The Ortega dictatorship is once again attacking the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, this time by prohibiting a planned procession for the Dec. 8 Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

San José de Tipitapa parish in the Archdiocese of Managua reported Nov. 28 that the National Police — which operates under the orders of the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo — has prohibited their planned Immaculate Conception procession.

“We want to express our deep sadness at this action that denies us expressing our faith in public,” the parish said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

The decision forces the parish to hold their celebrations in the parish church.

The parish has planned a full program beginning Nov. 28 and concluding Dec. 8 with daily Masses, singing the Salve Regina, reciting the rosary, preaching on Marian themes, and praying the novena for the Immaculate Conception.

Father Dulio Calero, the pastor of San José de Tipitapa parish, invited Catholics to “continue celebrating Our Lady with fervor and devotion and to participate in each of the activities for these days, placing everything under her protection and maternal intercession for our country and Church.”

Persecution of the Church in Nicaragua

For several years, the Catholic Church in Nicaragua has been the victim of increasing persecution by the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship.

Lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina recently released a new edition of a report detailing the almost 400 attacks on the Catholic Church in Nicaragua from 2018 through 2022.

A few of the most notable attacks include:

In March, the dictatorship expelled the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, and is currently holding the bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, under house arrest.

Several priests have been arrested and incarcerated in El Chipote, a prision notorious for torturing opponents of the regime.

The dictatorship has also shut down Catholic media outlets and expelled various Catholic organizations from the country, including the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.