The Catholic Church in Nicaragua, Political power or spiritual leadership?

With the scandals, allegations and accusations surrounding the pope, one has to wonder if the Catholic Church will be able to emerge from one of its darkest periods with an semblance of her old self.

Is the current Pontiff too preoccupied with covering up the sexual wrongdoings of his priests, bishops, monsignors and cardinals to pay attention to his real job of being a spiritual figurehead and Shepard to his flock?

Just in case someone is not aware of what is going on in Rome, Ireland and around the rest of the world here is a link to just a few of the many articles.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100326/ap_on_re_eu/eu_vatican_pope_s_crisis

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124649891

http://www.euronews.net/2010/03/25/questions-of-pope-in-catholic-sex-abu...

Why would this last German edition of the head of the Catholic Church keep tolerating political involvement by some of his designates? Last I heard, ordained members of the Catholic Church, are not supposed to become involved, much less try to influence local or National Politics.

Bishops, priests and cardinals seem to be doing just that, and they are doing so with apparent impunity in Central America.

What puzzles me, there seems to be no reprimand forthcoming from the Vatican. Are they acting with the blessings of Il Papa?

So once again the Catholic Church seems to be playing political power brokers. To what end?

Could it be the prize is a "Get out of jail free Card" for some priests?

One thing is becoming increasingly clear, this pope is not likely to be decorated with a star such as another well known German product.

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Religion

Religion has killed more people than Cancer. They still waking up the sinners in SJDS with the 4am parades and fireworks.

Gifts from the church

These are some of the gifts we've got from the church: Slavery, Inquisition, Ignorance and Superstition.

Let's add intolerance

While there are clearly a lot of wars that are a result of intolerance (my religion is better than your religion) I am thinking on the more personal level. That is, when one "church business" has to try to out-market the competition. I much prefer comparison shopping to being marketed to. that shopping includes products, governments and relition.

Church

Comparison shopping... Why trade the philosophy and poetry of Taoism for the scripture and dogma of Christianism?

It was not until mid XVI century that the pope declared that the indigenous people of Latin America were "humans" with the capability of reasoning.

Al

war...

Is not one religion better that other...is just us , human been human...

This example of comment is what sometimes...spark the flames of war...

Unfortunately for a lot of people religion is more than a set of conduct precepts.

Preacher Man must be smiing today

Smiling at the scolding he recently got from nicareal regarding the discussion of religion on NL.....

He was told;

"It is not your decision if this site discusses religious subjects or not. (It does not!)"

It does not?

Actually Preacher Man, as you can see, It does. (It's still not your decision though, but it does if some decide it does).

If you took the time to read the posts

instead of throwing barbs, you would realize this discussion is about the churches involvement in politics and current events not preaching religion. No one on this thread is trying to convert anyone.

But you go right ahead, keep throwing... I hope it makes you feel better.

Other than use his correct NL handle.......

I confined my comment to the phrase 'religious discussion', I didn't mention 'preach', you did.

Sorry you took it as a barb, just simply stating a fact.

It was your post, I am sure you knew what you were doing when you posted it.

You are linking the current issue with the Catholic Church to Nicaragua. That is your right, if you see a direct connection.

To engage in a discussion with you on this is fruitless.

If a Doctor commits an act of indecency with a patient, do we all stop going to the Doctors? If a Politician lies, do we all stop voting?

Case by case, individual by individual and from time to time people can and do display the vagaries of human nature.

agree

its what it is.....

My grandmother always repeat to us this:

In all families; is a priest, a politician, a merchant, a lawyer, a liar, a thief, a whore and a guy.......

I don't know what really she mean....but i think i understood what she was saying...

capicci...?

That's reason enough to have a large family

You gotta try and get one of each!!

well

Facing my own demons, i think is enough...

Juanno, no one told you to stop going to church

I suggested that the Pope is busy putting out fires related to the latest problems plaguing the church.

Thereby he may be losing focus of some of the other problems that would normally get his attention. My question was why the clergy is acting as power brokers Nicaragua.

As nicanor explained in his pragmatic answer, he is content with have the one of two lesser evils. I really can't see it that way since 2 wrongs don't make one right. However I respect his views and opinions, that have were forged by his experiences.

I would think we would have the same discussion if the Dali Lama were involved in similar problems as the pope, and his monks were involved in shaping Nicaraguan politics.

I really can't see anywhere in my original post the word religion being mentioned even once. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The discussion was focused on the structure and politics and current problems of the church. And yes, no one can deny they are having problems of their own doing.

I believe if we permit or condone the church to regain political power, we are repeating mistakes made in the past.

i agree in ..

