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Rubio Urges Pope Francis to Call for Immediate Release of Bishop Álvarez

Dec 13, 2023 | Press Releases

Recent reporting indicates that Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos has endured torture as he remains unjustly detained under the criminal and illegitimate Ortega-Murillo regime in Nicaragua. Bishop Álvarez is a pillar of faith for Nicaragua’s Catholic community for his unwavering defense of the Catholic faith and Church. Earlier this year, he was given the option of being forced into exile and renouncing his nationality, but refused to leave Nicaragua.  

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Pope Francis urging His Holiness to request the immediate release of Bishop Álvarez. 

  • “I humbly ask that you intercede for the release of Bishop Álvarez and the right to worship for all Catholics in Nicaragua. I endeavor to follow your counsel to take refuge in the Word of God and pray for those in Nicaragua who are persecuted for their faith.”

The full text of the letter is below.  

Your Holiness:

I come before you humbled by the grace and hope that you bring to our Church. In this spirit, I respectfully write in my capacity as a U.S. Senator, and as a person of faith, to express my utmost concern over the unjust treatment of Bishop José Álvarez Lagos in Nicaragua. Your Holiness, please allow me to respectfully convey my concerns regarding Bishop Álvarez’ inhumane treatment and my earnest wish that you enhance your efforts to seek his immediate and unconditional release.

As you know, Bishop Álvarez has been a loyal shepherd of the Catholic faith and the essential dignity of all human life in Nicaragua, since his ordination in 1994. He has used his ministry to call for the respect of fundamental, God given human rights in his country, which led the Ortega regime to view the Catholic Church as a threat to its illegitimate rule. The regime has moved to prevent the faithful community from celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, censured Catholic radio stations, and detained Bishop Álvarez. At the beginning of this year, he was offered the chance to join the 222 Nicaraguan political prisoners who were forced into exiled to the United States if he would agree to renounce his Nicaraguan citizenship. It is a testament to the courage of Catholics everywhere that Bishop Álvarez refused this offer in order to continue to courageously stand with those in Nicaragua that remain unjustly detained. I appreciate your own words of support for Bishop Álvarez after your Angelus address in August 2022, where you expressed your “concern and sorrow, the situation that has developed in Nicaragua.”

It saddens me that the situation in Nicaragua has not improved. In February 2023, Bishop Álvarez was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison on fabricated charges of treason. Evidence has since been revealed that strongly suggest that Bishop Álvarez has endured torture at the hands of the Ortega regime. I humbly ask that you intercede for the release of Bishop Álvarez and the right to worship for all Catholics in Nicaragua. I endeavor to follow your counsel to take refuge in the Word of God and pray for those in Nicaragua who are persecuted for their faith.

Your Holiness, I pray for you and the Holy See in your deliberations. I thank you for your consideration and taking the time to hear my concerns.

 Sincerely,