They said Ortega's government has refused "to address the central themes of the agenda of democratization" and to dismantle the paramilitaries.
They denounced the repression by police and paramilitaries, whose attacks "are juridically and morally condemnable" and which have the objective "of sowing terror in the people who have manifested themselves peacefully."
Barricades and roadblocks are now found throughout Nicaragua, and clashes frequently turn lethal. Bishops and priests across the country have worked to separate protesters and security forces, and have been threatened and shot.
Nicaragua's crisis began after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protestors were killed by security forces initially.
Anti-government protesters have been attacked by "combined forces" made up of regular police, riot police, paramilitaries, and pro-government vigilantes.
The Nicaraguan government has suggested that protestors are killing their own supporters so as to destabilize Ortega's administration.
The Church in Nicaragua was quick to acknowledge the protestors' complaints.
The pension reforms which triggered the unrest were modest, but protests quickly turned to Ortega's authoritarian bent.
Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.
The Church has suggested that elections, which are not scheduled until 2021, be held in 2019, but Ortega has ruled this out.
Ortega was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.
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