In a recent escalation of tensions between the Nicaraguan government and the Catholic Church, Bishop Isidoro Mora was arrested by police.
His arrest followed his expression of unity in prayer for his fellow bishop, Rolando Álvarez, who is currently serving a 26-year prison sentence for criticizing President Daniel Ortega’s government.
This incident is part of a broader campaign against the Catholic Church by President Ortega and Vice-President Rosario Murillo, who have been targeting church officials speaking against their administration.
The regime has jailed and expelled several clerics, with 12 priests among the 222 opposition figures deported to the US in February.
Notably, Rt Rev Álvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, had previously refused to go into exile, stating he would only do so if instructed by the Pope.
After his refusal, Bishop Isidoro Mora of the Siuna diocese in Nicaragua faced charges of treason, undermining national integrity, and spreading false news.
Bishop Mora had referenced Bishop Rolando Álvarez during a homily in Matagalpa, stating that Nicaragua’s Episcopal Conference, representing the Catholic bishops in the country, “was always united, praying for Monsignor Rolando.”
This statement is believed to be the cause of Bishop Mora’s arrest. The Catholic Church in Nicaragua has been a source of tension with the government since it sheltered students during widespread anti-government protests in 2018.
The authorities have targeted religious figures, including canceling the legal status of the Jesuit religious community and seizing assets of the Jesuit-run Central American University.
The government has also taken action against non-governmental organizations, charging the organizer of the Miss Nicaragua beauty pageant with treason, and shutting down numerous NGOs.