Cardinal Hollerich | Guy Wolff / Église catholique à Luxembourg CC BY 3.0
The President of COMECE has expressed the solidarity of Europe’s Bishops with the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, reaffirming their commitment to promote freedom, democracy, and justice in the country.
In his letter, Cardinal Hollerich repeated demands for the release of Bishop Rolando Álvarez and those who were detained alongside him. Bishop Álvarez was taken into custody with several priests, seminarians and laypeople in August. He has since been charged with conspiracy by the Nicaraguan authorities. The crackdown against the local Church is part of a broader climate of oppression and human rights abuses.
Last year, speaking on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales, Bishop Declan Lang stated:
“Over recent years the people of Nicaragua have endured deepening repression and violations of human dignity. Many have been unjustly imprisoned, subjected to violence, or killed for defending their basic rights. Others have been forced to flee the country in search of safety.
“We are united in prayer with all those who, confronted with these atrocities, continue to struggle for justice and peace. Among them, bishops, priests, seminarians, members of religious orders, and laypeople are facing persecution because of their work upholding the Gospel.”
Cardinal Hollerich’s intervention on behalf of COMECE is the latest expression of support for the Church in Nicaragua from Catholic Bishops across the world. COMECE is composed of the Bishops’ Conferences of all Member States of the European Union. Bishop Nicholas Hudson represents the Bishops of England and Wales as an observer member.