When John Paul II visited Nicaragua, in 1983, many reform-minded Catholics had a lot of expectations that he was bringing a message of peace. The nation was experiencing a lot of mayhem resulting from contra war. During that time, there was a political conflict between Catholic hierarchy and the Sandinista state. The government had executed murder on anyone who opposed its decisions. One of the victims of this inhumanity is Archbishop Romero. They expected that the pope would preach against the inhuman practices and mediate the peace process (Gibson, 2011). Therefore, the government, in conjunction with the church, organized ferrying masses to where the pope was expected to address them.
On the contrary, Pope John Paul II shocked the gathering with his indifferent attitude towards the situation. Instead of addressing the issue in favor of the victims, he bluntly condemned their rebellious attempts on the government. Instead of condemning the government's inhumanity, the pope turned against the complainants. He stated that the Catholics in Nicaragua should stop using the archbishop's murder case in their political issues. Furthermore, he stressed on the unity of the church. Surprisingly, the pope opposed the parents' act of taking their children to schools that offer atheistic programs.
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Moreover, many Catholic revolutionaries, farm workers union and women's association had their hopes shattered by the pope's remarks. This is because he did not comfort them for the loss of their loved ones. His visit was scheduled to occur shortly after the burial of the assassinated members of the Sandinista Youth Organization. Therefore, people expected the pope to give sympathetic speech (Griffin, 2011). Nevertheless, the pope never made such supportive remarks. His speech focused on the abandonment of wrong ideologies and commitment to faith. This, in turn, caused a lot of heartache on the multitudes who started demanding peace and power. However, the pope did not change his course of action.
Explicitly, the citizens feared that the battles would arise in the area. Since the pope did not push for peace, they expected the worsening of the situation. Evidently, his visit caused an increase in war cases in Nicaragua. A lot of violence took place in Matagalpa and San Dionisio. People lived in uncertainty as a result of the security instability (Gibson, 2011). The tension between the supporters of Sandinista and the Catholic supporters intensified. The contras used the controversy to give moral legitimacy in their organization.
Evidently, Pope John Paul II to Nicaragua heightened the tension between the Catholic hierarchy and Sandinista government. Although the people expected positive impact of his visit to the region, he shattered their hopes by failing to preach peace. Consequently, he visit had a negative impact on the region's efforts to regain peace.
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