The Nicaraguan authorities have recently undertaken incredible and intolerable measures against Christianity. These unjustifiable measures violate religious freedom and backbite the faithful who look up to the Church in its capacity as the most noble institution that preaches the divine teachings which disseminates the message of the Holy Bible with the destination to rectify people’s path in life as well as to take them by the hand and the mind to the shores of spiritual satisfaction and reconciliation with the Prince of Peace.
The year 2022 included the arrest of, forced into exile, and verbally attacks against priests and bishops. On August 19, police forcibly entered the diocesan headquarters in the northern town of Matagalpa and detained without an arrest warrant Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez, six clergy members, and a layman who had been under de facto house arrest for more than two weeks.
According to media reports, Nicaraguan authorities arbitrarily detained at least 11 clergy, including Bishop Álvarez, during the year and arrested two priests for violent crimes and convicted them in proceedings that included violations of due process. The government withheld passports from Nicaraguan priests, expelled Catholic clergy, nuns, and the Holy See’s Apostolic Nuncio from the country, and forced others into exile. The violence and brutal persecution against the Catholic Church has caused the exile of at least 55 priests.
Among the other shameful measure taken by the Nicaraguan authorities is shutting down the Immaculate Conception Catholic University in Managua, under the determination of an alleged “voluntary dissolution”. The university was run by the Archdiocese of Managua, and had offered philosophical and theological formation for seminarians. Furthermore, the Nicaraguan authorities seized the Jesuit-run Central American University, alleging that the school was a “center of terrorism.”
These precipitous and preposterous measures will ultimately boomerang because they counter logic, namely freedom of religion and practice. Such measures will not diminish the noble and historic role of the Catholic Church at the global level. It is important in this regard that such indiscriminate purging of Catholic clergy in Nicaragua creates severe spiritual vacuum that causes irreparable damage over time.
On the other hand, human rights defender Ms. Bianca Jagger has accused the Nicaraguan authorities of creating a spiritual vacuum in the country by its purge of Catholic clergy in the course of her reference to the January 14, 2024 expulsion of two bishops, 15 priests and two seminarians to the Vatican. She said that a total of 203 priests and seminarians have been exiled since mass protests against the government in April 2018. The expulsions included eight clergy in a group of 222 prisoners of conscience released and forcibly exiled to the United States in February 2023.
The clergy have all the times been instruments in the hands of God as they hand over themselves to God and fulfill a mission for and of the Kingdom of God. They are highly venerated for the divine services they provide to satisfy people's spiritual needed.
The Catholic Church in Nicaragua has all the time been playing a constructive role in the field of education as well as fulfilling the spiritual needs of the society by instituting the divine teaching of the Holy Bible.
A stark message is being painted of the brutality committed against the Church which will definitely stand firm in its mission to spread the Gospel's message of hope and mercy as well as to uphold justice and support the marginalized. The faithful are urged not to succumb to fear or silence but to continue to embody the courage and conviction that their faith demands.
History teaches us that there is nothing constant in the world. World events change constantly and unexpected things happen.
The events taking place in Nicaragua are just reminiscent of the events mentioned in (Acts 9: 3-5). The Holy Bible states with relevant to Saul, “Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you Lord?” and he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
The current status quo will ultimately be reversed, the Holy Spirit will engulf Nicaragua, and restore the divine message expressed by the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, Jesus address the faithful saying, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)