The persecution of Catholics in Nicaragua and the arrest of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, last Friday (19), have further increased the concern of leaders of the Church around the world and, especially, among Brazilian Christians.
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Despite manifesting itself in a few lines in a letter and not being able to meet the request of Gazeta do Povo, due to the commitment of the bishops to the General Assembly, the National Confederation of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) expressed concern about the latest developments in the Catholic Church in Nicaragua.
“We, the Bishops of Brazil, accompany with sadness and concern the events that have marked the lives of of the Church in Nicaragua. We feel deeply united to our brother bishops and to the entire Nicaraguan people. We cry out to the Good God so that peace and justice may be achieved”, wrote the CNBB, in a letter sent to Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, on the day 15 of August.
In four years, the Nicaraguan Catholics have suffered more than 19 attacks and desecrations. This includes a fire in the Cathedral of Managua, the capital of the country located in Central America, arrests of priests, closing of radio stations and Catholic television channels, in addition to the expulsion of missionary nuns of the Mother Teresa of Calcutta order. There are also reports of aggression and destruction of Catholic religious images and symbols.
Pope Francis expressed this Sunday (21) his concern and his grief for the situation in Nicaragua and asked for “an open and sincere dialogue” so that “the foundations can be found for a respectful and peaceful coexistence”.
Persecution of Catholics
In an interview with Gazeta do Povo, the bishop of the diocese of Formosa (GO), Dom Adair José Guimarães, gave his personal position on the persecution of Catholics in Nicaragua. According to the priest, the situation in Nicaragua has been getting worse over time and reached its peak with Daniel Ortega who wants to perpetuate himself in power.”
“In March of 1983 Saint John Paul II visited that country and was not well received, having to celebrate Holy Mass on a stage decorated with Sandinista symbols and suffered manifestations contrary to his person on the part of people affectionate to the regime. It is a socialist system, anchored in Marxist ideas, which uses democracy to install dictatorship, a kind of seizure of power”, said Bishop Odair.
The religious also highlights that the dictatorship Nicaraguan is a Marxist and an atheist, so “it is not surprising that a systematic persecution is imposed on the Catholic Church that does not bow to dictatorships that oppress the people”.
“I believe it will not be a easy time for the Catholic community in Nicaragua until the dictatorship ends. Tyranny brings with it the mark of inconsistency”, he declared.
Brazil needs to be vigilant
With the risk to religious freedom in countries ruled by leftist leaders, Archbishop Odair highlights that “consolidated democracies need to be vigilant”.
“Populist leaders emerge easily and use the simplicity of the people to propagate messianic ideals that manipulate the masses, favoring the imposition of dictatorships as ways of salvation”, he explains.
The bishop also recalls that socialist governments do not respect freedoms, the practice of religion and family ideals. , because the material needs of our people, the educational fragility and the challenges for social inclusion open the way for demagogic opportunism and the manipulation of the masses, with the contribution of part of a profiteering elite and the subservient old media”, he reinforces.
Priests and bishops alert on social media
“Be careful for May we not become tomorrow what we are seeing in Nicaragua!”, was the warning that Father Overland de Morais made last week during his homily to the faithful of the Cristo Rei Parish, in Cuiabá.
The Father Overland’s video has been widely shared on social media as a warning for the elections 2022. “Christians do not vote for candidates who promote abortion, gender ideology and so many other things contrary to the commandments of God and the teachings of the church,” said Morais.
Another priest who has gained prominence on social media for alerting and urging the church to pray for persecuted Christians is the Bishop of Petrópolis-RJ, Dom Gregório Paixão.
“We are in a comfortable situation, although the persecution in Brazil is immense. world, persecution closes churches, expels priests and religious, kills men and women out of a single desire to kill the Truth brought by Jesus Christ, to kill God in the heart of humanity”, said Archbishop Gregory in the homily on the Transfiguration of the Lord, celebrated in Basilica of Aparecida, on August 6th.
“They want to silence the Church, but we will respond to all this with love, prayer and affection. They can kill us, but our blood will be the seed of new Christians; You can shut our mouths, but God will speak for us”, complements it’s the bishop.