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Witness History: The Pope’s Controversial Nicaragua Visit


BBC World Service

TX Date

26th Jul 2023


Mike Lanchin

Executive Producer

Kristine Pommert


"A great piece. That archive of the anger at the papal mass is electric"

Tara McDermott, commissioning editor, Witness History

In 1983, Pope John Paul II visited Nicaragua as part of an eight-day tour of Central America.
His trip came at a time of heightened tensions between the ruling Sandinista revolutionaries and the country’s Roman Catholic hierarchy.
The Pope, a staunch anti-Communist, condemned members of the Nicaraguan clergy serving in the left-wing government and was heckled by Sandinista supporters during a large open-air mass in the capital, Managua.
Mike Lanchin has been hearing the memories of Nicaraguan Carlos Pensque, who turned out to protest as the Pope passed by, and of former US Catholic News Service reporter, Nancy Frazier O’Brien, who covered the Papal visit.