Nicaraguan bishops move forward with dialogue
· Despite President Daniel Ortega’s attacks ·
Despite government attacks, the bishops of Nicaragua plan to continue their efforts at mediation in the midst of the nation’s current political crisis. This was the message proclaimed on Sunday by Silvio José Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua. “It is obviously quite difficult to continue to dialogue in this moment due to the government’s attitude and their slanderous language towards the church”, commented the Bishop on the occasion of the Mass celebrated in the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel of Managua. He added, “we will not stop and we will continue our efforts at dialogue. These are very difficult times for Nicaragua.
The Church is enacting prayer initiatives and occasions for solidarity with the goal of supporting the bishops and the population, despite the fierce repression by both the government and its paramilitary groups, the so-called “turbas”.
The Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) declared a day of prayer in all Latin American churches in order to express their nearness to and solidarity with the Nicaraguan people and their pastors, who seek to bring peace, despite dramatic and painful social and political crises.
Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua and president of the conference of Nicaraguan bishops, called a meeting of all the nation’s bishops on Monday 23 July. “We will reflect upon President Ortega’s words and then make a decision. The Nicaraguan people urge us, saying that we must continue as mediators and witnesses. We shall reflect and then we shall see what is the best position to maintain”, said Cardinal Brenes when speaking with the press. Sadly, as it has already been noted, protests and violence have reigned throughout the country since April. Thus far 350 have died and thousands of other civilians wounded. Church representatives have also been attacked on multiple occasions and been the object of armed attacks. Moreover, just a few days ago, during the celebration of the thirty-ninth anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, President Ortega declared that the Nicaraguan bishops were “behaving like coup plotters”.