Pope Francis expressed this Sunday (08.21.2022) his concern and pain over the situation in Nicaragua and called for “an open and sincere dialogue” so that “the foundations for a respectful and peaceful coexistence can be found” in the Central American country, where there is a political crisis that has affected the Catholic Church, after high-ranking church officials were arrested by order of President Daniel Ortega.
At the end of the Angelus prayer in Plaza San Pedro, the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio did not directly mention the arrest, on Friday, of the bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, Rolando Álvarez, an open opponent of the regime Ortega, but he did speak about the situation in Nicaragua, an issue he had not referred to to date.
“I closely follow with concern and pain the situation that has been created in Nicaragua that affects people and institutions, I would like to express my conviction and my desire that through an open and sincere dialogue the bases can be found for a respectful coexistence and peaceful,” said Francis, who also asked “through the intercession that the Purisima (as the Virgin is known in Nicaragua) inspire in the hearts of all parties such concrete will.”
Fifteen days besieged
Álvarez was arrested along with five priests, two seminarians and a cameraman, and transferred to his family residence in Managua, where he remains deprived of liberty, in the latest episode of the confrontation between the government and the Catholic Church. The Police specified that they made the decision to transfer Álvarez because he persisted in his “destabilizing and provocative” activities.
The 55-year-old priest was besieged for 15 days in the Matagalpa curia by the security forces, as part of an investigation for “organizing violent groups” and inciting “hate” to “destabilize the State of Nicaragua.” The bishop had denounced the closure by the authorities of five Catholic stations and had demanded that the Ortega government respect religious “freedom”.