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(ANSA) – MANAGUA, Sept 28 – Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega has defined the Catholic Church as a “complete dictatorship,” two weeks after Pope Francis asserted that “there is a dialogue” with Managua.

“Who elects priests? Who elects cardinals? Who elects the Pope? It is complete dictatorship, complete tyranny,” Ortega shouted in a speech marking the 43rd anniversary of the founding of the Nicaraguan Police.

Francis insisted on September 15 that dialogue with Nicaragua should “never be interrupted”, as tensions between the state and the Catholic Church are rising. “There is a dialogue. We spoke with the government. There is a dialogue. This does not mean that we agree with everything that the government does. Or that we do not agree with everything,” the Argentine pope said. In March, Nicaragua expelled the Vatican’s ambassador. In August, Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, a critic of the regime, was arrested and “under house arrest”, according to police, who cited the bishop’s “destabilizing and provocative” activities. Ignoring the pope’s outstretched hand, President Ortega violently attacked the Catholic Church. “I would say to His Holiness, with great respect, to the Catholic authorities — I am a Catholic — as a Christian, I do not feel represented,” he said, referring to the church’s “terrible history,” citing the Inquisition and abuses against Aboriginal children in Canada.

“We hear them talk about democracy,” he sarcastically asked that all the clergy — from priests to popes — be elected by the faithful. (Dealing).

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