“We Nicaraguans Must Reinvent Ourselves”, says Bishop Rolando Alvarez

By Luis Eduardo Martinez  (La Prensa)

Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. File photo: R. Fonseca / La Prensa.com.ni

HAVANA TIMES – Having borne witness to the failure of both Marxism and capitalism, “We Nicaraguans must reinvent ourselves” and establish a system that responds “effectively” to the country’s reality, declared the bishop of the Matagalpa diocese, Monsignor Rolando Jose Alvarez Lagos. He exhorted all of the social sectors to build a unique national project that would not only allow us to get out of the harsh socio-political crisis, but also to escape from extreme poverty.

During the mass he presided over this past Sunday, September 29, at the Matagalpa Cathedral, overflowing with the applause of faithful, the Catholic leader used his homily to insist that the time had passed when “the destinies and the future of our nation were decided by the elite”, and that the poor should occupy the preferential places.

In his 27-minute message, the bishop spoke about the characters in the day’s Gospel: a rich man, who represents “the injustice of the economic powers of any origin… measureless ambition… the logic of personal profit”; and a poor man named Lazarus, in whom “divine justice is found”.

Alvarez said that with ambition and egoism in “an unchecked race to accumulate more and more wealth”, comes the “instrumentalization of human beings”, used as “an object for my personal goods and interests, or for those particular to my group, clan, family or the elite in general.”

It’s there, too, said the bishop, where “abysmal gaps” arise, “between the tiny group – that probably could be numbered on the fingers of one hand, or if we were a little more optimistic, on the fingers of two hands – that infinitesimal few who are the owners of an entire country, and the great majority of the marginalized, the great majorities on the periphery, who make up the immense majority of the population. These continue sacrificing themselves, even at the cost of blood, to earn a small piece of bread for the day. I don’t even say their daily bread, I’m saying a small piece of bread for the day, which is different.”

Quoting former Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Alvarez noted that “Capitalism and Marxism were false ideological promises,”  “We’ve had: a savage capitalism, as Pope John Paul II called it; and a squandered Marxism, probably betrayed in some of its aspects, outmoded. These haven’t been the solution to our severe problems. Neither the one nor the other. They’ve betrayed the poor, they’ve betrayed the poverty of the people.”

“…We Nicaraguans who’ve been witness to the failure of both, have among our great challenges, that of reinventing ourselves. We Nicaraguans must reinvent a system and a structure that really, truly and effectively responds, not in a demagogic way, not as a barrage of words, not as empty words, but real, true and effective, a system and structure that corresponds to our idiosyncrasies, to the reality of our impoverishment, to our Nicaraguan-ness, so that we really become a people that is a friend to all but alienated with no one, not with the one or the other,” asserted Alvarez.

In addition, he urged “all the social sectors” to build a unified national project, “without excluding anyone, but later gathered all together at the table to achieve a common path that will allow us to extricate ourselves not only from this crisis, but to really and truly get out of this extreme poverty. That’s one of the great challenges.”

Monsignor Alvarez noted that “one of the great errors” in the independent history of Nicaragua has been to try to “import models” with “magical solutions” to the social, political and economic problems of the country. For this reason, he felt that the harsh crisis that the country has been living through since April 2018 “is teaching us all, because it has shaken us all up, and I believe that we’re learning the lesson, the people are becoming the constructors of their history, the people are making themselves the true protagonists of their own history.”

“The times have past,” the bishop continued, “in which the destinies and the future of our country were decided by the elite.” For this reason, he insisted: at the table, the poor should have “the central place, and one of authentic human dignity.”

“…There were those who spoke in the name of the people, in the name of the poor, in the name of the great majority, without our even knowing. Now, the voice of the people, the voice of the common person, the voice of the person on the street, must continue to be listened to. In the heavens, it can already be heard, because we have a just father, and on earth we must succeed in also getting ourselves heard,” added the bishop amidst applause from the congregation.

“Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, we continue to pray for our beloved Nicaragua, so that the time may come, and come soon, in which the Gospel become an existential reality within us, that is, a reality that beats in our hearts to the point of sitting down at the table all together without exclusion, one and another, and where, we insist, that the poor have the honored central place at that table,” he concluded.