Fernando Cardenal

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Fernando Cardenal

Fernando Cardenal (born in Granada, Nicaragua, 1934) is a Nicaraguan Jesuit and liberation theologian. He served as Minister of Education from 1984 to 1990, during the Sandinista era. His brother, poet Ernesto Cardenal, also a Catholic priest, served as Minister of Culture from 1979 to 1987.

Because of his ties to the Sandinista movement and liberation theology, he was forced to leave the Society of Jesus, on the grounds that his roles as priest and government minister were incompatible. Later, after his time in government was over, the Society of Jesus reinstated him.[1]

In 1980, Cardenal led the Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign, a Sandinista effort that succeeded in teaching basic literacy to more than half a million people.

Life after the Nicaraguan Revolution[edit]

Currently, Fernando Cardenal is a director at the Fe y Alegría organization in Managua, Nicaragua.[2] Through this organization, Cardenal is able to help provide education for the poor in Nicaragua. Since 1997, the year he was readmitted to the Jesuits, Cardenal continues to be an active priest. He was readmitted after four years had passed since he renounced his membership from the Sandinista National Liberation Front or the Sandinistas.[3]

Cardenal has also recently made several visits to Jesuit universities in the United States. For example, Cardenal has made visits to the University of Detroit Mercy in 2013 and John Carrol University in 2014 to talk about his commitment to help the poor and his experience as a Jesuit priest and liberation theologian in the Nicaraguan Revolution.[4][5] He has also done several interviews to discuss his involvement in the Nicaraguan Revolution as a minister of education, his commitment to the poor, and the current state of education in Nicaragua which links to his current involvement in Fe y Alegría. For example he has done an interview with an undergraduate student at Georgetown University in 2014.[6]

Fernando Cardenal

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Fernando Cardenal debe elegir entre la Compañía de Jesús o ser ministro del Gobierno nicaragüense | Edición impresa | EL PAÍS". Elpais.com. 1984-07-17. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  2. ^ "Fe y Alegria in Nicaragua". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Wooden, Cindy (6 August 2014). "Pope lifts suspension of Father D'Escoto, former Sandinista official". Catholic News Service/USCCB. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Fichter, Ruth Esther. "Fr. Fernando Cardenal: Nicaraguan Jesuit and activist". University of Detroit Mercy - A Catholic University in the Jesuit & Mercy Traditions. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Fernando Cardenal, S.J.". John Carrol University. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Maita, Gianna (30 July 2014). "A Discussion with Father Fernando Cardenal, S.J., National Director of Fe y Alegría, Managua, Nicaragua". Berkley Center For Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University. Retrieved 22 April 2015.