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They denounce that the Government of Nicaragua ordered to block the retirement fund for priests

They denounce that the Government of Nicaragua ordered to block the retirement fund for priests

The exiled Nicaraguan researcher Martha Patricia Molina denounced this Friday that the government headed by Daniel Ortega ordered the freezing of the bank account that the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference administered for retired priests.

“The National Priests Insurance Fund is an institution that was created more than 20 years ago by the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, thinking of a retirement fund for priests. It is not proper insurance because it does not cover health issues or other Social Security issues. It is intended as a retirement fund,” Molina explained in a statement.

The researcher, who is the author of the study entitled “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?” and which monitors the situation of priests in the Central American country, indicated that this retirement fund is fed with contributions of 150 dollars a year from active priests, parishes and ecclesiastical institutions, in addition to what is collected in a collection that is carried out in the different churches of the country every Ash Wednesday.

Molina stated that he received reports from retired priests who wanted to use the fund and were notified that the money was blocked.

The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua has not yet officially pronounced on this situation.

The researcher said that from this fund a pension of 300 dollars a month is allocated for priests 75 years of age or older, and 150 dollars for priests who are 65 years of age or older.

“This fund has worked for more than 20 years without any complications. Among the latest disastrous measures of the dictatorship against the accounts of the Catholic Church, they have disabled this fund, in such a way that older priests are not being able to collect their pensions, “he denounced.

“This is one of the most dramatic conditions of the current situation,” he added.

The Nicaraguan Catholic Church has not provided data on the number of retired priests in the country.

THE POLICE ACCUSED THE DIOCESE OF “LAUNDERING MONEY”

At the end of last May, the Government of Nicaragua ordered the freezing of the bank accounts of at least three of the nine dioceses of the Nicaraguan Catholic Church, after accusing them of “laundering money.”

Then, the Nicaraguan Police also ordered Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes to present documents showing the movements of the bank accounts of the dioceses that have intervened.

The dioceses with their restricted bank accounts are those of Managua, presided over by Cardinal Brenes, and those of Matagalpa and Estelí, run by the imprisoned bishop Rolando Álvarez, who last February was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for crimes considered “treason.”

The Police detained the priest Jaime Montesinos, parish priest of the diocese headed by Bishop Álvarez, who is being investigated for committing acts that undermine the independence, sovereignty and self-determination of the nation.

It is also investigating two other priests for “administrative matters” of the dissolved Cáritas Diocesana de Estelí, northern Nicaragua, which Álvarez also administers.

Relations between the Ortega government and the Catholic Church are now experiencing moments of great tension, marked by the expulsion and imprisonment of priests, the prohibition of religious activities and the suspension of their diplomatic relations.

Pope Francis called the Sandinista government a “rude dictatorship” in an interview with Infobae, pointing out “an imbalance in the person who runs” the Central American country.

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