Nicaraguan Sandinista leader asks Church for forgiveness
During a meeting with Nicaraguan Cardinal Miguel Obando, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega has requested the Church's forgiveness for the "errors" committed by his government (1979-1990).
The meeting took place at the weekend, prior to the commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista Popular Revolution.
Ortega admitted antagonism towards the Catholic Church, which he said would not be repeated if the Sandinista Front of National Liberation (SFNL) returns to power following the 2006 elections.
The regime headed by Ortega expelled 18 priests, including one bishop. The most intense moment occurred during John Paul II's first visit to Managua in 1983, when Sandinista militants tried to boycott the Mass.
Monsignor Francisco Cesar Garcia Magan, in charge of affairs at the Apostolic Nunciature of Managua, told the EFE agency that the forgiveness Ortega has requested for his regime "has been communicated to the Holy See."
"It is a very positive thing, if an important political reality (in Nicaragua), such as the SFNL, carries out that exercise of purification and recognizes the errors when reviewing its history. This is a healthy exercise of purification of the memory," he said.
Garcia Magan said that sincerity should be presumed, and that he believes the organisation is not "using" the Church for its own political purposes.
He said that if the Church proclaims the forgiving mercy of God, it must give witness to that mercy in its actions.
"Sandanistas Confess...The People Who Loved Them Now Hate Bush" (ChronWatch)
Timeline: Nicaragua (A chronology of key events) - BBC
Página oficial del Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional
Conferencia Episcopal de Nicaragua
Catholic Church in Nicaragua (catholic-hierarchy.org)
25 Jul 2003