.- In response to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s recent “invitation to pray” and to refrain from giving opinions on political issues, the bishops of Nicaragua reminded that justice requires action and not just prayer. The one who prays, they said, must always speak out to defend the truth.
Ortega responded to recent criticism of his administration by “exhorting” the bishops to “pray everyday.” According to El Nuevo Diario, Archbishop Leopoldo Brenes of Managua said, “We don’t belong to any political party, but we do exercise political action at a general level, which means for the common good … .” “Generally as pastors we are always in tune with the sense of our people, and we convey that to those who have the capacity to bring about solutions to problems.”
For his part, the vice president of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Juan Abelardo Guevara, responded to Ortega’s comments by saying it was “abominable to use the word of the Lord to justify absurd positions.”
“Tax dollars are not for a specific family or person but for the entire people, and the people have a right to know how the money is being spent in their name,” Bishop Guevara said. He called on Ortega to be “honest and transparent” in his governance of the entire nation.
Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Jose Baez Ortega of Managua said, “Praying does not exempt you from speaking or working for justice.” He also reminded the president to listen to the opinions of others, to examine his own conscience and to practice self-correction.
“To speak about prayer is to speak of the experience of a relationship with God. Whoever speaks about prayer must be a person who lives his faith,” the Bishop Baez Ortega said.
“He who prays has the obligation to raise his voice in support of the truth,” he added. “Praying does not exempt one from working for justice, from being a prophet. In the Bible, the prayer and the prophet go hand in hand. He who prays, he who speaks with God, speaks also of God and also denounces the situations in which God is not present.”