topSkip to main content

Menu, Secondary

Menu Trigger


Opinion: In Nicaragua, Catholicism Is Being Extinguished

By Notre Dame University President Rev. John I. Jenkins:

Nicaragua’s seizure of the Jesuit-run Central American University in Managua on Aug. 16 was only the latest episode in the government’s five-year campaign to silence the Catholic Church.

Described by President Daniel Ortega’s regime as a “center of terrorism” for having attempted to shield student protesters during widespread anti-government demonstrations in 2018, the university has had its buildings, bank accounts and even its furniture seized. If past practice is any guide, it will soon be either shuttered or run by the state, with faculty and curriculums censored by the Sandinista government.

Since 2018, Catholic priests and laity critical of the government have been harassed, exiled, imprisoned, tortured and murdered. The regime has shut down more than 700 nonprofits and nongovernmental agencies, including the Catholic charity Caritas and the Red Cross.

This year, the government prohibited more than 1,000 Catholic processions during Lent and Easter. Priests were barred from anointing the sick, conducting baptisms and celebrating Mass. Even saying the rosary is now considered a subversive act in Nicaragua.

In February, Bishop Rolando Alvarez was arrested and sentenced to 26 years in prison for “anti-government activities” after he criticized the regime’s closure of Catholic radio and television stations. The religious order of nuns founded by Mother Teresa has been expelled from the country.

Prior to the seizure of Central American University, the government took control of two other Catholic universities — Universidad Juan Pablo II and Universidad Cristiana Autónoma de Nicaragua — and rescinded the accreditation of La Purísima Catholic Seminary in Managua. In all, over the past several years, the government has taken over 13 universities for being critical of the regime.

Read the rest of the article in The Washington Post.