Sandinista priest Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, a close advisor to President Daniel Ortega, said his first Mass in 29 years this week after Pope Francis reinstated his priestly ministry.
D’Escoto, a Maryknoll priest, was suspended from his priestly duties by Pope John Paul II in 1985 for refusing to renounce his position in the revolutionary Sandinista government. Three decades later, the Sandinista priest wrote a letter to the Vatican asking permission to celebrate Mass again “before dying,” according to the National Catholic Reporter.
D’Escoto, 81, is suffering from failing health. The Nicaragua Dispatch tried to contact D’Escoto this week by phone, but was told by his live-in assistant that he can no longer use the phone due to deafness.
Despite his age, D’Escoto, who continues to hold the honorary title of Foreign Minister, remains an ideological firebrand who doesn’t miss a chance to rail against the U.S. government and Israel. In 2007, D’Escoto was — oddly enough — asked by the government of Muammar Gaddafi to be the Libyan Representative to the UN. A year later, he became the President of the United Nations General Assembly.
Similar to Trappist poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal, who was suspended from the Church at the same time and for the same reasons, at no time in his life did D’Escoto ever cease his political activism. Yet unlike Cardenal, who has shown no interest in being reinstated by the Vatican, D’Escoto asked for a second chance.
According to a press release from the New York-based Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, “The Holy Father has given his benevolent assent that Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann be absolved from the canonical censure inflicted upon him, and entrusts him to the superior general of the institute [Maryknoll] for the purpose of accompanying him in the process of reintegration into the ministerial priesthood.”