2022 was the worst year for the Catholic Church in Nicaragua

Bishop José Álvarez Lagos Nicaragua Bishop José Álvarez Lagos surrounded by police officers on Aug. 4, 2022. | Diocese Media TV Merced / Diocese of Matagalpa

Lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina Montenegro reported that “2022 was the most disastrous year for the Nicaraguan Catholic Church.” 

In a text shared with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, Molina wrote that in one year the Church was the target of “140 attacks from the Sandinista dictatorship."

President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo have been ruling Nicaragua as a dictatorship since 2007.

Molina pointed out that among the attacks "there are unjust criminal proceedings that do not adhere to what the laws mandate, confiscations, kidnappings, hate speech and the prevention of freedom of movement."

In addition, the regime shut down non-profit religious organizations and religious media outlets.

The lawyer also said that the dictatorship has deported, exiled, and expelled people; perpetrated desecrations and robberies; carried out sieges; made threats and prohibited processions.

All this because the Church in Nicaragua preaches "the Gospel that is in itself an announcement and denunciation of the arbitrariness of the powerful of the day."

“The dictatorship has been incessant and doesn’t give respite to the prelates,” she said.

The lawyer also referred to the second installment of her report "Nicaragua: a persecuted Church?" which details 396 attacks against the Catholic Church in the country from 2018 to October 2022.

Among its more egregious attacks, the Ortega dictatorship abducted Bishop Rolando Álvarez of the Diocese of Matagalpa in August and has held him under house arrest ever since as he awaits trial. 

The bishop was charged with “the crimes of conspiracy to undermine national security and sovereignty and the propagation of false news through information and communication technologies to the detriment of the Nicaraguan State and society."

In addition, the dictatorship has arrested and exiled several priests.

The regime expelled the apostolic nuncio. Archbishop Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag in March and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in July.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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