Foreign priests ordained in the Managua Seminary have asked to leave for their countries, which “undermines” the work of the Church in Nicaragua, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said Sunday.
“The priests who have left the Seminary, the catechumens ordained here (…), have wanted to return to their countries,” Brenes said in his Sunday Mass homily at the Managua Cathedral, a day after he ordained 11 new religious.
“If they are ordained but want to return to serve [in their countries], they are free and I will give them excardination” (the license to go to other dioceses), because “the important thing is to serve” and “I am not the owner of their vocation”, added the archbishop of Managua.
The cardinal cited the case of a Chilean priest among those who left, but did not mention the reason for the exodus of the newly ordained religious in a country where the Church has suffered the onslaught of the government of Daniel Ortega for silencing critical voices.
Last year the government expelled the apostolic nuncio, Waldemar Sommertag, outlawed the Missionaries of Charity Association, of the order of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and closed several Catholic mediaoutlets, among them the television channel of the Episcopal Conference.
In addition, Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a government critic, has been under house arrest since August and on January 10 a Managua court decided that he should be tried for alleged conspiracy and propagation of false news.