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Pope Francis Downplays Seriousness of Arrests of Priests in Nicaragua

El papa Francisco minimiza la gravedad de arrestos a sacerdotes en Nicaragua

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Pope Francis said today that “there is a dialogue with Nicaragua” and that the Vatican has spoken with the country’s government. Pope Francis was asked about the situation in the Central American nation and the problems Catholics are suffering during the press conference aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from his trip to Kazakhstan.

“In Nicaragua the news is clear, there is dialogue, there have been talks with the government. There is dialogue, but this doesn’t mean that everything the government does is approved or disapproved,” he added.

The Pope admitted that “there are problems, and they must be solved” and wished that the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, could return to the country “because they are revolutionaries, but revolutionaries of the Gospel and women like them are needed.”

“There are things that are not understood, that are not assimilated, but we must never stop the dialogue,” he added, after describing as “incomprehensible” the expulsion of the nuncio (Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag), who is “a good man who has now been appointed in another country.”

Regarding the bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa (north), Rolando Alvarez, a critic of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and who is under house arrest in Managua since August 19, Francisco said he has not spoken with him, and indirectly downplayed the situation without condemning it outright. “There are many cases of this type in Latin America,” he said.

Last Tuesday, Cuba did not renew the visa of David Pantaleon, superior of the Jesuits, who had harshly criticized the Cuban communist regime and who was therefore expelled from the island.

The pope was criticized a few weeks ago for remaining silent regarding Daniel Ortega’s decisions.

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