Catholic bishops condemn persecution of Church in Nicaragua

ROME – Bishops around the world have condemned Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega’s intensified persecution of Christians.

After the deportation last Thursday of 222 political opponents of Ortega and the sentencing of the Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, to 26 years and 4 months in prison, many bishops raised their voices in protest against the increasing violations of human rights in Nicaragua .

On Saturday, the president of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), Peruvian Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos, condemned the “unjust” imprisonment of Bishop Álvarez and other priests, promising prayers for their speedy release.

“In faith we are comforted by the words of the Gospel: ‘Blessed are the persecuted because they live according to God’s design, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven’”, wrote Dom Cabrejos in a message of solidarity.

Nicaragua is experiencing “moments of trial” and the weakening of the rights of our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters in the faith, wrote the archbishop.

A Catholic faithful prays in front of an image of the Virgin Mary in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the capital Managua, on August 28, 2022. (OSWALDO RIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Likewise, the Chilean Episcopal Conference reacted strongly against the “unfair, arbitrary and disproportionate” punishment of Bishop Álvarez, compounded by many other attacks on the Church, including the deportation of the Apostolic Nuncio and the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, the expulsion and imprisonment of many priests and the closure of Catholic radio stations.

“We regret and repudiate the situation experienced by Archbishop Álvarez and the Church in Nicaragua, which violates human rights, the essential dignity of the person and religious freedom,” the bishops said.

For its part, the Spanish Episcopal Conference said it followed with regret the worrying situation in Nicaragua with “the exile of a large group of its citizens in the United States and the condemnation of the Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, to 26 years in prison and loss of their Nicaraguan citizenship”.

“We join the sentiments of the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, who are being persecuted by the country’s government for defending the freedom of Nicaraguans,” the Spanish bishops said. “We ask all Catholics and all people of good will to pray for the peaceful resolution of this conflict and for an active commitment to peace, which has justice as its indisputable foundation.”

They also called on civil authorities to listen to the voice of the people and free those still imprisoned for political reasons.

Many other prelates expressed their solidarity with Bishop Álvarez, denouncing the violation of the most basic civil rights and religious freedom in Nicaragua, notably the bishops of El Salvador, the bishops of Panama and others.

Thomas D. Williams is head of the Breitbart Rome Bureau and author of The Coming Christian Persecution.

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