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At the conclusion of the lackluster oration, a BBC reporter stated, that the Pope gave,”…the most unusual mass of his career.”(qtd in Hoyt,1983) Why were so many Catholics so disappointed? What were the reasons for the Pope’s behaviors? What were the consequences in Nicaragua after the papal visit? These are all issues that will be discussed in the course of this essay.
Nicaragua in the late 1970s and 1980s was a land of revolution. Many citizens felt that their existing leader, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, was a tyrant. They saw the immense poverty, the hunger, the poor living conditions, the lack of employment available was directly related to the exploitation and oppression by their government; that this is the reason the poor suffered without relief. The plight of the poor Christians brought them to the rebel militias formed by the Sandinistas, who opposed Somoza, encouraged rebellion, and promoted the teaching of “liberation theology.”(Dillon,1999) This, sometimes, controversial interpretation of Christianity, relies heavily on the need to care for the poor and heavily rebukes traditional capitalist economic systems. These differing spiritual interpretations and differing political perspectives left Nicaragua, as a whole, at odds. Many, likely, thought that the Pope’s visit would aid in resolution and more potential peaceful outcomes.
Just one day before the Pope’s arrival in the country 17 members of a Sandinistas Youth Group riding a bus were ambushed and killed. Many people cried out for him to say something in regards to the young lives lost, but he did not. Generally speaking whenever a foreign head of state visits another country, where youths have been tragically killed, regardless of the reasons,”…he is expected to say SOME sympathetic remarks.”(Hoyt,1983) Not only did he refrain from such condolences, he, in fact, had scolded members of the clergy for participating in the
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According to Hoyt (1983), when people gathered at Nicaragua to listen to the pope’s speech and thereafter for the mass that would be conducted by the pope, they had hoped that the pope would utter some words of consolation for the bereaved families who had lost their loved one during the recent killings of counter-revolution.
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