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Francis reverses John Paul II, reinstates priest suspended in '80s for joining Sandinista govt

Pope Francis has reinstated a Nicaraguan priest suspended by the Vatican in the 1980s for participating in Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government.

The 81-year-old Rev. Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, Nicaragua's foreign minister from 1979-1990, recently wrote to Francis asking to be allowed to celebrate Mass again before he died. The Vatican said Monday that Francis had agreed and asked D'Escoto's superior in the Maryknoll order to help reintroduce him into priestly ministry.

The Vatican suspended D'Escoto and three other dissident priests in 1985 for defying a church ban on clergy holding government jobs. The sanction was also a reflection of St. John Paul II's broader crackdown on liberation theology in Latin America.

The Sandinistas, who supported the "popular church" of liberation theology, overthrew the pro-American regime of Anastasio Somoza in 1979.