Vatican: Priests and Politicians

Can a priest serve both God and the Sandinistas? Yes, say the four Roman Catholic clergymen who have held top posts in the Nicaraguan government since the Sandinistas came to power in 1979. No, says Pope John Paul II, who has insisted that canon law forbids the priests "to assume public offices that involve ... the exercise of civil power."

The priests, including Foreign Minister Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann and Culture Minister Ernesto Cardenal Martinez (at whom the Pope shook his finger in reproach during his 1983 visit to Nicaragua), struck a compromise with their church superiors in 1981 by...

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