I agree in some part of your post...but is clear that is a attack in one of many actors related to religion...

Powers brokers ??

Yes, but is many of them . evangelist, Pentecostals,The last word of the first day, The last ones of the end...etc....and been honest some times they play a merely servant role, not a influential or decisive.

And only were discussing about Nicaragua...because if i address the discussion following the international side of your post...instead to call to the stage the Dalai Dama...i can call Mr Ayatollah ....but i think ...that is a field , must people don't likes set a food in....less to be a critic.

Power brokers!

The Catholic church certainly delivered votes to the FSLN during recent elections and unless there is a shift in policy will likely continue to do so.

I really don't know enough about the activities of other religious groups and churches in Nicaragua. I just used the Dalai Lama because he is also high profile and certainly involved in politics in his home country. Remember, I did qualify he would be equally discussed were his monks involved in politics in Nicaragua.

Nicanaor you bring up an interesting point by mentioning the other religious groups. Do you know if their involvement on a pastoral level is equal to that of the Catholic church? If so, do they deliver as many votes? Possibly to other parties?

Since i have no religious affiliation, I am curious to find out if they all dabble in politics.

yes

For a bit of humour - Just change two words.

And it becomes clear that the church and the government are entwined.

I took some of your quotes from a previous post and just for fun changed the Pope into the President and the Church to the Government, nothing else, just those two words.

Like this:

"I suggested that the President is busy putting out fires related to the latest problems plaguing the government."

"I would think we would have the same discussion if the Dali Lama were involved in similar problems as the President, and his monks were involved in shaping Nicaraguan politics."

"The discussion was focused on the structure and politics and current problems of the government. And yes, no one can deny they are having problems of their own doing."

"I believe if we permit or condone the government to regain political power, we are repeating mistakes made in the past."

As I say, it was a bit of fun but many a true word is spoken in jest. Remarkably accurate quotes I would say!

I liked the last one the best!!!

Diffence is

The governments business is politics. The churches is supposed to be saving souls. (Well some of them anyways. Anyone tries to save mine does so at their own peril :-).)

I did like your play on words. (You have way too much time on your hands bro. jajajajajaj)

"Supposed"?

"The governments business is politics. The churches is supposed to be saving souls." But, herein lies the problem. This statement, at least the second half, isn't true. It isn't true in the sense that this does not describe nor reflect the mission of the church - and it basically never has described the mission of the church (as with all groups who seek converts on some level, it is not terribly difficult to determine what converters believe - hence their mission) for most all denominations. If you start with a falsity, it should not come as a surprise that the conclusions are also incorrect.

Old Habits die hard

"The governments business is politics. The churches is supposed to be saving souls." You're right on the first part but on the second you leave an opening for argument by using the word 'supposed'. I believe that government and church work together or against each other as they see fit. They both move or influence peoples actions. The government tells the people how to live and enforces it by passing laws. You obey the laws everything is fine. Disobey the laws or go against the will of the government and there will be hell to pay. The church also tells people how to live . There are laws or rules to follow. You follow the rules and there are rewards awaiting for you. Don't follow the rules and well there will be hell to pay . Some very smart or cunning men long ago discovered that most people want to be told how to live their lives and ever since a few have dominated the many. It's a thing of beauty when this two forces are working together. "Give Caesar what's Caesar's and God what's God's". So through the centuries we've been conditioned to believe that we need leaders , secular and clerical , to show us the way. Be part of the herd. "Y como ovejas conducidas al matadero". The history of man is full of episodes were the church does the government's bidding and vise verse and the people does as is told. It is still going on , now more than ever . There's a semi joke told among evangelists : Save the soul for God , leave the body for me. Governments and Churches are in the business of ruling people. " Search for the truth and the truth will set you free" . Powerful words but see what the leaders , secular and clerical, did to him and the people did as they were told. Same as it ever was.

POWer ??

Since when the Churches or religion hasn't been a power?

This debate star when the church members star to be a pebble into the shoes of the traditional groups of powers.

Is undeniable that some priest or member of the churches or religions, star to be more deeper involved in politics , when is a struggle in their communities, Nicaragua case by example.

We have a Cardinal that since the 80's his work has been more in politics related than spiritual leader, first like a strong opponent to the Sandinista rule, and since the 90's like a strong ally of his former enemies.

In the other side we can see some Bishop that actually are working very close with members of the Nicaraguans parties in a supposed role of mediators , and others keeping a criticism toward the governments politics.

The responsibilities of the church to be a guidance for the people, some time is a tiny line between what it is a spiritual and what it is a earthly businesses.

