Church in Nicaragua expresses disapproval of 'revolutionary Mass'

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Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Baez of Managua, Nicaragua has strongly condemned plans by the government to call a public ceremony a “revolutionary Mass,” in commemoration of the 32nd anniversary of the fall of dictator Anastasio Somoza.

Speaking to the Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario, Bishop Baez denounced the announcement made by First Lady Rosario Murillo who said that her husband, President Daniel Ortega, would lead the “Mass” in Managua.

The event is set to take place July 19.

“As the Church we are shocked and indignant that the word 'Mass,' which is the most sacred part of our faith as Catholics and is the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, would be used in such a grotesque way,” he said.

According to the website El 19 Digital, First Lady Murillo said, “God forgive me if I offend anyone, but that is right. We are going to hold a revolutionary Mass, we are going to sing and be filled with the God of the poor, with love for our neighbor.”

Bishop Baez criticized the use of religious symbols and language for political ends and called it “offensive” to the Church. 

“The Church is the community of faith of those who believe in Jesus Christ and who, in communion with the pastors, priests, bishops and the Pope, live and celebrate their faith. To call something else the Church is an abuse, it is offensive and disrespectful to the Church and reveals complete ignorance,” he said.

Monsignor Carlos Aviles, vicar general of the diocese, warned against falling into idolatry.

“When you expect dogmatism from something other than God, that is already idolatry. It is idolatry to ask people to profess faith in a political stance, in an economic proposal, for you are no longer within the sphere of faith in Jesus Christ,” he warned.

Bishop Baez noted that in some promotional ads, the first lady uses phrases such as “the Sandinista faith” and the “revolutionary faith.” Faith, however, “presupposes that I submit to God, not that I manipulate God for my selfish purposes,” he said.

“The Christian faith is not an ideology.  It is based on the absolute, on a God who is love and who has revealed himself in his Son Jesus Christ.”

“He alone is worthy of man’s total surrender of his heart,” the bishop said.

The use of the word “Mass” to refer to a political event is “bold, indignant and abusive,” he continued.
 
Bishop Baez also warned that the bishops’ conference of Nicaragua could take “disciplinary measures” against any priest who participates in “this coarse and vulgar manipulation of the faith.”

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