The Episcopal Conference of El Salvador expressed its solidarity this Sunday, June 5, with the Catholic Church of Nicaragua and expressed its concern for the safety of Monsignor Roland Jose Alvarezbishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, and also by the priest Harvin Padillafrom the San Juan Bautista Church in Masaya, both victims of the siege of the Ortega Murillo regime.
In the statement, signed by 11 Salvadoran bishops – among them Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez – they lamented the social and political situation that Nicaragua is going through and said they share the pain of a “noble, hard-working and long-suffering people that vehemently aspires to live in a climate of full respect for their fundamental rights to achieve a dignified life”.
The position of the Salvadoran Catholic leaders is the third pronouncement in favor of a persecuted Church, after the siege of Álvarez, Padilla by regime policemen and the dispossession of channel 51 from the Episcopal Conference to deliver it to a company linked to the presidential family.
— Episcopal Conference of El Salvador (CEDES). (@iglesia_sv) June 5, 2022
Before the Salvadorans, the bishops of Panama and Costa Rica also expressed their solidarity. The Salvadoran religious assured that they will be united in prayer with the CEN in Nicaragua asking God for peace, understanding, tolerance and dialogue. “We invoke the Holy Spirit on the solemnity of Pentecost so that unity and harmony may soon be a reality in that beloved country,” they noted.
Since the siege of Álvarez and Padilla, recognized in their communities for their pastoral work and their voice of denunciation against human rights violationsthe regime has further increased religious persecution with the arrest last week of the priest Manuel Salvador Garciaparish priest of the Jesús Nazareno Church in Nandaime, Granada.
The official media launched a smear campaign against García, supported by the complaint of a woman identified as Martha Candelaria Rivas Hernández, who accused the priest without evidence of beating her on the night of May 30 last.
Álvarez asks not to respond to “evil with evil”
Although neither the Diocese of Granada, nor the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, have so far ruled on the religious’s arrest in Nandaime – the first in the midst of the climate of persecution against the Church, fueled by Rosario Murillo’s hate speech – the Bishop Álvarez affirmed this June 5 that one should not respond “Evil with evil, because that way what is done is to give more strength to evil”.
Álvarez asked the Holy Spirit to renew “this country of ours.” “Blow your breath on all of us, and sustain us in the hope of building a fraternal country, a horizon of peace, free us from the culture of death, from the culture of discarding, from any trace of revenge that wants to infiltrate hearts. Deliver us from all evil, deliver us from the evil one, ”he added in his homily from the Cathedral of San Pedro Apóstol in Matagalpa.
The auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio Báez, exiled since 2019, said from the parish of Santa Agatha in Miami that it is the Holy Spirit that makes the Church remain faithful to the truth of the Gospel, and therefore it cannot remain silent in the face of The injustices.
“Many want a Church that is blind in the face of the pain of humanity and mute in the face of the outrages of the unjust. However, the Spirit, like a strong wind, always pushes her along the paths of the world to the adventure of the mission, the testimony of love and the risk of prophecy”, she expressed.
«The Spirit, like a strong wind, always pushes the Church along the roads of the world to the adventure of the mission, the testimony of love and the risk of prophecy» (From my Pentecost homily) @carmelitequotes #BaezHomily. pic.twitter.com/dSvFs03qaU
– Silvio José Báez (@silviojbaez) June 5, 2022
Báez added that “the powerful action of the Spirit of God encourages the efforts of those who struggle to build a more humane and peaceful world and leads the subjugated peoples to dream, to organize and to fight for their liberation.”
For Báez, the Holy Spirit is also the great architect of authentic freedom, since “it also frees us from the ideologies that prevent us from knowing the truth, feeling the pain of others and loving effectively.”