Pope Francis Laments Sentencing of Bishop Alvarez

File Photo: EFE / Confidencial

The pontiff said that he prays for “all those who suffer in that beloved nation” and reiterated his call for dialogue.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Pope Francis regretted today the prison sentence of Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, and encouraged those leaders responsable to “sincerely seek” peace in Nicaragua.

“The news coming from Nicaragua has hurt me a lot, and I cannot help but remember with concern the Bishop of Matagalpa, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, whom I love very much, sentenced to 26 years in prison and also the people who have been deported to United States”, said the pontiff after the Sunday Angelus.

The sentence against Álvarez was announced on Friday, February 10, a day after the prelate refused to board a plane that would have taken him to the United States along with 222 other political prisoners who were exiled.

Besides the long prison sentence, the regime ordered the religious leader to be stripped of his nationality – after declaring him a “traitor to the homeland” -, just as it did with all the political prisoners released into exile on Thursday, February 9th.

In a public address on Thursday night, dictator Daniel Ortega dedicated a large part of his speech to insulting Alvarez, whom he described as an “arrogant”, “insane” and “mad” individual.

Call to dialogue

The pontiff, leaning out of the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, said that he prays for them and “for all those who suffer in that beloved nation (Nicaragua).” He asked for the prayers of the faithful who were listening to him from Saint Peter’s Square.

“Let us also ask the Lord for the intervention of the Immaculate Virgin Mary so that she may open the hearts of political leaders and all citizens to the sincere search for peace, which is born out of truth, justice, freedom and love,” he said.

“And it can be achieved through the patient exercise of dialogue,” Francisco pointed out.

Repudiation of Chilean bishops

The Permanent Committee of the Chilean Episcopate repudiated the sentence of 26 years in prison imposed on Monsignor Alvarez and assured that with this action the regime led by Ortega adds a new violation of human rights.

In a statement, the Chilean bishops assured that the reprisal against the Nicaraguan bishop is “a clearly unfair, arbitrary and disproportionate procedure.”

This attack “adds to other multiple measures applied in recent months against Catholic faithful and organizations including the expulsion of the Apostolic Nuncio, expulsion of the Missionaries of Charity nuns, exile and imprisonment of priests, closure of different media,” they explained.

“All this amid various restrictions on civil and political liberties and the silencing of the dissident voices of the regime, expressed yesterday in the exile of more than 200 Nicaraguans from their country. It threatens human rights, the essential dignity of the person and religious freedom,” noted the Chilean bishops.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times

One thought on “Pope Francis Laments Sentencing of Bishop Alvarez

  • Padre Francis has the ability to call for sanctions upon the Ortega government, the seizure of the Presidente and his cohorts property outside of Nicaragua. Civil and state action against such a tyrant is needed. Padre Francis will certainly not do such a needed thing. Pacifists raise their voices, protest as they remain in safe area’s across the world, unthreatened and un-touch by violence, unlike the Nicaraguan People.

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