Nicaragua: Ortega detains a third priest after officiating mass

The government of the leftist Daniel Ortega intensified this Sunday the attacks against the Catholic Church denounced human rights organizations, after reporting the arrest of a third priest. This is Oscar Benavidez, pastor of the Holy Spirit Church, located in Mulukuku, a municipality located in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region.

The Diocese of Siuna confirmed the news on social networks and indicated that they do not know the causes or the reason for the priest’s arrest, for which they asked the authorities “to keep them informed” in this regard.

The priest was arrested after officiating a mass on Sunday, he told the voice of america a local leader, who asked not to be summoned for fear of reprisals.

The person described the priest as someone “kind and charismatic” who continually spoke about the “situation we are experiencing as a Church,” and indicated that the religious officiated several masses for Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, whom the government de Ortega accused more than a week ago of “organize violent groups” for which he ordered an investigation against him.

Álvarez remains under house arrest from his residence, in Matagalpa, as well as a group of religious and parishioners.

Silence of the authorities

Until the time of this publication, the police authorities have not commented on the matter, however, his arrest occurs in the context of an escalation that the Ortega government began against the Catholic Church, whom he accuses of “coup plotters” and “traitors” for sheltering protesters in the temples during the 2018 protests.

Before the arrest of this priest, Ortega put two more religious behind bars and expelled a group of nuns from the Mother Teresa of Calcutta order, who offered humanitarian aid in Nicaragua.

It also closed down several stations and television channels belonging to the Church.

The third priest arrested in Nicaragua directed the Holy Spirit Parish in Mulukukú.  Courtesy

The third priest arrested in Nicaragua directed the Holy Spirit Parish in Mulukukú. Courtesy

Likewise, Ortega has launched accusations against priests who have had to leave the country for security reasons, such as Monsignor Silvio Báez and Father Edwin Román, who recently denounced in an interview with the VOA “That in Nicaragua religious freedom no longer exists.”

“Accusations are false and ridiculous”

Amid the accusations against the priests and especially against Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, the auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio José Báez referred to the situation from the Santa Agatha church in Miami, Florida and said that “this elimination of the prophets It’s a very old thing.”

“It is always practiced by unjust, intolerant and violent systems. All false and ridiculous accusations,” said Báez.

He compared that the prophet Jeremiah was never violent, nor did he preach violence, and he was accused of being subversive. “Jeremiah passionately loved his city of Jerusalem and was accused of being an agent of the empire and a traitor to the country; Jeremías preached consolation and hope for his people and was accused of committing hate crimes,” Baez said.

According to the priest, “tyrants cannot bear the prophetic word that exposes their wickedness and their crimes.”

“Today’s powerful people fear a prophetic Church, they would like to see the Church locked up in the sacristy, with its mouth shut and hopefully bowing before them. Failing to do so, they are filled with rage with aggressive speeches with which they do nothing more than show his own weakness and the darkness of his conscience,” added the prelate.

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