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Claretian friar forced to leave Nicaragua

sacerdote expulsado nicaragua

Delmer MARTINEZ / AFP

El sacerdote católico panameño Donaciano Alarcón (C) habla con la prensa antes de una misa en la Catedral de San Pedro Sula, Honduras, el 5 de abril de 2023. - Alarcón denunció el martes que fue expulsado de Nicaragua y llevado a la frontera con Honduras, acusado de haber realizado una procesión de Semana Santa sin autorización.

Daniel Esparza - published on 04/11/23

Claretian missionary Fr. Donaciano Alarcón Valdés was forcefully expelled from Nicaragua without previous notice.

President Daniel Ortega’s steady, ongoing silencing of dissenting voices in Nicaragua has directly targeted the Catholic Church systematically for at least five years now. Among his most recent dictates is the explicit prohibition of traditional public processions of the Way of the Cross in all parishes in the country during Holy Week, and the sudden and forceful expulsion of a Panamanian Claretian missionary friar.

The night of Monday, April 3, Ortega’s government suddenly expelled the Claretian missionary Fr. Donaciano Alarcón Valdés. Originally from Colón (Panama), the 49-year-old pastor of the María Auxiliadora Parish of San José de Cusmapa was forced to leave Nicaragua and find refuge in Honduras.

According to sources gathered by Jaime Septién, the priest had to leave Nicaragua without any personal belongings. Ortega’s regime claims Fr. Alarcón organized processions during Holy Week (thus defying the governmental ban) and spoke about politics in his homilies.

“I am not interested in politics, but if the Gospel speaks of justice, I must speak of justice,” Fr. Alarcón told Radio Hogar.

According to Catholic Panamanian media, Alarcón is in good health and in a safe place in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Once there, during interviews with Panamanian media, he explained that he did not organize any processions or use his homilies to discuss politics.

Prison or exile

In an interview with Panamanian Radio Hogar, Fr. Alarcón explained that he was not allowed to pick up his personal documents or the few personal belongings he had in the parish. According to local newspapers, the police took Fr. Alarcón’s personal computer and his cell phone.

“They told me I was being sent out of the country and that I could no longer return […] I did not know what to do. I cried. Some parishioners helped me find a phone so I could stay in communication,” he said.

Septién’s report for the Spanish edition of Aleteia explains that, before the Chrism Mass, Fr. Alarcón was briefly placed under arrest. Officers warned him that “if he kept on doing what he was doing, he could be imprisoned or expelled from Nicaragua.”

Tags:
NicaraguaPersecution of Christians
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