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Rome Reports

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Nicaragua: Masked men assault bishop, intimidate nuncio and cardinal

On Monday, the nuncio to Nicaragua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, and Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez were assaulted in a church by a group of masked men linked to President Daniel Ortega.

Msgr. Báez posted a photo of his wounds on Twitter, saying he had been “hit in the stomach” and they stole his “episcopal cross.”

Auxiliary Bishop of Managua (Nicaragua)

“This is nothing compared to what the Nicaraguan people are suffering. We, the bishops have been able to view first-hand the aggressive, assassin face of the structure that is dominating Nicaragua at this time. Various bishops have been subjected to physical and verbal aggression. Everything can be prevented when we reason, when we act in good will, when we look for peaceful solutions, but through violence, everything heads for a dead end. Thus, the Church's calling has always been against violence, against violence and aggression toward anyone or anything.”

Since April, the military and supporters of Daniel Ortega are oppressing peaceful protests. 

Although 309 people have died and thousands have been injured, the public continues to demonstrate and block streets. 

The Church is offering to mediate, but the government says it will not negotiate with the opposition until protests cease. 

Meanwhile, the cardinal and nuncio are travelling to the most sensitive areas to calm the tensions. On June 21, they stopped a massacre by going through the streets with the consecrated host. 

Archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua

“We've seen in the two wars we've had, where more than 50,000 people died, but there were armed people. It was one armed group against another armed group, but not in this case. It is against people who are walking down the street without a gun or someone behind a barricade, maybe with a mortar. So this is much more intense than a war.”

The pope has publicly called for prayers for the restoration of order in the country. 

On May 11, the Holy Father wrote a letter to President Daniel Ortega in which he reminded that “it's never too late for forgiveness and reconciliation” and recalled that violence only increases division and suffering.