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Nicaraguan bishops, priests exiled to Rome; Vatican welcomes them


Francisco Alday | Aid to the Church in Need

Bishop Rolando José Alvarez

I.Media - published on 01/15/24

Bishop Rolando Alvarez is free and in Rome, along with another bishop and priests and seminarians. Vatican diplomacy secured their release and exile to the safety of Rome.

Nicaraguan Bishops Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa and Isidoro del Carmen Mora Ortega of Siuna, along with two seminarians and 15 priests have been released, the Ortega government announced January 14, 2024. According to Vatican News, the freed clergy were exiled to Rome, where they have been welcomed at the Vatican.

The Ortega regime has referred to the work of Vatican diplomacy that brought about this “trip” to the Vatican for the released clerics.

Bishop Álvarez was placed under house arrest in August 2022 and then sentenced to 26 years in prison in February 2023. He underwent an accelerated trial after refusing to board the plane that was to deport him to the United States with 220 political prisoners deprived of their citizenship.

Pope Francis publicly pleaded his case during the Angelus on February 12, 2023. “The news coming out of Nicaragua has saddened me,” he said from St. Peter’s Square.

He continued: “I cannot fail to mention with concern Bishop Rolando Alvarez of Matagalpa, whom I greatly appreciate, sentenced to 26 years in prison – and also the people who have been deported to the United States.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Mora had been arrested on December 20.

All the released clergy, with the exception of one who remained in Venezuela, have arrived in Rome in the last few hours and have been welcomed by the Holy See, according to Vatican News.

A number of Nicaraguan priests are living in exile in Miami, Florida.

The Ortega regime has expelled dozens of Catholic leaders, including Mother’s Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

Follow the situation in Nicaragua here.

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