MANAGUA – The Catholic Church is being persecuted by Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega regime, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said on Sunday, amid a nationwide crisis that turned violent and has left between 277-351 people dead since April.
Cardinal Brenes acknowledged that there is persecution against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, since many churches served as a refuge for demonstrators who escaped the government’s violent attacks.
“I believe in the church that is a saint, catholic, apostolic and persecuted, because we see in Iraq, it is being persecuted, in India also I think. It is part of the church, it has always been persecuted, we are not going to be ignorant,” Brenes told journalists.
At the request of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), more than 500 masses in Latin America and an unspecified amount in Europe were dedicated to Nicaragua overcoming the crisis soon, the Nicaraguan cardinal said.
With around 58 percent of Nicaraguans following Catholicism, the Catholic Church has suffered desecrations in at least seven churches since the Episcopate asked Ortega in June to move up the elections of 2021 to March 2019, with the aim of ending the crisis.
In a subsequent incident, a group of Ortega supporters invaded a church, assaulted Brenes and Papal Nuncio Stanislaw Waldemar Sommertag and hurt Bishop Silvio Baez as well as priests Miguel Mantica and Edwin Roman.
“It hurt me that the bishops had the attitude of coup leaders,” Ortega said on July 19, during the celebration of the 39th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution.