Cardinal Brenes criticizes the desire for power, two years after the attack against Sangre de Cristo

The Archbishop of Managua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, said this Sunday that “power does not bring happiness” when questioning the desire for power, just two years after the attack on the venerated image of the Blood of Christ, which burned a image with more than 300 years of history and that at the time the Catholic Church described as a terrorist attack.

Brenes officiated a mass in the Cathedral in which there were readings that exhorted the parishioners to focus on spiritual wealth and not material wealth. “Acquire power, more power, more power, but in the end it disappears. Power does not bring happiness and many times, it leads to sadness, it leads to frustration”, expressed the prelate, a message in which he agreed with other Bishops.

Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, Bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and Administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, said in his reflection that, depending on the use given to money, it can be an instrument of idolatry or salvation.

Álvarez expressed that money is distorted when it is used “for blackmail, for coercion, to buy conscience, for embezzlement, corruption, disorder…”, but it becomes salvation when it is used to live with dignity and it is shared with the poorest, the needy.

“Avoid all kinds of greed because the life of man does not depend on the goods he possesses,” said Álvarez, one of the most critical bishops against power in Nicaragua, which has earned him the persecution of Daniel Ortega’s regime.

The Catholic Church is under attack from the dictatorship that considers the bishops complicit in a supposed “coup” d’état, the main alibi from power to exercise repression against citizens. Priests and bishops have actually demanded respect for the human rights of Nicaraguans, which has been answered with a dirty campaign against the religious and the imprisonment of the father Manuel Salvador Garcia of Nandaime and Monsignor Jose Leonardo Urbina of Boaco, the first accused of threatening Sandinista fanatics and the other for rape in processes that jurists have pointed out are orphans of due process.

The “painful memory” of the attack

Facing the charred face of Jesus, preserved as a relic in a glass urn and placed on the altar of the Managua Cathedral, Brenes reflected on its meaning. He said that in the face of the Blood of Christ he saw “compassion, forgiveness” and in the charred body “Christ nailed to the cross, dying for us, forgiving us.”

“In that face and that look there is no hatred, there is no rancor, but rather it is a look of mercy…”, the cardinal expressed before dozens of Catholics, who repeated praises to the sacred image: “Long live the Blood of Christ! ”, “Long live the Blood of Christ!”, “The Blood of Christ has power!”.

The cardinal described as “a painful memory” the burning of the consecrated image of the Blood of Christ. At the same time, he pointed out that “no physical attack that can be made can remove it from our minds, from our feelings. We always pray for those people who from a sick heart have attacked her and have wanted to attack our faith, but rather our love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament has grown, “he said.

The attack occurred at 11:00 in the morning of July 31, 2020. The Police assured that the incident was due to “alcohol vapors accumulated inside the dome of the Blood of Christ, mixing with the hot air (temperature 36.1), they produced the fire in a process scientifically known as solvation”. Chemical engineers refuted the police version. The cardinal said the Church respected the report but did not share its conclusions.

Managua Cathedral
The chapel of the Blood of Christ completely burned after the attack. Photo: Courtesy | Javier Ruiz

The Police, aligned with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, assured that the fire was not intentional and ruled out a criminal hand. However, Brenes maintained that the attack was planned.

CENIDH: “It was a statement of hate”

For the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), “the vast majority of Nicaraguans are convinced that this was a “terrorist act”, “a declaration of hatred against the Catholic Church for its evangelizing work,” he stated through his twitter account.

In the masses this Sunday, both Brenes and Álvarez requested prayers from the Catholic faithful for the priests and bishops of the Church.

The Ortega regime has maintained a frontal attack against the Church since 2018, when the institution denounced human rights violations against the people of Nicaragua and supported the population in its demand for changes in the political system. This year, mainly, the regime intensified its fury against the prelates, subjecting them to more acts of harassment and persecution.

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