U.S. Bishops Condemn Nicaragua’s ‘Systematic’ Persecution of the Catholic Church

The U.S. bishops have denounced the systematic aggression against the Catholic Church by Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, while calling for the release of Bishop Rolando Álvarez.

The bishops reacted Friday to this week’s move by the Nicaraguan Government to officially charge Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa with “spurious crimes,” a ploy “denounced by human rights campaigners worldwide.”

Rockford Bishop David J. Malloy, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a searing statement denouncing this “injustice” against Bishop Álvarez.

“It is with dismay that we witness the continued deterioration of religious freedom and human rights in Nicaragua,” Bishop Malloy declared in his statement.

The bishop noted that Bishop Álvarez “had been kidnapped by the regime and isolated under house arrest without due process since August for denouncing the regime’s human rights abuses and the breakdown of the democratic order in Nicaragua.”

Álvarez has now been charged with “undermining national integrity and the propagation of false news” and is scheduled to appear before a tribunal on January 10.

“Bishop Álvarez is being held under the strictest isolation, and his deteriorated physical appearance is a testament to the particularly difficult conditions of his house arrest,” Malloy observed.

Since the bloody crackdown on peaceful protestors in 2018, “the regime and its allies have been implementing a policy of severe, systematic physical, rhetorical, and institutional aggression and intimidation against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua,” the bishop stated.

This has included “unjust detentions, violence, prohibition of priests from returning to Nicaragua, desecrations of sacred images, and even profanations of the Blessed Sacrament,” he added.

In closing, Malloy called on the U.S. Government and the international community to “pursue the immediate release of Bishop Álvarez, the restoration of religious freedom and human rights guarantees, and initiate a process of restoring the democratic order and the rule of law in Nicaragua.”