A Nicaraguan government delegation ended a second day of talks with high-level Vatican officials today, and a spokesman for the Nicaraguans said he expects the meetings to continue.
The three Nicaraguan Cabinet ministers -- Rodrigo Reyes, Reynaldo Antonio Tefel and Emilio Baltodano -- met for 90 minutes this morning with the Vatican's foreign minister, Archbishop Achille Silvestrini. It was the second meeting with Silvestrini in two days.
There was no official statement on the progress of the talks, which the Nicaraguans apparently hope will ease tensions between their government and the Holy See. Nor was there confirmation that the talks would continue, although a Nicaraguan spokesman said later that they would go on "in these days" and that the Nicaraguan delegation still hoped to meet with Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the Vatican's secretary of state, who ranks second only to Pope John Paul II in the Vatican hierarchy.
"A meeting with Cardinal Casaroli was foreseen and we believe it will take place," said Ricardo Peter, Nicaraguan ambassador to the Vatican.
In another arena involving relations with Latin America, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a joint declaration with Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff saying that talks about Boff's controversial brand of "liberation" theology had been held "in a fraternal atmosphere." Earlier this week the congregation issued an unprecedented document describing many aspects of liberation doctrine -- which calls for involvement of the clergy in the struggles of the poor -- as "dangerous" to the Roman Catholic Church.
With regard to Nicaragua, the Vatican has said only that the talks had to do with the situation there. "The object of the meeting was the situation in Nicaragua, with reference to the relations between the church and the state," an official Vatican statement said.
Boff and Vatican officials met for four hours this morning at the headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to discuss Boff's book, "Church, Charisma and Power."
Boff, 44, described the meeting as "tranquil and cordial." He said that he was asked to recant nothing and that the ideas and opinions he advanced to a commission headed by West German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would now be studied by Vatican theologians.
Boff insisted, however, that the recent Vatican document on liberation theology was European rather than Latin American in outlook.
"This document was made by Europeans who see the Latin American reality from the window of a building," he said, adding that while the document expresses the Europeans' sensitivity to the problems of the poor, "it never says that we as a church must march with the poor."
Boff also said that the developed world is as greatly in need of liberation as the oppressed Third World because it is the cause of the oppression.
"The advanced world . . . has its riches and its well-being locked in an international relationship of economic and financial exploitation," he said.