Several Nicaraguans rally in Costa Rica in February Several Nicaraguans rally in Costa Rica in February  (ANSA)

Nicaraguan authorities shutter another Catholic University

Government authorities in Nicaragua shut down the Immaculate Conception Catholic University in Managua, under the determination of an alleged “voluntary dissolution”.

By Vatican News

News outlets in Nicaragua reported on Thursday that another Catholic university has been shut down.

The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior permanently closed the Immaculate Conception Catholic University under the determination of “voluntary dissolution”.

The university was run by the Archdiocese of Managua, and had offered philosophical and theological formation for seminarians.

Pressure tactic

Over the past year, Nicaraguan authorities have closed 17 other private universities under this “voluntary” clause.

Critics say the government employs this legal pathway to close institutions as a way to put pressure on those it sees as opposing its rule.

The now-closed Immaculate Conception University was inaugurated in 2011, and assisted in training seminarians from various dioceses from across Central America.

The university worked on the same facilities as Managua’s La Purísima Major Seminary.

Difficult situation

Separately, in Nicaragua, Bishop Rolando Álvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, was stripped of his citizenship in February and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

The Holy See currently has no diplomatic representation in Nicaragua, after its Chargé d’Affaires, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, left the country on 17 March at the government’s request.

The 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom, published earlier this week by the US State Department, noted that “a lack of transparency by judicial authorities contributed to uncertainty surrounding Bishop Álvarez’s detention.”

In addition, the Report said the Nicaraguan government had “ordered the arrest of, forced into exile, and verbally attacked priests and bishops, labelled them ‘criminals’ and’coup-plotters’, and accused them of inciting violence.”

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19 May 2023, 10:20