Nicaraguan Cardinal: ‘Governments Pass, but the Church Remains’

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes holds up his cross as he gives his homily during Mass at the Jesu
AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco

Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes has responded to recent attacks by the wife of dictator Daniel Ortega, reminding the faithful that “ideologies” and “governments pass, but the Church remains.”

On August 3, Nicaraguan first lady and Vice President Rosario Murillo said that Catholic priests are “angry, bitter, and perverse,” according to a report this week by the digital news site Artìculo 66.

“It’s difficult to look at those embittered faces that do not reflect God,” Murillo said.

The following day, Cardinal Brenes insisted that the Church would accompany Nicaragua’s people with the Word of God and not with ideologies, which are passing.

“Pope Francis,” he stated, “has said it very well: ideologies pass, governments pass, but the Church remains.”

For his part, Ortega has branded the country’s Catholic bishops as “Pharisees,” declaring that Christ “called them Pharisees when he found them in the temple and drove them out with a whip.”

“The Pharisees haven’t disappeared,” Ortega said. “They go around well dressed, speaking as if they were saints, yet they are full of filth, with no respect for Christ, no respect for God.”

The Ortega regime has arrested seven opposition candidates who sought to run against Ortega in the upcoming November presidential elections. Ortega seeks his fourth consecutive term since returning to power in 2007 and has systematically eliminated his adversaries.

On Friday, Nicaragua’s electoral council disqualified Citizens for Liberty, the country’s main opposition party, from the November 7 presidential elections, in an ongoing effort to empty the playing field of opponents.

In early August, the European Union (E.U.) imposed sanctions on Rosario Murillo along with seven other senior Nicaraguan officials accused of serious human rights violations or undermining democracy.

The sanctions, which include freezing assets and barring travel to Europe, “are targeted at individuals and are designed in this way not to harm the Nicaraguan population or the Nicaraguan economy,” the E.U. stated.


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