Reagan's first head of the CIA, Roman Catholic "Knight of Malta" William Casey, is credited with creating and funding RC Cardinal Bravo's 'Contras'.

From ................................. New Internationalist

February 1988

By "Father" John Medcalf

"Father" John Medcalf is a British RC priest in Nicaragua.

THE last few days have been the worst of my life so far . Our village (Muelle de los Bueyes) has been attacked by over 500 well-equipped Contras. The battle began at three in the morning and continued uninterrupted until past daybreak. [-----------]

The Contras surged into several of the village streets, where we heard them shouting defiant angry slogans ["We don t want your amnesty" ]. The Sandinistas were forced Into a temporary retreat but returned later with reinforcements to do battle in the streets. The bridge was saved and the Contras eventually dispersed when their supply of ammunition came to an end. [-------------]

It was just four months ago that I met my first Contras face to face. I had been visiting villages to the north of the parish. They must have been watching from a hilltop as I rode towards them because suddenly I was surrounded by a company of about 40 soldiers, all aged between 17 and 18 years.

One held up a Bible and a rosary, but none spoke until an older man, their commanding officer, strode up with an outstretched hand which I shook without enthusiasm. He spoke with a deference that was almost fawning: they were fighting to save their country from an atheistic dictatorship. Nobody desired peace more than these loyal sons of the [Roman] Catholic Church. Their victory against the Soviet Sandinistas was inevitable.

I remained seated on my mule, uncomfortably aware that my every gesture and expression was being carefully observed. The slightest word of encouragement would have elicited wild cheering, I felt. Looking back I wish I'd been more courageous.

I told them that the Sandinista soldiers were also [Roman] Catholics; were also fighting for their country; were also longing for peace. I urged them to listen to the voice of their individual conscience. And I suppose the general coldness of my tone conveyed my disapproval of their activities. Then I looked at my watch, pretended to be surprised at the lateness of the hour, and dug both spurs into the flanks of the mule, hoping to God that a bullet would not follow my hasty departure.

Two or three hundred villagers kept me busy that evening. All the prayers were for peace and for those who were fighting - in both armies. Afterwards, while the congregation said the rosary, praying for an end to the war,[------]