And been fair, what they are?....

a Angels that can't be involved in earthly matters in the mean time the "man" don't expedite the orders ?

I'm not a radical or orthodox , less a regular attendant to mass, i born in a catholic family, i share must of the values that we learn from this religion, i have a strong difference with the ways the Church conducts their businesses....

But also I'm clear that outside is a huge struggle between the catholic church and their detractors.

The other funny history of this war is that catholic church only represent a sixth of the world population , no matter is the better organized, but outside are other ones that maybe are out of the focus attention..

because... are so radical that criticizing them is a automatic death penalty...

others because aren't too important

and others because we belong to them...

and the not believers?

Well they are a minority that we must respect their beliefs, no matter that they commit the same sins ...

Nicaragua?

Is Nicaragua really the focus, or even tied to, an explosion of Irish/German sex-abuse allegations? Historically, the Latin countries with a record of connected abuse are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, & Spain -and none are in Central America. The sex allegations appear to be some sort of unconnected segue into local political concerns - all of which are unnamed. As for this claim: "Last I heard, ordained members of the Catholic Church, are not supposed to become involved, much less try to influence local or National Politics", it simply is not true. While clergy are forbidden from holding public office, they are certainly not forbidden from the political realm. In fact, one of their duties is to acknowledge and promote the full mission of the laity in their community, and the world as a whole. Since politics is defined as the domain of the laity, they are but one level removed. In select circumstances, and with hierarchy approval, priests and bishops can be active in political parties, represent religious and non-religious organizations in court, promote the common good, etc., etc., etc. This is not the norm in most countries and is usually only found where laity cannot do this themselves, usually do to education levels, language abilities, or other expertise. The norm, however, includes all nearly all moral matters - which is why the church is represented in political-legal debates on such issues as: marriage, divorce, adoption, conscription, war, death penalty, peace, justice, pornography, abortion, euthanasia, religious freedoms, press freedoms, property rights, the distribution of earthly goods, etc., etc., etc. It is considered the duty of the Church and its delegates to pass moral judgments in political matters whenever the fundamental rights of people (or, more likely, the salvation of their souls), requires it. Doing so is not defined as interfering with politics, not historically anyway, and far from being forbidden it is usually considered required. In theory, petty politics is considered beneath the Church - though that is not to say it doesn't happen, but the most important political debates are often moral ones as well, as the Church is usually represented, officially or unofficially.

Are you claiming

sexual abuse by the clergy did or does not happen in Nicaragua?

" It is considered the duty of the Church and its delegates to pass moral judgments in political matters whenever the fundamental rights of people (or, more likely, the salvation of their souls), requires it."

There you expose the problem! The Catholic church feels it can or is supposed to pass judgment on others while placing itself above the law.

I for one rather have elected officials doing the job of politicking, instead of the church.

And of course the sex scandals affect the clergy in Nicaragua. It affects the pontiff, so it affects the flock.

Judgments

I, obviously, made no claim whatsover on alleged sexual abuse by the clergy in Nicaragua. Then again, neither did you (there aren't any Nicaragua specifics or facts anywhere in your original post - which is part of the problem). I merely pointed out that while there are instances of connected abuse in the Latin world, none of these investigations are linked to Central America, and it follows from this that none of these types of cases or investigations are linked to Nicaragua. While I am no defender of the Church, I do at least know how it "works" in theory (theology) and practice (public policy); your post proves you cannot say the same as your initial assumption and blog post is obviously false (as a factual matter) and your follow-up post on exposing the problem is anything but that: if you cannot distinguish between passing judgments on theories and laws, and passing judgements on people, you will never understand religion anyway - certainly not Christianity. Passing judgment on a law does not entail the those making that judgment are "above the law". If someone or some group crafts a moral argument demonstrating that conscription is immoral, that is a judgment on the law - but it doens't render the person or group making it "above the law"; the two conclusions aren't even connected in any way. It is not really accurate to claim the Church maintains they are above the law, as they do not maintain this on any level not also maintained by every other religion and, more importantly, this claim -even if it were true- is not the basis of the Church's current problems.

