Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Now that both the electoral campaign and the February 25 elections themselves are over, the bishops of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference invoke the help of God through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and address the faithful and all persons of good will with the following reflections:
- We recognize that the electoral process and the elections themselves have in general been carried out in an honest fashion; the results therefore should be accepted by all as the free expression of the people.
- We express our satisfaction for the political maturity shown by the Nicaraguan people and for the lesson in civic responsibility they have given by voting and thus manifesting their desire to seek solutions to their problems through civic means.
- We congratulate the leaders of the present government for their efforts to conduct orderly elections and for their democratic spirit in accepting the results. We also congratulate the leaders of the new government in the hope that mutual respect between the church and the state may contribute to the welfare of the Nicaraguan people. It is appropriate to remind those who have been elected
that "they are called to serve and not to be served," and those who have been defeated that "they should assume the role of legitimate opposition responsibly and without resentment." (Guidance of the Episcopal Conference for the Elections of February 25, issued February 15, 1990)
- It is urgently necessary to put an end to the activities of war. For this, we urge both the present and the incoming government as well as the armed resistance to find the means by which the members of that resistance can be reintegrated into civilian life.
The present government should turn over all of its offices to the new democratically elected government, which ought to be accomplished in the sincere desire to build the lasting peace in Nicaragua and to allow for the no longer postponeable development of the country.
- We reprove the acts of violence perpetrated by some who disagree with the election results. We appeal to these persons for commonsense and for placing the welfare of Nicaragua above all ideology and partisanship. It is time now to promote cooperation and mutual respect among the Nicaraguan people, not to foment hatred.
- Since this time of transition is so important and given the remaining problems facing the peaceful transfer of power so as to assure true national reconciliation, we call on all the faithful to maintain an attitude of prayer, good works and penance. May this Lenten time during which we are getting ready for Easter help and strengthen us to that end.