“He (Monsignor Rolando Álvarez) is not alone. The church is by his side… We join in fasting and prayer with our bishop in all the temples and chapels of our Diocese,” the statement said.
HAVANA TIMES – By means of a written statement, the clergy of the Diocese of Matagalpa and their parishioners expressed their “sadness and concern over the persecution and harassment that police officers are currently perpetrating against Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, bishop of that diocese.” Additionally, they demanded the cessation of these actions that seek to silence the voice of the pastor and that violate the rights and freedoms of our citizenry. They also took the opportunity to recall that natural, intentional dialogue is the path to the reunification of Nicaragua.
These actions are in addition to the current relentless persecution by the police of other priests registered in different areas of the country.
The harassment of Monsignor Álvarez, on Thursday, May 19, as well as his relatives, forced the bishop of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí to take refuge in the parish of Santo Cristo de Las Colinas, on the outskirts of Managua, where on Friday he began an indefinite fast while the police presence around the parish church increased.
Police besieging continues around the parish of Las Colinas
On Friday morning, a team of La Prensa journalists confirmed that there were three patrol vehicles, six motorcycles and a total of more than 30 agents of the Ortega Police outside the parish, who despite the heavy downpour kept the church in Las Colinas surrounded.
Harassment against the Catholic Church also increased on the institutional level. This Friday, May 20, communications company Claro announced that, by orders of the regulatory entity Telcor, it would remove the Catholic Channel, Canal 51, which belongs to the church, from the grid of cable channels. A source said that the order from the government was given to all cable TV companies. Almost all of them complied immediately.
“We ask the authorities involved to cease this behavior and respectfully allow each citizen to exercise their rights, liberties and human and constitutional guarantees without impediments and fear,” says the statement issued by the clergy of the Diocese of Matagalpa.
The document also expresses that this persecution, hounding and harassment “grants us” the grace to share the fate of the crucified Nicaraguan people, represented in the crisis that our country has been experiencing since April 2018.
On May 20th, throughout the day various religious activities were carried out in the Cathedral of Matagalpa, in support of Monsignor Rolando Alvarez.
They accompany him on his journey of fasting and prayer
“The Church is honored to share in the fate of the people because the church is the home of God’s people” (Saint Msgr. Romero). It is always propitious to call for natural, voluntary dialogue for the reunification of the Nicaraguan family and together, without exclusion, create a nation respectful of justice, freedom, and the dignity of human beings,” reads the statement.
The document also points out that the Church understands that the situation in the country is not the most conducive to expressing thoughts openly; and that the goal of the persecution suffered by representatives of the Catholic Church is to silence their voices in the service of the truth.
They reiterated their support for Monsignor Alvarez, and pledged to accompany him on his journey of indefinite fasting that he began and that he said he will only suspend when the police persecution ends. “He is not alone; the church is by his side . . . We join in fasting and prayer with our bishop in all the temples and chapels of our Diocese,” concludes the statement entitled Your Cross Remains Firm and so Does our Faith.