Here is a connection

Connection

That there may be cases (actually, allegations are what best describes instances when the accused is deceased and there is no other evidence beyond claimant statements) is a separate matter from "connected abuse". By "connected" is meant several things that might not be obvious, and involve more than just an incident of abuse or alleged abuse. Another level of investigation insues when abuse is connected, and this is usually due to one of two things: one, a pattern of abuse by more than one person in a facility or institution; two, an individual allegedly abusing people in more than one location, after being relocated by superiors who knew, suspected, or should have suspected past problems. A larger issue, evidenced by the full article you cite with the professor, is why the mainstream media (especially in North America and Europe) focuses on Catholic clergy misdeads when almost every study ever done on other religious denominations and, better yet, psychologists, teachers, coaches, camp counselors, etc., reveals high and often comparable "perpetrator" numbers in terms of percentages of people unworthy of the position they hold. Perhaps something else is driving investigative journalism when Catholic clergy abuse numbers are comparable to those of many other career paths where people are entrusted with the lives of others, especially children and young adults, yet the vast majority of articles are on Catholic priests (and it doesn't help any analysis when accurate depictions of what happens almost never occur since they are usually considered politically incorrect). Especially troubling are the numbers for psychologists, where depending on the study used, 3-10% have had sexual contact with clients. This directly relates to the problem of the Catholic Church because over the years so many of the problematic priests were referred to therapy (not professional censure) based on advice and theories from secular psychologists, part of the normal review process for clergy from entrance to seminary to higher posts, etc. Worth noting is that studies of psychologists reveal that as many as 1/3 of them do not consider sexual contact with a patient to be adequates grounds for censure or license revocation. Abuse by religious leaders is definitely not unique to Catholicism, and non-religious organizations often have comparable numbers - and some of these secular organizations themselves guide or evaluate the problems of the Church.

surprise !!!

Is only three (3) cases here.

One for a relevant church member , two that involved a priest , and other .

This is the first.

"On May 28, the Managua Appeals Court, dominated by judges loyal to the FSLN, ratified the irregular sentence handed down in December 2001 by Judge Juana Méndez on the sexual abuse case filed by Zoilamérica Narváez in 1998 against her stepfather Daniel Ortega. "

And this is the priest involvement..

"Against the backdrop of the worldwide crisis in the Catholic Church following the revelation of numerous cases of sexual abuse of boys and girls by priests that their superiors then covered up, El Nuevo Diario published groundbreaking articles in May on two such cases in Nicaragua. The victims endorsed both. One, which took place in the fifties, involved a now-deceased priest in Managua and was related by a 60-year-old man who had been one of his victims. The other, more recent case involved a German priest who has worked in Nicaragua with street children for some years and was related to the newspaper by a man in his twenties who described the abuse he had suffered"

This is the other one.

"Also in May, shocked Nicaraguans indignantly followed the trial of Tulio Rafael Aguilar, a well known university professor in León denounced by an organized group of women for having abused dozens of children from very poor families"

So as you can see by yourself, the connection exist.. but for my own surprise, is very low the incidence, even is shadow by the crime of the first figure of the republic.

in Nicaragua

To be honest i really don't know, i know very well about the behavior o many priest that has no difference with you or me, they have a woman, they had raised kids, they drink, they gambling, they are in politics...

But about the allegation or the crimes , priests had committed in other part of the world, i really don't know.

Whatever i could said establishing a conduct that fit in those accusation... will be a merely speculation .

Maybe the not chance to obtain a monetary compensation, is playing a role in this situation, or maybe our culture, were we like it to protect our privacy.

I exposed the problem of the church ?

Not my friend that problem is worse , when is related to people that hasn't been elected for the people and use it their post to corrupt and steal the nation. They really are not only above the law.....

In the case of Nicaraguan, i strongly support to those men (church) than the crooks we have in office.

I don't see any problem that this people can be involved in politics, because in the history of our struggle against tyrans....the church men has been in our side....

since Bartolomé de las Casas, passing trough many guerrilla priest, like Gaspar Garcia Laviana or Ernesto Cardenal , or priest that in some time hold a official post, like Miguel D'Escoto Brockmam...that still been a member of the party goverment..or the same Cardinal that hold other post.

The truth is that the people that point out the wrong behavior of some members of the catholic church, is from two perspectives:

one is like a simple detractors and other one is like people that see in those catholic men...the divine intervention in earth....

They are just man...that take the choice to believe in something and spread their beliefs,,,nothing else...they are humans with the same sins than a evangelist, a sciencetologists, muslim, agnostic,libertarian, liberal or sandinista....

We have here a accusation against a man that is not a priest, but is a leader (caudillo) maybe with more followers that many of that priest...but the difference is... that him has more power... and the same sin that catch so many attention when is related to this men...in this case; the victim was at some point...the recipient of the accusations....

WE are simples mortals judging people that in the end no matter you don't believe in their precepts...we treat them like a humans above of us...and sure are those that treat them just like enemies and why not??

Those that are looking for a simple monetary compensation.