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Quotes and news

Nicaragua: bishop attacked; church besieged

Last week was a bad one for the Church in Nicaragua which suffered more incidents of violence.

Bishop Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara of Esteli, who was returning home after celebrating Mass, was attacked in his car at a police checkpoint in Nindiri, about 15 miles southeast of Managua. His car was shot at and its tyres and windows were damaged. Mgr Mata had to take shelter in a house. Supporters of President Daniel Ortega surrounded the house and verbally hassled the bishop for over 90 minutes. He was only able to leave the house through the intervention of the Archdiocese of Managua, which asked the government to send general commissioner Ramon Avellan to guarantee the bishop’s physical safety. Bishop Mata returned to Esteli by cover of darkness.

Last Sunday, Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano of Managua said a group of police and paramilitaries had entered a rectory and stole several objects.

In Managua, around 150 student protesters who were besieged for a day in the Divine Mercy parish on July 13 were only able to leave the following day after an intervention by the country’s bishops. Two student protesters died in the church from fire by the paramilitaries.

‘Shame on our country’

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has des­cribed the UK government’s “very hard” treatment of asylum seekers as “a shame on our country”. He added: “It cannot be right that a person is left in this limbo for 10 or more years in a country as sophisticated and as affluent as ours”.

During a visit to the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Wapping, east London, recorded by the BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, the Archbishop of Westminster said: “If you’re here for 10 years and you can’t have a residence, you can’t study, you can’t work, you have no income, it’s as if you are being told you are a ‘non-person’ and it’s that darkness that we have listened to this afternoon. I can think of no other word than to say it is a shame on our country.”

Nuns in Aleppo live in ‘heroic situation’

Four Carmelite nuns, four Syrian and two French, in Aleppo, Syria, are living in a ‘heroic situation’ according to Fr Raymond Abdo, the provincial of the Discaled Carmelite Fathers. They stayed in the beleaguered city, said Fr Abdo, to continue their mission of continuous prayer and helping families in need.

The convent is in part of Aleppo that was a centre of fierce fighting, and a missile once landed in the convent’s yard. The nuns shared their food with neighbours in need, including Muslim families.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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