Priests also suffer persecution in Nicaragua

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Monsignor Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, bishop of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Estelí, through a video announced to the Catholic congregation that he has been a victim of persecution and siege, as have Father Harvin Padilla de Masaya and Father Uriel Pineda. from Matagalpa.

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In the video, Monsignor Álvarez denounced that yesterday, May 19, he was persecuted by the police, “today I have been persecuted all day by the Sandinista police…At the end of the afternoon, finding myself at my niece’s house, I went directly to ask the police officers why they persecute me and they have informed me that they obey orders”.

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Monsignor had visited his niece’s house for dinner and asked them to stop persecuting him, but the response was alarming and concerned the Catholic leader. “They entered my circle of family privacy, they came to my private paternal and maternal home, putting the safety of my family at risk,” said the Bishop.

https://youtu.be/cyshy8d4TEE

The security measure for the moment of the monsignor to protect his family and feel safer was to return to the Santo Cristo de Esquipulas Parish in las Colinas (Managua) where Monsignor Carlos Avilés has welcomed him as a guest.

Monsignor Álvarez begins indefinite fast

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“I begin an indefinite water and serum fast until the national police, through the president of the episcopal conference or the vice president, only let me know that they are going to respect my family privacy circle.” Express Monsignor.

According to the persecution against the Catholic leader, it is “for security,” the police told him, “but we already know the insecurity in this country is precisely the police, that is, what makes us feel insecure with this persecution is you police brothers.” assured Monsignor Álvarez.

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In the video, he also invited those who want to join the fast, with prayers and songs. “I will be in prayer doing an exorcism here, I will be praying before the Blessed Sacrament, I will be celebrating the Eucharist raising my pleas to the Lord so that this situation of harsh and cruel harassment for all of us can cease.”

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For days, since May 14, Father Harvin Padilla, parish priest of the San Juan Bautista Church in Masaya, has also been the victim of threats and harassment by the police who have stationed themselves outside the church, to the digital media article 66 in an interview told them. “I want to know why they are there and why a paramilitary guards the church since yesterday if what is done here is to celebrate Holy Mass and pastoral training.” Days later he told the same independent media in the presence of riot police and the permanent siege “many human rights institutions that are on the side of the poor, the marginalized, the elderly have been closed, now they continue with the church,” he said in the interview.

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On Wednesday, May 18, Wednesday, the parish priest Uriel Vallejos of the Divine Mercy Church in Matagalpa, denounced a siege by police while he was in the Apostolic Nunciature in Managua.

Father Uriel Vallejos, since the crisis that began in April 2018, has been a victim of repression, as well as other Catholic priests in Nicaragua. In an interview with a Catholic magazine, he pointed out that when the government saw that the priests denounced human rights violations and paramilitary attacks, began to attack them with more force, “persecuting many priests and bishops, starting with mine, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez Lagos, Monsignor Silvio Báez, who went into exile, Monsignor Abelardo Mata and Monsignor Enrique Herrera Gutiérrez, president of the Nicaraguan episcopal conference.

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But above all against us, the priests here, because we are at the epicenter of the massacre. We priests in the area stood between the bullets and the people, and from then on the repression intensified. Written blackmail, threats, and Ortega’s persecution of priests and some bishops are the order of the day. Intimidation, surveillance of homilies, recording of sermons… they have even sent police dressed in civilian clothes to see who is coming to mass, what the priest is saying, a very painful situation in which we are still immersed.” The Vallejos priest recounted.

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Monsignor Silvio Báez, bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, exiled in Miami and staying in the Santa Ágata church, pointed out that the power of Jesus protects the people.

“The hand of Jesus, which supports the church, is stronger than the slander and persecution that are unleashed against it. The church may seem weak but it is not, let us not be afraid”, advised Báez.

Monsignor Silvio Báez, in response to Monsignor Álvarez’s complaint, expressed his solidarity with the public complaint. “I offer my solidarity and fraternal closeness to my brother, Bishop Rolando Álvarez, Bishop of Matagalpa, who is being harassed by the Police. I join in his prayer, asking the Lord to protect him and grant him the strength of his Spirit,” he wrote on Facebook.

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For its part, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Managua issued a message where the quote, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church, and not even the power of death will prevail against it ( Matthew 16,18)”.

The letter expresses its solidarity with the priests who have been subject to repression, siege, and harassment, for fulfilling their mission in the church. “The Church is always present in our joys and also in our duels, illnesses, poverty, absences, loneliness, fears, and privations. She strengthens us, but her strength is not in human power, which is temporary, nor in material goods, which are ephemeral, but in the power of God that gives us the Holy Spirit.

Faithful to the mandate of the Lord, the Catholic Church in Nicaragua assures that they will continue to denounce the social structures of sin and accompany the people “The mission of the Church will always provoke contradictions in this world where along with the light there is also the darkness of evil.”

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The statement reveals concern about the current situation in the country and calls for prayer. “We are concerned about the situation in the country that we love as children of God, as Nicaraguans and Christians. We join in prayer so that God transforms hard hearts into sensitive hearts, with love for others, free from feelings that impede normality that leads to authentic social peace. My love, forgiveness, and mercy prevail in all things in the pursuit of the common good, practicing Christian principles.”

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