European bishops demand the release of Bishop Rolando Álvarez

ROME — The Bishops of the European Union (COMECE) have denounced the “systematic persecution” of the Catholic Church by Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, demanding the release of Bishop Rolando Álvarez.

“We join the voices of those who cry out at the injustice suffered by our brothers in Nicaragua and we demand their immediate release,” the European Union bishops’ chairman wrote in a letter this week, specifically mentioning the affair of the bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez.

As Breitbart News reported, Bishop Álvarez was found guilty of “treason against the homeland” by the government of dictator Daniel Ortega, stripped of his citizenship and sentenced to 26 years and four months in prison.

“Let the defendant Rolando José Álvarez Lagos be known as a traitor to the homeland,” reads the sentence handed down by Managua District Judge Nidia Camila Tardencilla.

“In the same way, let it be declared that the accused lost his citizenship rights in perpetuity, for having perpetrated the crime of undermining the national integrity to the detriment of the State and the Nicaraguan society”, said the judgment.

“April 13, 2049 is set as the provisional date for the execution of the sentence,” added the magistrate.

In his letter, COMECE President, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, said European bishops were following the situation in Nicaragua “with sadness and concern”, pointing out “the persecution to which our Church and some of its members are subjected , especially our brother in the episcopate, Archbishop Rolando Álvarez.

In his letter, addressed to the President of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, Bishop Carlos Enrique Herrera Gutiérrez, Cardinal Hollerich states that Bishop Álvarez and the others apprehended with him were “victims of false accusations.”

It also mentions other human rights violations, such as the closure of Catholic radio stations, police roadblocks in front of churches and other serious acts that undermine religious freedom and just social order.

“As Bishops of COMECE, we are committed to promoting freedom, democracy and justice in Nicaragua through our regular dialogue with representatives of EU institutions,” he writes.

In 2022, the Ortega regime expelled the Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, along with 18 nuns from the Order of Missionaries of Charity, COMECE notes on its website.

“He also imprisoned seven priests and two collaborators in the diocese of Matagalpa, closed nine Catholic radio stations, removed three Catholic channels from subscription television programming and prevented processions and pilgrimages,” he adds.

Thomas D. Williams is Breitbart Rome’s Bureau Chief and author of Coming Christian Persecution.

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