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This essay aims at understanding the stand taken by the Pope during the turbulent years in Nicaragua (Monteon, 2010). During this period, Catholic priests in the country sided with the people. This was because the sitting government only benefited the upper class in society. In return, the people revolted and got support from the priests. The government responded with systematic assassinations of radicals.
The Pope’s Visit to Nicaragua
The Pope’s visit, in March 1983, at Nicaragua, was meant to side with the families that had lost their loved ones. The Catholics, in support of change, wished the Pope would empathize with mother’s whose sons and daughters had been murdered by government forces. Instead, the Pope warned the congregation that they should not rise against their governments, although, he understood their deplorable conditions of living (Betances, 2007).
In addition, Sandinista leaders, heading the people power, had high expectations that the Pope would at least show a hint of support for the revolution; however, this was never the case. This revolution was in support of Catholics for change. Most of them had lost their families in the frequent assassinations by government operatives.
The Pope maintained he appreciated the squalid lifestyle of Nicaraguan low-class citizens but cautioned against rebelling against their government. This was a clear point to the Nicaraguan priests the Pope did not support any people revolt. In addition, the Pope made it clear to the priests not to side with the radicals (Murphy and Caro, 2006).
This was apparent when he did not display compassion with families who had lost their loved ones murdered by government agents. The Nicaraguan priests also yearned for Pope to show solidarity with the country by calling for calm. The Pope did not give a hint making it obvious to the priests about the stand of the Vatican head. Finally, the Pope refused to call upon the church to support the peasants.
Disappointment of Nicaragua Catholics
Nicaraguan Catholics felt displeasure with the Pope’s political stand because of many reasons. First, the government was continually assassinating activists agitating for rights of the poor. This was leading to unwarranted killings of the populace. Second, the Pope’s refusal to call for peace between the people and government showed them the Vatican head sided with the government.
Third, by warning citizens against staging an uprising against their government, it proved the Pope did not support the cries of the people. The cries were for better living conditions and equitable distribution of wealth to all citizens. Finally, by not making a comment of empathy to mothers of the activists who had died in government’s hands, he showed the congregation he did not appreciate the radicals (Betances, 2007).
Fears of Nicaragua’s Catholics
The fears of Nicaraguan Catholics after Pope’s visit included the following aspects explicated below. First, the government would not relent in its continued retaliation against revolutionaries. This was because of the refusal by the Pope to recognize the efforts of the activists. Second, the Catholics harbored fears of renewed fighting between government and the people (Monteon, 2010).
The Pope had not intervened in the call for equitable wealth distribution to all citizens. This was the reason for dissatisfaction between these warring lots. Third, by the Pope cautioning the people against any insurrection, they felt that was a free hand for government to murder more activists. Generally, they feared things would remain as they were due to anti-communist stand that had influenced the Pope from Europe.
In summary, the Pope’s visit to Nicaragua at least yielded nothing. First, the Pope warned the people against revolting against their government though appreciating their squalid lives (Murphy and Caro, 2006). Second, the Pope refused to call for calm between government and people raising more tensions. Third, Nicaraguan Catholics expected him to empathize with the families who had lost their loved ones in the continued violence.
Betances, E. (2007).The Catholic Church and power politics in Latin America: the Dominican case in comparative perspective. London, LDN: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Monteon, M. (2010). Latin America and the origins of its twenty-first century. California, CA: ABC-CLIO Publishers.
Murphy, J. & Caro, M. (2006). Uriel Molina and the Sandinista popular movement in Nicaragua. North Carolina, NC: McFarland Publishers.