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Priest who defied Vatican to promote Literacy in Nicaragua dies at 82-years of age

In the 1980s Father Fernando Cardenal was among the Nicaraguan Catholic priests that were sanctioned by the Vatican for their involvements with the Daniel Ortega’s administration. Father Cardenal was the minister of education and refused to drop the post when the Vatican demand he should, that lead to his suspension.

He died at the age of 82-years-old.

Just as much as a general view will suggest that Father Cardenal was stubborn, but he had a great drive of making education qualitative enough in Nicaragua.

Cardenal said he would be “committing a grave sin” to leave his position in the Sandinista government.

“I cannot conceive of a God that would ask me to abandon my commitment to the people,” he explained in an open letter in 1984, after being expelled from the Jesuit order.

Cardenal was eventually readmitted to the order in 1996.

And led a very successful campaign against illiteracy in Nicaragua.

In 1979, Father Cardenal joined again the government after Somoza was overthrown. He then served as the minister of education between 1984 and 1990. And during that period led a successful campaign that within a few years had reduced illiteracy rates to 13% of the adult population in Nicaragua.

His brother Ernesto is a renowned poet who served as culture minister in the Sandinista cabinet.

Ernesto, 91, was famously reprehended in public by Pope John Paul during a visit to Nicaragua in the 1980s.

May his soul and souls of the faithful departed, rest in perfect peace…Amen.



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