Managua, 1983: Pope John Paul II scolds Fr. Ernesto Cardenal upon the former’s arrival for a papal visit in Nicaragua. Cardenal was an early collaborator with the FSLN and, after the Sandinista victory in 1979, Minister of Culture for the government led by the Junta of National Reconstruction. He was one of a handful of priests with governmental positions, along with his brother, Fr. Fernando Cardenal S.J. who worked in the Ministry of Education and directed the successful literacy campaign of 1980.
John Paul II, far less tolerant of the radical trends that had developed within the Catholic Church after Vatican II than his predecessor, frowned upon the church’s ‘politicization’ and condemned liberation theology, forbidding the involvement of priests in the Sandinista government in the process. Ernesto Cardenal and others ignored this order.