Category Archives: Religion

Nicaragua’s Fr. Fernando Cardenal passes away

From the Ignatian Solidarity Network
Fr. Fernando Cardenal, S.J., died earlier today, February 20, 2016 at the age of 82. Cardenal had entered a Managua hospital intensive care unit on February 9th.
Fr. Cardenal, born in 1934 in Granada, Nicaragua, led of life of advocacy and active commitment to the poor that emulated the Jesuit approach to injustice throughout the Americas since the Second Vatican Council. His lifelong commitment to the poor and the oppressed began as a young Jesuit living among the poor in Medellín, Colombia, and has lasted throughout his Jesuit life. Despite repeated requests from Rome that he refrain for political activity and advocacy, he remained engaged in the Nicaraguan revolution against the Somoza dictatorship during the 1970’s and 1980’s. In the years following the revolution, Fr. Cardenal lead the Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign and served as the country’s Minister of Education (1984-1990).
As a consequence of his commitment to live in solidarity with the poor and his refusal to abandon his work, Fr. Cardenal was dismissed from the Jesuits in 1984 only to be reinstated 1997. During this time he continued to live in a Jesuit community but was not a member of the Society of Jesus. Cardenal went on to serve as the director of the Fe y Alegria schools network in Nicaragua, a Jesuit network of schools for the most economically poor throughout Latin America, as well as regular speaking to groups in Nicaragua as well as internationally.

Guatemalan Bishops Call for President to Resign

Ricardo Arjona asks the President to resign
Among those to join the chorus asking for President Otto Perez Molina to resign are Guatemala's Catholic bishops. David Agren has the story for the Catholic News Service.
"Unfortunately it is evident and regrettable that large sectors of the population no longer have confidence in the president," the bishops said in an Aug. 27 statement signed by the conference president, Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela Nunez of Vera Paz, and secretary-general, Bishop Domingo Buezo Leiva of Izabal.
"The cases of corruption involve various collaborators; the accusations against him, the resignation of members of his Cabinet have made him lose leadership and [lose] solid backing that guarantees he can continue with his mission of governing," the letter continued. "For the love of the truth and our responsibility to promote peace, we think the president should reflect in his conscience on his decision not to resign."
Andrew Chesnut and I contributed some quotes and context to the article.

President Perez has so far survived the call to resign. At this point, his fate is in the hands of Congress. They can vote to impeach him. They'll then be an investigation and most likely a move to take a vote on his removal from office. However, the commission that has been set up to investigate the President during this first phase seems not to be in a rush - four out of the five members are from Lider and the PP. General elections are called for next weekend which also make things challenging.

Finally, Ricardo Arjona has joined those Guatemalans in asking the President to resign.

Pope Francis follows St. Ignatius’ command

Greg points out that a great deal of the media coverage of Pope Francis' message and his visit to South America evoke fire. I noted on Twitter that it sort of made sense. Roughly 500 years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola told his Jesuits to "Go forth and set the world on fire." St. Ignatius founded the Jesuit order of Catholic priests, of which Pope Francis is now the most high profile. We even joke about having an Arson Studies major.

Pope Francis' words and actions shouldn't be that surprising. As a Jesuit, he is supposed to work on the margins of the world and to meet people where they are at in their faith. Jesuits are known to shake things up which sometimes gets them in trouble with the Catholic hierarchy and conservative Catholics. Here is something that I linked to from Fr. Martin (perhaps the second most famous living Jesuit) shortly after Bergolio's selection as pope.
the Jesuits were sometimes viewed with suspicion in a few quarters of the Vatican. There are a number of reasons for that, some of them complex. The first is, as I mentioned, our “differentness.” Second, our work with the poor and people on the margins sometimes struck some as too experimental, radical and even dangerous. “When you work on the margins,” an old Jesuit said, “you sometimes step out of bounds.”
One of the other things that strike me from the New York Times piece that Greg links to is Francis' admission that he doesn't have the answers with regards to a new economic system for the critique of capitalism he is making. In Jesuit educational circle, we take pride in helping our students to think critically about the world around them and to learn to ask the right questions. We usually don't have the answers to the world's problems but through sharp questions and discernment, we hope that those we interact with and those who come after us will leave the world a better place than the one we inherited.

That sure seems to be what Pope Francis hopes to accomplish during the few years he is likely to occupy the Papacy.

Step towards martyrdom for US priest murdered in Guatemala

More good news out of the Vatican.
There has never been a canonized martyr from the United States, but a vote at the Vatican this week may lead to an Oklahoma priest becoming the first.
A special Theological Commission at the Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Rome voted Tuesday to formally recognize Father Stanley Rother a martyr. The determination of martyrdom is a critical step in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City’s Cause to have Father Rother beatified.
Like Oscar Romero, the commission determined that Father Rother had been killed in hatred of the faith (in odium fidei). You can read more and watch a video about Father Rother in my post from April 2012.
In odium fidei opens martyrdom to a number of religious including Rother and the Churchwomen.

Postulator of Oscar Romero’s beatification cause under investigation for embezzlement

The postulator of Archbishop Oscar Romero's beatification and canonization cause, Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, is now under investigation by Italian officials for embezzlement.
In 2011, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia reportedly bought a 14th century castle with the intention of reselling it for a profit, according to, which adds that diocesan funds may have been used.
Paglia, who heads the Pontifical Council for the Family, said in a statement he remains "at the disposition of the investigating authorities and I have full confidence in the justice system."
Investigators are looking into the sale of the castle and allegations of possible conspiracy and fraud.
There doesn't appear to be any impropriety connected with Romero's cause but Salvadorans can't catch a break. Fortunately (?), the news didn't break prior to last weekend's ceremony in San Salvador.

Tim and John have posted posted some thoughts on Romero's beatification in recent days while Super Martyrio has the Romero Beatification Compendium available on his website. Michael Busch also shares some thoughts with Remembering Romero.