The Catholic Church in Nicaragua has continued to suffer persecution from President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista Government. The latest was a recent case where police stopped a Priest from celebrating Mass.
The incident took place on August 4, when Bishop Rolando Alvarez of Matagalpa, along with six priests and six lay Catholics were not allowed to leave the diocesan offices to preside over the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the local cathedral.
The scene was captured in a video widely shared on social media, in which the bishop is seen kneeling down with his hands up and explaining that authorities hadn’t given permission to go to the cathedral.
A second video showed Bishop Alvarez holding a monstrance with the Eucharist in the street and a policeman blocking him. Bishop Alvarez coordinated a network of five Catholic radio stations that the Nicaraguan government shut down earlier this week, because of their allegedly critical views of the administration of President Ortega.
Despite attempts to mediate in the crisis, bishops were ultimately banned from the dialogue and relations further worsened after the controversial 2021 elections which confirmed President Ortega, amid allegations of fraud and the political persecution of rival presidential candidate.
The Church has been the target of nearly 200 attacks and desecrations, as well as harassment and intimidations of bishops and priests. In 2019, Managua Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez was forced to leave the Diocese of Managua at Pope Francis’s request after receiving several death threats.