The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, insulted Pope Francis and the other Catholic authorities, as well as the priests, calling them “a mafia” and of fixing “crimes.”
Their expressions were a response to Pope Francis, who expressed his concern for the Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez, recently sentenced to 26 years in prison in Nicaragua.
“They are a mafia. Look at the crimes that they have committed and continue to commit crimes every day, crimes that they commit for having absurd regulations, crimes that they commit in the financial field because they have embezzled millions. What respect can I have for the bishops I have met here in Nicaragua; they were Somocistas”.
“I don’t believe in popes or kings. Who is the dad? How many votes does the Pope get among the Christian people? In other words, if they are going to talk about democracy, they should first elect the priests of the town,” Ortega said in a public speech commemorating the 89th anniversary of the death of Augusto César Sandino, who inspired the Nicaraguan revolution.
“The people should elect cardinals and there should be a vote among the Catholic people everywhere so that the pope is also elected by direct vote, that the people decide and not the mafia that is organized in the Vatican,” Ortega stated.
The president’s speech was rejected by various social and religious sectors.
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, Silvio Báez, wrote on Twitter: “How much ignorance, how much lies and how much cynicism! A dictator giving democracy lessons; someone who exercises power illegitimately, criticizing the authority that Jesus granted to his Church; an atheist, corrupt and criminal, confessing inspired by Christ».
Ortega’s crusade against the Church began after the 2018 protests, in which the president said that bishops and priests also united to try to carry out a coup against his government. (VOA information).