The auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio José Báez, said this Sunday, August 21, that “the powerful who carry crimes and injustices on their backs” are heading for ruin in an emotional homily from St. Agatha’s parish in Miami, where he criticized blasphemy and the fabrication of infamous slander while demanding the release of political prisoners of the regime.
The pronouncement of the Carmelite bishop, exiled since 2019 due to death threats from fanatics of the ruling party in Nicaragua, is known hours after Pope Francis expressed his “pain and concern” for what is happening in the country, where the Catholic Church is the object of persecution on the part of the regime of Daniel Ortega.
“The powerful who use the law to do illegal acts are not Christians, nor are those who call evil good and good evil. Those tyrants who carry on their backs are headed for ruin,” said the bishop.
On Friday, August 19, the regime's persecution of the religious intensified, reaching a peak when the Police raided the Episcopal Curia of Matagalpa and kidnapped Bishop Rolando Alvarez, one of the most prestigious voices of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, whom the authorities are investigating for allegedly “organizing violent groups” and “inciting hatred”.
“We must ask for their freedom because they are innocent”, exclaims Monsignor Baez
Even at the end of the Mass, Monsignor Baez expressed some concrete words about the imprisonment of Monsignor Alvarez, his collaborators, and the other priests of the Catholic Church: “I want you to know that I am suffering a lot and praying for you, Nicaragua, and our Church. I especially want to greet with affection our brothers of the Diocese of Matagalpa and Estelí, who are being deprived of their pastor's physical presence," he said.
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“I know that it is a great pain for them. I want to tell Nicaraguans not to lose hope, and to pray for Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, for the priests of Matagalpa and the others who are imprisoned, the other lay people, and all the political prisoners of our country. We must ask for freedom, we must not negotiate with the person. We must ask for freedom because they are innocent. Let us trust in the God of life and freedom, who will listen to our prayers. We are with you brothers of Nicaragua,” he added.
Monsignor Baez analyzed the reading of the Gospel of Luke which narrates the encounter of Jesus with a person on his way to Jerusalem who asks him about salvation. The answer is that they only achieve it by entering through the narrow gate which, in the words of Baez, is a “gate of love, justice, and truth”.
“Do not forget, no one is eternal, only God”
“Those who exercise power, do not deceive yourselves: you will not be happy or reach salvation by being unjust and cruel. Understand that making others suffer closes the door that leads to life. And do not forget that no one is eternal, only God. Strive to enter through the narrow door”, the Carmelite bishop affirmed.
A police device keeps Alvarez forcibly confined in his residence in Managua. On August 19, Vice President Rosario Murillo read the press release of the Police, whose supreme chief is Ortega, in which they alleged that the decision to detain the religious was taken to protect the “peace, security and tranquility of the families”.
Murillo's speech was immediately rejected both nationally and internationally. Representatives of Episcopal Conferences from more than eight countries of the world condemned the aggression and demanded Alvarez's freedom.
So did the Father General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Miguel Márquez Calle, who denounced the violent capture of the Nicaraguan bishop and called for his immediate release and respect for his dignity.
Reflection on Christianity and lying
The Catholic hierarch added this Sunday, August 21, that before God it is not the same to be upright, kind, and helpful as to be selfish, unjust, and corrupt.
“At the social level, the honeyed speeches that invoke God and speak of him are useless and blasphemous, while words of hatred are hurled, infamous slanders are fabricated and people are made to suffer,” he reflected.
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Baez also advocated maintaining hope- “never despair” -and added that the door Jesus speaks of “is open” also for the powerful, whom he suggests “change their lives.”
“Let the Gospel of Jesus enlighten your conscience, take responsibility for your crimes, and make room for love in your heart. If you want to live truly and be saved, free those you hold captive, stop believing you are eternal, and act thinking of the welfare of all, not only accumulating wealth and increasing your power. Fight not to oppress”, he stressed.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff