 1983. In those times, Cardenal was Minister of Culture for the Sandinista regime.

It was a very tense trip for the pope. During the main ceremony, groups associated with the government shouted out slogans against John Paul II. 

This is how the pope's then-Vatican spokesman remembered what the pope told to Cardenal.

Vatican Spokesman
“I believe there was the desire to help a person with a solemnity and a seriousness that the case demanded. Perhaps to remind him of some principles through Catholic priesthood through the secular tradition of the Church, and the inappropriateness of a Catholic priest being present in the field of politics.”

The nuncio says Ernesto Cardenal, at the age of 94, had asked to be “readmitted to the exercise of the priestly ministry.”

He also says Cardenal had complied with the canonical punishment for his political militancy; and had abandoned all political commitments for many years.