Father Hector Treminio: “You look ridiculous besieging the church where there is talk about the love of God and where people come to pray.”
By Emiliano Chamorro Mendieta (La Prensa)
HAVANA TIMES – The besiegement and repression against Catholic parishes and temples in Nicaragua has become a state policy of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
The president and VP accuse the Church of being coup organizers for the civic and moral support that it has given to the demands for freedom and democracy of Nicaraguan citizens. That is the perception of Monsignor Carlos Aviles, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Managua.
Monsignor Aviles says that police and paramilitary repression in parishes has its effects on the parishioners, who are subjected to pressure and harassment when they attend mass.
“We do not stop our administrative and priestly activities, although we are affected by the fear of the faithful attending parishes. Many worshipers complain that just by going to mass they write down the license plates of their automobiles. So, what affects us is the intimidation of the faithful. This is not the first time, already in the 80s we also suffered persecution.
Since the civic revolution of April 2018, when the Nicaraguan population peacefully took to the streets to protest a Social Security reform, which was brutally repressed by the dictatorship, the Catholic Church came out in defense of the citizens’ demands.
However, in the course of the protests the demand of the population moved to the issue of democratization of the country, with thousands of citizens demanding the departure from power of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
They responded to the protests with an unprecedented level of repression using their police and paramilitary forces. The results are shocking, more than 300 dead, thousands injured, tens of thousands in exile and hundreds of political prisoners, whom the dictatorship has described as terrorists.
“The Church is also repressed”
The Catholic Church has remained firm and supportive of the victims and has raised its voice to the regime, demanding a halt to repression and human rights violations. In response, the dictatorship has hardened its hostility against the Catholic Church and its priests.
“Thank God the Church reflects the life of the society in which it lives. If society today is hands up and repressed, so is also the church. We have no other recourse, no power, neither military nor political or of any kind to fight against an arbitrary repression that we have received just for being on the side of the people or only for supporting the just demands of the people,” Monsignor Aviles maintains.
Aviles, who is also the coordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdioceses, urged the police to stop harassment against the church and its parishioners. We ask “the police to reflect on their actions, we cannot live under a repressive environment. We have to live with a Christian spirit where we can all live in peace and harmony,” Aviles stressed.
Father Hector Treminio reiterates that besiegement will not prevent the Catholic Church’s pastoral work
Father Hector Treminio, priest of the Santo Cristo de Esquipulas parish, which has also been subjected to besiegement by the dictatorship, sent a message to Ortega’s Police: “You look ridiculous besieging a church where there is talk about the love of God and where people come to pray. I advise the policemen to obey God and not men. God does give freedom and joy to your life. That is not given by man. Repent, be bearers of justice,” the priest urged.
Treminio says that despite the state of siege against the Church, this will not prevent us from “continuing with our nature, which is God’s announcement for the salvation of souls.”
“The Church announces the gospel, but also denounces atrocities and the lack of justice. We will also continue to denounce that,” said the priest.
Shocking episodes against the Church
The Ortega governments attacks against bishops, priests, religious and faithful people in the minor basilica of San Sebastian in Diriamba, on July 11, 2018, was the beginning of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo’s war against the Catholic Church.
Armed hooded men verbally and physically assaulted the Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Monsignor Silvio Jose Baez, Metropolitan Auxiliary Bishop, the Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Sommertang, Father Miguel Mantica and the priest, Edwin Roman.
The war against the Catholic Church
On July 13, 2018, the Divine Mercy Church, in Managua, was ruthlessly attacked by police and paramilitary forces. In the attack two young men were killed inside the church. The bullet holes that invade the walls of the parish are witness to the horror of the attack.
On July 19, 2018, dictator Daniel Ortega, formalizes his war against the Catholic Church and accuses the hierarchy of being coup mongers and of occupying the parishes as centers of torture and for storing weapons.
“It is an unprecedented repression. The church is perhaps the only space where people can express themselves. Despite the besiegement and repression, the Church will continue announcing and denouncing and remain beside the people,” affirmed Monsignor Carlos Aviles.