The Catholic bishops of Nicaragua are calling for a peaceful 2021, when presidential elections are set to be held.
The bishops have long been on the opposing side of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.
In 2018, when the Nicaraguan people took to the streets to protest a series of measures by the government that answered with the military repressing civilians, the Catholic hierarchy quickly made the decision to open churches as safe heavens and field hospitals to treat the wounded. Ever since, Ortega and Murillo have treated the bishops as leaders of the country’s opposition. Several of them were attacked, and Bishop Silvio Baez, auxiliary of Managua, was exiled, at Pope Francis’s request, following a series of threats against his life.
According to Cardinal Leopoldo Brene’s of Managua, the bishops fear that 2021 will become violent or confrontational, particularly due to the upcoming polls.
“We’ll have new challenges, Nicaragua will enter a process of preparation for the presidential elections, and as political analysts say, every campaign year risks becoming violent or confrontational. There, we have our big challenge: accompanying the faithful from the Gospel,” he said in late December.
“We have prepared a work program based on Pope Francis’s Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, in order to apply it to the different situations of the country, in order to live this 2021 as a year without violence,” Brenes said in a video sent to Crux on Dec. 27.
“We don’t know with precision what 2021 will have in store for us, but we want to avoid any kind of violence,” he said..
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