The Catholic Cardinal of El Salvador, Gregorio Rosa Chávez, said that the “persecution” experienced by the Nicaraguan Church by the Daniel Ortega regime is currently the “most horrendous case” of “martyrdom” in the region.
“Martyrdom continues to be a reality even today. In our region, the most horrendous case is that of the persecution suffered by the Church of Nicaragua”, said Rosa Chávez in a message to the parishioners within the framework of the patron saint festivities of the Salvadoran capital.
On the afternoon of Friday, August 5, the National Police reported that Monsignor Rolando Jose Alvarez, bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa and administrator of Estelí, is under house arrest and is being investigated for allegedly “organizing violent groups” and “carrying out acts of hate.” “The people under investigation will remain in their homes,” said the police institution.
The Salvadoran religious echoed a statement issued on August 5 by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), in which “he joins the suffering experienced by a large part of the people of Nicaragua and the Church that pilgrims in this beloved land.”
In the letter, of which the Salvadoran cardinal quoted a part, they denounce the “constant harassment that (the Church) has been suffering from government authorities.”
“Recent events, such as the siege on priests and bishops, the expulsion of members of religious communities, the desecration of temples and the closure of radio stations hurt us deeply. We express our solidarity and closeness to them,” Rosa Chávez read before thousands of Catholics.
Priests from different dioceses in Nicaragua called for an “end of the persecution of the Catholic Church”, which in recent months has seen how two members of the clergy were arrested and two others were besieged in their parish houses, including Bishop Rolando Álvarez, one of the most critical of President Daniel Ortega.
CELAM expresses solidarity with the Church in Nicaragua
Celam expressed this Friday its rejection of the “constant harassment” of which members of the Nicaraguan Catholic Church have been victims by the Ortega regime.
Historically cracked relations between the Catholic Church and the Ortega regime worsened recently due to the arrest and subsequent conviction of Father Manuel Salvador García Rodríguez for alleged violence against a woman.
Also for the capture of the priest Leonardo Urbina for alleged abuse of a minor, as well as the siege of the priest Uriel Vallejos and Bishop Rolando Álvarez, the latter now under house arrest.
“We accompany our brothers who, through different paths, seek to be the voice of those who have no voice, to build a dialogue capable of charting a path of unity and peace,” added the representatives of the bishops of the continent.
The letter, signed by Monsignors Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte and Jorge Eduardo Lozano, president and secretary general of Celam, respectively, invite “all Catholics in Latin America and the Caribbean to join in prayer for the Nicaraguan people, their leaders, authorities and church”.
The latest repressive escalation against the church
In the last two months, the regime of Ortega and Murillo undertook a repressive escalation against the Catholic Church that has left so far: two priests imprisoned, 18 nuns expelled from the country, two priests besieged, one of them now at home in jail and the closure of a dozen religious media.
The priest Manuel Salvador García Rodríguez, parish priest of the Jesús de Nazareno church —also known as El Calvario—, in Nandaime, Granada, was the first religious to face the justice of the regime, being sentenced on June 22 to two years in prison. for the alleged crime of threatening five people with a knife and a fine of 14,116 cordobas or 200 days in fines.
Last July 6, 18 Missionaries of Charityan order founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, were expelled from the country, being transferred from Managua and Granada to the border with Costa Rica, by the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration (DGME) and the Police.
Also, Monsignor Leonardo Urbina, priest of the Perpetuo Socorro parish in Boaco, has been in preventive detention since July 13, awaiting trial for the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl.
The priest Uriel Vallejos and a group of parishioners remained besieged by the Police for almost four days in the parish house of Jesús de la Divina Misericordia, in Sébaco.
In addition, between August 1 and 2, the regime closed 14 media outlets: eleven stations, ten belonging to the Diocese of Matagalpa and the independent Radio Vos, also took several cable television channels off the air and took the local channel RB3 “El Canal de la Zona Láctea” off the air, whose programming was broadcast through subscription television.