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Letter to Minister Reyes

November 8, 1982  

Honorable Rodriqo Reyes P.
Ministro Secretario General 
Junta de Gobierno de Reconstruction Nacional  

Dear Mr. Minister: 

Permit me to thank you and the honorable members of the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction for your thoughtful letter of October 5th. I express my personal gratitude for the serious manner in which you have responded to my statement of September concerning the several distressing events affecting the Church in Nicaragua during the preceding weeks. 

I wish to be clear about the intent of that statement. I indicated that the source of, and motivation for, the conflicts in Nicaragua were not always clear, that we here do appreciate the complex and conflicted nature of the present situation, and that the attitude and actions of other governments including our own have contributed to the tension. 

Nevertheless, the statement did suggest that the Nicaraguan government, as every government, bears unique responsibility for public order. Insofar as it can legitimately control events or prevent abuses that inflame public sentiment, it is obligated to do so. 

Your forthright acknowledgment that errors have been committed which are not reflective of government policy is both commendable and encouraging. With you, I too hope that the channels of frank and open dialogue among all parties may continue to effectively be employed. 

Concerning the far more serious conflicts which sadly characterize much of the Central American region today, our Episcopal Conference has repeatedly stressed the urgent need for dialogue and negotiation as the only way to peace. We have urged and will not cease to urge our government to seize every opportunity to further peace and stability through diplomatic means. I thank you for your kind words about our efforts in this area. 

Finally, I take note of your invitation that I or other members of our Conference visit Nicaragua. -While it may prove opportune for us to do so, any such decision will be made in fullest consultation with our brother bishops of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference. 

With sentiments of esteem, I remain 

Sincerely yours in Christ,  

Most Reverend John R. Roach
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
President, NCCB/USCC

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