by Jules Gomes, Church Militant:
Nicaragua’s most outspoken bishop has accused the country’s “demonic” Marxist regime of persecuting the Catholic Church and of “murders and crimes against humanity.”
Bishop Juan Abelardo Mata, bishop of Estelí, 73, reputed to be the “toughest” bishop of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, attacked President Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship for “using” papal nuncio Abp. Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag in the Second National Dialogue, which was later suspended.
In a Spanish interview, Mata, who “has spent his entire life whipping everything that smells like Marxism-Leninism,” denounced the murders in the countryside and the persecution against the Church.
“Lately the killings have not taken place in city streets, but in the mountains, selective killings and of those who have shown leadership in the peoples’ cry for change,” Mata stressed.
“There is permanent harassment of priests, bishops, and harassment against people involved in the activities of the church because they have felt in the Catholic Church a strength that is going against their plans and programs to maintain power at all costs using only the force of weapons,” he elaborated.
The ailing secretary of the episcopal conference said he had not been able to visit rural communities in the last 14 months “because of the threats” against him since pro-democracy protests began in April 2018.
Bishop Mata is one of the five bishops selected by Nicaragua’s episcopal conference as mediators between government and the opposition to help overcome the political turmoil engulfing Nicaragua.