Catholic News Agency reports:
Pope Francis has revoked the ‘suspension a divinis’ of Fr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, who was in 1984 barred from exercising his priestly ministry because he had taken political office.
The gesture of generosity was made after Fr. d’Escoto, 81, had sent a letter expressing his desire to “celebrate the Holy Eucharist again before dying.”
The priest had been suspended for holding office in Nicaragua’s Sandinista government as foreign minister, a post he held until 1990. In 2007, he returned to work for the government and between 2008 and 2009 was president of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Vatican Radio recalled that in 1984 the priest accepted the sentence imposed by St. John Paul II, even though he remained a member of the Maryknoll Congregation, “without being able to participate in any pastoral activity. For some years now the priest has abandoned his political endeavors.”
Canon law bars priests from holding political office.
D’Escoto was born in Los Angeles in 1933. He was ordained a priest in the Maryknoll order and became an official in the World Council of Churches. He was an adherent of Liberation theology when he joined the Sandinistas (FSLN.) D’Escoto served as foreign minister in Daniel Ortega’s government from 1979-1990. He was suspended as priest, along with two others who served the Sandinistas, during the eighties. He was admonished for his political activity during a papal visit to Nicaragua by Pope John Paul II.
D’Escoto was elected in 2010 to the Council Advisory Committee to the UN Human Rights Council. In 2008, he was elected to serve as President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) for the 63rd Session. In 2011, he was nominated to be the Libyan Ambassador to the UN.
In 1986, D’Escoto gave a speech on television critical of Bishop Obando y Bravo for not siding with the Sandinistas. In 2004, he referred to Ronald Reagan as “the butcher of my people.” Two of his senior advisors when he was President of the UN General Assembly were Noam Chomsky and Ramsey Clark. While President, he said:
Because of Reagan and his spiritual heir George W. Bush, the world today is far less safe and secure than it has ever been.
After those comments and several others, Richard Grenell (who was spokesman at the time for the U.S. permanent mission to the UN) said:
The president of the General Assembly is supposed to be a uniter. We have made it clear that these crazy comments are not acceptable, and we hope he refrains from this talk and gets to work on General Assembly business.
Another U.S. spokesman at the UN referred to D’Escoto’s “increasingly bizarre statements.”
An Israeli ambassador to the UN called D’Escoto an “Israel-hater” after he hugged Iranian President Mahmound Ahmadinejad following that leader’s anti-Israel and anti-Zionist speech to the UNGA in 2008.
I suspect the sole reason for Pope Francis revoking the suspension is out of compassion and mercy for a dying man.
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.