Tension increases between the Church and the political regime in Nicaragua.
This Saturday, hundreds of Nicaraguans attended a mass under police surveillance after the authorities ban a religious procession through the streets of the capital for reasons of “internal security“.
“Forgive them, Lord, because they do not know what they are doing,” said the Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes at Mass when addressing the tensions and arrest of Bishop Rolando Alvarezwho has been held by the police for almost two weeks accused of “destabilize the country“.
“The episcopal conference, we are very close to Monsignor, all our churches are praying, accompanying him, and we ask Our Lady that we soon find the causes to solve and that we can continue working evangelizing”, declared the cardinal.
Arrest of Bishop Rolando Álvarez
Álvarez, a strong critic of the Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, issued last Thursday from the Church compound where an online mass is being held where he stated that he was well and safe.
The arrest of the bishop has not been the only measure that the authorities have taken against the Catholic Church. At the beginning of the month, the state hill seven radio stations owned by the religious institution and arrested another priest from the same diocese.
Community members say that without a doubt, this is all about a persecution against the Church.
María Cárdenas, a resident of Managua, explains:
“The truth is that the church has not provoked a confrontation. The church has always been persecuted by the executors of this government. This is the reality and it cannot be hidden, as if the sun were covered with a finger. From 1979 to 1990 the church was persecuted and it is happening again. If she doesn’t kneel down ignoring things, then she is persecuted again. We cannot live under that duress.”
The population asks the Vatican for help
On Friday, The Vatican spoke publicly for the first time about the recent measures against the church in Nicaragua. The Vatican’s permanent observer to the Organization of American States expressed his concern during a special session of the organization’s permanent council.
In addition, the members of this congregation affirm that they have written a letter to the Pope Francisco to intercede in the situation of the country. Since the strong demonstrations of 2018, President Ortega does not allow large public gatherings that are not related to the state and has closed more than 1,000 non-governmental organizations.