October 5, 1982
Archbishop John Roach
National Conference of Catholics Bishops
In response to your recent declaration of September in which you express your concern over the increasing threats to the peace, freedom and well-being of the Nicaraguan people, the Junta of the National Government of Reconstruction of Nicaragua, after ca1m and careful analysis of the document, desires to offer some reflections which we ask through your worthy intercession be brought to the attention of the honorable members of the Conference.
The Government of National Reconstruction reiterates its firm commitment that all Nicaraguans be able freely to exercise their rights to freedom of worship and religion.
Still more, it acknowledges, as has been expressed repeatedly, the active role which the Nicaraguan Church, the basic Christian communities, played during the pre-insurrection period as well as the important complementary role presently being expressed in this difficult and complex time of our revolutionary process, as you quite correctly recognize.
Far from persecuting or attaching the Church, as the document might seem to imply, the Government has worked very closely with the church in building a new --more just and human --social, economic and political order for Nicaragua.
The conscientious and active participation of various priests and of many religious Christians in different levels within the structures of the state clearly confirms the profound respect and importance that the Government of National Reconstruction attributes to the Church.
Similarly, the Government recognizes the distinguished role which the North American Church has been playing within the United States concerning the present regional conflict in Central America, especially in its valiant denunciation of the atrocities and massive violations of human rights which are daily committed against the civilian populations of neighboring countries and which move the conscience of the world.
We completely and sincerely do acknowledge the mistakes that have in some cases been committed but which nevertheless do not constitute a general norm of procedure on the part of our Government. What is of great concern is the way such incidents have been taken advantage of in a distorted manner in order to defame and calumniate the Popular Sandinist Revolution as part of the destabilization campaign conducted by the present United States administration.
These efforts by the American Government have concentrated in creating an image of church-state conflict in Nicaragua, manipulating the profound religious sentiment of our people, a tactic foreseen in the Santa Fe document written by advisors to President Reagan after the election campaign.
The Government recognizes that there have been moments of tension with some members of the Hierarchy despite the repeated efforts on our part for dialogues aimed at clarifying those aspects of apparent difference; this fact has not hindered the positive contributions of the Church to the Revolutionary Process.
Notwithstanding what has gone before, the Government of National Reconstruction remains open to and prepared for dialogue, believing it to be the appropriate way to find solutions to whatever difference.
Very respectfully, my Government believes that, given your high moral and spiritual values, your contribution will continue to be effective in persuading the American Government to agree in a serious and responsible manner to the dialogue so many times suggested by the Government of Nicaragua.
The Government of National Reconstruction wishes at the same time to extend to you and any other members of the Episcopal Conference an invitation to visit Nicaragua whenever you deem it appropriate.
The Government considers that a visit would allow a deepening of this topic and hopes that through frank and open discussion it would offer aspects of mutual interest beneficial to both parties.
In anticipation of your kind response, I take this opportunity to express my best wishes for your personal well-being.
S/Rodriqo Reyes P.
Minister Secretary General of the Government Junta