Followers of the ruling Sandinista Front of Nicaragua disrupted the Requiem Mass in Managua Cathedral today, of the late poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal, who died on Sunday 1st March at the age of 95.
More than a hundred women and men in uniforms with red and black scarves (the colours of the Sandinista front) gathered in the Cathedral where the funeral was scheduled and began shouting "traitor" against the deceased and to some people present, such as the writer Gioconda Belli. Five journalists were physically attacked and their equipment was stolen.
After seeing films of the attack, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Mgr José Silvio Baez said: "What happened in Managua Cathedral was very sad and a sign of disrespect for Fr Ernesto Cardenal. Once again las turbas (government groups) of the dictatorship show their fanaticism and violence. My solidarity with the people and journalists who have been attacked. Enough with irrationality!"
Although the las turbas stole the journalists' equipment, others present were able to film the incident, and post short videos on social media.
Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, Apostolic Nuncio, tried to calm the screaming groups in order to be able to celebrate the funeral. The Mass went ahead, in spite of chants and shouting. It was presided over by Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, and concelebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio with the bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa, Mgr Rolando Álvarez, who gave the homily.
The poet's coffin was brought out of the church immediately after the conclusion of the Mass, accompanied by the screams of the crowd.
See also: Fr Ernesto Cardenal, revolutionary Nicaraguan priest, dies at 95 - www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39052
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