Leon, Nicaragua, Sep 18, 2018 / 16:01 pm
A group of masked men entered the home of a priest in the Diocese of León in Nicaragua and savagely beat him in the early hours of Saturday, in a new direct attack against the Church in the country.
According to local media, unidentified men entered the home of Fr. Abelardo Toval Ayesta, the pastor of Saint John the Baptist of Sutiaba parish in León, and struck him hard in the face and ribs, and even tried to suffocate him on Sept. 15
Fr. Victor Morales, communications director for the Diocese of León, told the media that “three people came in through the courtyard with faces masked, tied up (the priest), beat him badly and left him tied up. The stole several valuables from him.”
Following the incident, the auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio José Báez Ortega, strenuously protested the attack.
“I deplore and condemn the brutal aggression inflicted today by masked men on Father Abelardo Toval, the pastor of Sutiava in León. The priest is in danger of losing an eye. My prayers for him, for Bishop Bosco Vivas and for all the clergy of the Diocese of León,” the prelate wrote on Twitter.
The Archdiocese of Managua reported on Facebook that “His Eminence Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Managua, has been in direct contact with Father Abelardo Toval of the Diocese of León.”
The cardinal expressed to the priest “his closeness and prayer concerning the violent situation he experienced this morning. (The cardinal) asks the faithful to continue to pray for all the priests.”
Amid Nicaragua's recent crisis, numerous churches have been desecrated and both bishops and priests have been attacked.