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Bishop Ronaldo Alvarez, kneelingScreenshot/YouTube

STRASBOURG (LifeSiteNews) – The European Parliament has passed a resolution condemning the repression against the Catholic Church and others in Nicaragua. 

Approved by a large majority of parliamentarians on September 15, the text calls for the “immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained, including Bishop Álvarez and those detained alongside him, and for all legal proceedings against them to be annulled […].”  

Bishop Ronaldo Alvarez was arrested by the government of Nicaragua almost a month ago after his Catholic radio stations were shut down under dubious circumstances. 

The resolution acknowledges Alvarez’s “important role as a mediator in the 2018 National Dialogue”, who “has constantly called for peaceful and reasoned dialogue in Nicaragua.” 

Furthermore, the resolution also draws attention to other acts of repression committed against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua. These include the expulsion of the Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua, Monsignor Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag in March 2022, as well as many Missionaries of Charity Association of the Order of St Teresa of Calcutta. The authorities also banned religious processions in August of 2022, which was also condemned in the document. 

READ: Nicaraguan bishop critical of Ortega regime arrested amid investigation, Pope calls for ‘dialogue’

The United Nations recently criticized the attacks on the Catholic Church in Nicaragua as well, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressing his grave concern over the recent actions by the government against the Church and electoral processes. 

While international non-Catholic organizations like the EU and the UN have spoken out against the persecution of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, Pope Francis has not issued a forceful condemnation of the injustices committed against Catholics in the Latin American country. Instead, the Pope has called for “dialogue,” expressing his “conviction and […] hope that through means of open and sincere dialogue, one can still find the bases for respectful and peaceful co-existence.” 

In the recent past, the European Parliament has also called on the Vatican “to give full support to Cardinal [Joseph] Zen” after he was arrested by Chinese authorities in May. The EU’s statement may have put Pope Francis in a difficult situation, as Zen has long been a vocal critic and opponent of Francis’ secret deal with China, and has even accused Francis of “encouraging a schism” and “selling out the Catholic Church in China.” Francis has never condemned the arrest of Zen publicly and did not meet with him during the 120 hours he was allowed to leave Hong Kong in 2020.   

READ: Will the Vatican defend the Church in Nicaragua, or broker a deal like in Communist China?