Ortega charges against the Church and the Vatican: “The priests, the bishops and the popes are a mafia” | International | The USA Print

Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo this Tuesday, in an act in Managua (Nicaragua) this Tuesday.Cesar Pérez (EFE/Presidency of Nicaragua)

Daniel Ortega maintains his iron crusade against the Catholic Church. The Nicaraguan president has directed his criticism of the leadership of Catholicism this Tuesday afternoon and has cataloged priests, bishops and even the Pope as “a mafia” that “has committed serious crimes and horrors.” In a national channel in memory of the assassination of Sandino, the hero of Nicaragua, Ortega has affirmed in Managua that “the papacy gave all its support to (Benito) Mussolini, an ally of (Adolf) Hitler.” “The bishops, the priests, the popes are a mafia. Look how many crimes they have committed. Crimes for having absurd regulations. Let them comment on the financial field, for embezzling millions. We carry those horrors of those who present themselves as saints ”, he added. The old guerrilla has unleashed a war against the Church and a fierce persecution against priests and bishops for the criticisms leveled against his regime. The symbol of this religious persecution is the bishop of Matagalpa, in the north of the country, Rolando Álvarez, sentenced to 26 years in prison for a series of crimes that include “treason against the homeland”, “undermining national integrity” and for “spreading false news” and locked up in a Managua jail.

Álvarez is the most critical voice within the Nicaraguan Catholic Church. The priest has been the object of harassment and persecution by the Police and hosts of the regime and has bravely resisted the attacks directed against him from the Government. Ortega has harshly criticized him on several occasions, but he unleashed his fury on the priest two weeks ago, after the release of 222 political prisoners of the regime who were transferred to Washington on a plane chartered by the United States government. The bishop refused to travel, for which Ortega accused him of “arrogance.” That same day, according to Church sources, the police took the religious from the building where he was serving house arrest and transferred him to the La Modelo prison, on the outskirts of Managua. “Let them be free, I pay their sentence,” Bishop Álvarez said, according to Catholic sources, referring to the political prisoners who left Nicaragua. Ortega said that, with his refusal to leave the country, Álvarez has shown “arrogant behavior of someone who considers himself the head of the Nicaraguan Church, the leader of the Latin American Church.” Ortega confirmed that the bishop was transferred to La Modelo prison, in a repressive decision “for not complying with what the law mandates.” The Church estimates that the regime has arrested a dozen religious, most of whom have already been released. The Government has also expelled orders from foreign nuns and priests from the country, while others have been forced into exile, such as Bishop José Báez, whose nationality has also been withdrawn. Various sectors of the opposition accuse the Vatican of not having a more critical stance against Ortega’s actions towards the Church and its representatives.

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Ortega appeared on Tuesday afternoon surrounded by military chiefs, the Police and public officials and next to his inseparable wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo. “What respect can I have for the bishops I met in Nicaragua, if they were Somocistas,” Ortega said. I don’t believe in popes or kings. Who chooses the Pope? If we are going to talk about democracy, the people should first elect the priests of the town, the bishops and the one with the most support from the population, that should be the bishop. There would have to be a vote among the Catholic people so that the Pope is also elected by direct vote and not the organized mafia in the Vatican”, Ortega affirmed.

The president has made a very particular mix of the history of Sandino and that of Nicaragua with his personal history and has compared the life of Christ with his guerrilla and revolutionary past. “I was raised in Catholicism. I was baptized, I gave my first communion and I was confirmed, but I never had affection or respect for the majority of the religious, ”Ortega explained to an audience made up of young people, public employees and members of the Sandinista Front, his party. “What remained in my soul is Christ, since I met him he was the force that moves me and with the passage of time, seeing the injustices, I became aware of solidarity with the poor, with the people, with the oppressed, inspired by Christ. Christ never dressed like the bishops, or the Pope, much less that he lived in palaces like the Pope lives. Christ was an example of humility and that is why they murdered him”, he said. “I am a revolutionary thanks to Christ”, has settled the ex-guerrilla, who has been accused by human rights organizations and the UN of having committed crimes against humanity with the repression unleashed in Nicaragua against the protests that began in 2018 and in which thousands of Nicaraguans demanded the end of his mandate.

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