Nicaraguan police banned a procession of the Catholic Church in the capital on Saturday “for reasons of internal security,” the Archdiocese of Managua announced Friday, August 12, in a statement, while the bishop of Matagalpa (northeast) has been besieged by police since August 4.
Relations between the Catholic Church and the government of Daniel Ortega have been strained since 2018 when protesters calling for the resignation of the Nicaraguan president took refuge in churches. The crackdown on the protests has left more than 350 people dead. President Ortega accuses the Catholic clergy of complicity in what he calls a coup attempt engineered by Washington. The crisis even led to the expulsion in March of the apostolic nuncio (Vatican ambassador) Bishop Waldemar Sommertag.
However, the archdiocese invited the faithful to go to the cathedral in the capital Managua on Saturday to “pray for the Church in Nicaragua”. A strong police presence around the cathedral was noted Friday by AFP.
Holy See expresses concern over Nicaragua, calls for dialogue
The Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States has expressed on Thursday concern over the social and political situation in Nicaragua, calling for dialogue that serves the common good.
“the Holy See cannot fail to express its concern in this regard, while assuring those who are committed to dialogue as an indispensable instrument of democracy and guarantor of a more humane and fraternal civilization that it always wishes to collaborate with.”
Msgr. Juan Antonio Cruz Serrano, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer
He added that “the Holy See appeals to the parties to find ways of understanding, based on respect and mutual trust, seeking above all the common good and peace.”