Nicaragua’s socialist regime has banned the traditional annual Catholic processions for Saints Michael and Jerome which take place on September 29 and 30 respectively – the latest in a growing attack on Christianity in the country.
The Archdiocese of Managua announcement on Saturday via Facebook that they received a notification from the National Police of the city of Masaya stating that “for reasons of public security” processions during the festivities of Saint Michael and Saint Jerome will not be authorized.
“We invite the faithful and the promising ones of the patron saints to keep in mind that faith and devotion are a treasure that we carry in our hearts and from there we can pay homage with the strength of the ancestral heritage. in our communities,” the archdiocese said. statement read.
The Catholic Church in Nicaragua has remained a strong opposition stronghold against the country’s dictator, Daniel Ortega, and his communist Sandinista regime. Ortega, who brand the “terrorist” Nicaraguan bishops in 2021, maintained a relentless campaign against the Nicaraguan Catholic Church in retaliation. According Data according to the last official national census (2005), 59% of the 6 million inhabitants of Nicaragua are Catholic.
The Ortega regime’s animosity towards the Catholic Church escalated into a campaign of persecution in 2018 after the Church sided with anti-Ortega protesters calling for an end to the dictatorship amid a brutal repression and numerous human rights violations that left more than 300 kill and thousands imprisoned.
Ortega redoubled his crackdown on the Catholic Church throughout 2022. In March, Ortega’s regime banned the papal nuncio, Bishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, of Nicaragua by declaring him “persona non grata”. In July, the regime excluded 18 nuns from the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. Pro-Ortega sympathizers have stormed Catholic Churches in the past, interrupting Mass and assaulting Church members and citizens.
Since May, the Ortega regime has continued to forcibly shut down Catholic television and radio stations across the country. Seven Catholic radio stations were shut down in a single day in August.
On August 19, Nicaraguan police raided the residence of the Bishop of Matagalpa Rolando Álvarez, Stop he and seven members of the Church. Prior to his arrest, Bishop Álvarez, an outspoken critic of the Ortega regime, had been accused of having committed “sins against spirituality” by Rosario Murillo, vice-president of Nicaragua and wife of the dictator Ortega.
The Saint Jerome festivities are the most important celebrations of their kind in Nicaragua and traditionally span months. They are famous in the city of Masaya, one of the cultural highlights of Nicaragua, of which he is the patron saint. The now banned procession is preceded by a period of nearly two months of festivities in honor of the Saint.
The town of Masaya was considered a stronghold against dictator Daniel Ortega during the intense protests against the Sandinista regime that took place in 2018. In July 2018, Ortega’s dictatorship spear an armed attack on Masaya to suppress opposition forces in the city.
It is not the first time that the Ortega dictatorship has banned a Catholic holiday in the country this year. In August, the Sandinista regime banned the festivities of Our Lady of Fátima as the Catholic Church of Managua celebrated its Marian Congress. Nicaraguan police alleged that “internal security reasons” made the event impossible.
Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.