After 35 years, the Vatican reversed the punishment again former priest and member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal. After hearing the news, Cardenal celebrated mass from his hospital bed.

Nicaraguan Poet and Liberation Theologist Ernesto Cardenal delivers a speech during the federal congress of the German left party in Rostock, Germany, on Sunday, May 16, 2010. | Photo: EFE

Nicaraguan priest and poet Ernesto Cardenal, has been “acquitted (by Pope Francis) of all the canonical censures imposed,” to him 35 years ago by John Paul II, in 1984, “because of his political militancy” in the FSLN and the Nicaraguan Sandinista Popular Revolution (RPS).

The Trappist priest and revolutionary poet is one of the founders of Latin American Liberation Theology, which aimed among other things to unite Marxist and socialist point of views with Catholicism. For their militancy in the RPS, and for their “option for the poor,” Pope John Paul II, suppressed the ministry of Ernesto Cardenal, his brother a Jesuit priest Fernando Cardenal and reverend Miguel d’Escoto who was then Nicaragua’s Foreign Affairs Minister.

These three religious men were part of the ministerial cabinet during the first government of Daniel Ortega, after the Triumph of the RPS in 1979. The three of them were a fundamental part of the opposition and resistance against the bloody U.S.-backed dictatorship of the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua.

The sanctions against these three men were part of an offensive against the Liberation Theology in Latin America, backed by the most conservatives sectors of the Catholic church and headed by John Paul II.

Ernesto Cardenal was admitted to the Vivian Pellas Hospital in Managua, due to a kidney infection, although his health is delicate, he is not under intensive care. This is the fifth time that the Nicaraguan poet has entered a sanatorium in the last 14 months.

The apostolic nuncio (Vatican’s ambassador) in Nicaragua, Stanislaw Waldemar Sommertag, stated that Pope Francis had taken the decision because “the religious man accepted the canonical penalty that was imposed on him and he has always followed it, without carrying out any pastoral activity.”

After the absolution, Cardenal celebrated a mass immediately, form his hospital bed, as seen in photos and videos spread through social media.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.