Nicaraguan bishop: Dictators say they love God while they believe they are gods

Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Báez Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Báez of Managua, Nicaragua. | Credit: Video capture St. Agatha Catholic Church

The auxiliary bishop of Managua, Nicaragua, Silvio Báez, who has been living in exile in the U.S. for several years, said in his Sunday Mass homily Oct. 29 that “the dictators say they love God, while they themselves take his place believing themselves to be gods.”

The prelate was the celebrant at the Mass offered at St. Agatha Church in the Sweetwater neighborhood of Miami, where many Nicaraguans live.

Báez, who has always criticized President Daniel Ortega’s regime in Nicaragua, also pointed out that dictators “enrich themselves at the expense of the poor, disrespect people’s rights and freedoms, and oppress their people, and they talk about God, and they say they believe in God and love God.”

“That ‘god’ that the dictators of our people speak of is not the true God, whom you cannot love if you don’t love yourself, if you don’t respect human beings,” he continued.

The bishop charged that “those who exploit the poor and oppress people not only do not know or love God but — as Pope Francis said this morning at the closing Mass for the synod in Rome — they commit a great sin: They corrode fraternity and devastate society.”

During the final Mass for the Synod on Synodality that took place Oct. 4–29 in Rome, the Holy Father stated: “It is a grave sin to exploit the weakest, a grave sin that corrodes fraternity and devastates society.”

In his homily in Miami, the auxiliary bishop of Managua encouraged the faithful “to love God and our neighbors always and everywhere, also in society,” and recalled that love can be brotherly, for spouses, family members, and friends.

“Love also has a social and political dimension. That’s why tyrants are liars who, cynically, fill their mouths invoking and talking about God, and even describing their crimes, illegalities, and acts of corruption as divine blessings. There are terrorists who kill in the name of God,” the Nicaraguan prelate warned.

Báez also pointed out that “it may sound trite to talk about love, but for Jesus knowing how to love is the only thing necessary in life, the only thing that matters: loving God and loving your neighbor.”

“Behind so much dissatisfaction and depression that we suffer there are great voids of love,” he noted, saying that in many of the problems that people have, “there is a scandalous lack of love for God and neighbor.”

Rally in Miami

The day before, a group of young people held a rally at the Nicaraguan Consulate in Miami calling for the release of Rolando Álvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, imprisoned since February in Managua, accused of “treason to the homeland,” and unjustly sentenced by the dictatorship to 26 years and four months in prison.

According to the newspaper 100% Noticias, the young people, who are members of the Nicaraguan University Alliance (AUN), also called for the release of the other political prisoners, chanting “Rolando, friend, the people are with you” and “freedom for all political prisoners.”

The AUN is made up of students who organized protests against the Ortega regime in 2018. Many of them are former political prisoners and live in exile.

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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