Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa (OSV News/Maynor Valenzuela, Reuters)

In the latest move against the Church and political opponents in Nicaragua, the Ortega Government has reportedly banned the traditional public processions of the Way of the Cross in all parishes in the country. Source: Vatican News. 

During Lent, and also on Good Friday, the ritual will take place inside churches and not in public venues.

The move comes in the context of President Daniel Ortega’s escalating crackdown against the Church and follows the widespread outcry over the recent sentencing of Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa to 26 years’ imprisonment and the deportation to the United States of 222 political opponents.

They have all been stripped of citizenship along with other 94 Nicaraguan citizens, including the exiled Auxiliary Bishop Silvo José Baez of Managua and a priest from Matagalpa.

Tensions between the Sandinista regime and the Church reached its peak last week when, in a speech for the 89th anniversary of the killing of Nicaraguan national hero Augusto Sandino, Mr Ortega launched an unprecedented attack against the Church, accusing the Catholic hierarchy of “grave crimes and horrors” and of supporting dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, who was ousted by the Sandinista Revolution in 1979. 

In his address to the nation, Mr Ortega also accused the papacy of having supported Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and the Vatican of being a “mafia organisation”.

In his speech, Mr Ortega made no mention of the 222 exiles, nor of the sentencing Bishop Álvarez.

In recent days, the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (Cenidh) called for the immediate release of the prelate, saying he is “unjustly detained”. 


Nicaraguan president bans Easter processions and attacks bishops (By Lisa Zengarini, Vatican News)