Pope Francis on Monday condemned the increasing repression of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua by the government of President Daniel Ortega.
Twelve priests and a bishop have been arrested in recent days in the Central American country, where Ortega began cracking down on the church after national demonstrations in 2018.
“I follow with concern what is happening in Nicaragua, where bishops and priests are deprived of their freedom,” Francis said in his weekly message and blessing in St. Peter’s Square.
“In prayer, I express my closeness to them, to their families and to the entire Church in Nicaragua… and I hope that the path of dialogue will be followed to overcome the difficulties.”
Since the 2018 protests, Ortega has accused priests of organizing and orchestrating a coup. The bishops had asked the President of Nicaragua to achieve justice for those who died during the protests and early elections.
In 2023, after the government closed the Jesuit University in Managua, the leader of the world religious order accused Ortega of trying to “stifle” the Catholic Church and civil institutions.
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