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CRUX | Amid crisis, Nicaragua’s cardinal becomes a reluctant national leader

Author: Inés San Martín
Image: In this Sunday, July 22, 2018 photo, a woman receives a blessing from Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes outside the Jesus of Divine Mercy church, which recently came under attack by heavily armed pro-government groups, in Managua, Nicaragua. “We realized that the people weren’t coming,” Brenes said, so many parishes in Nicaragua have stopped scheduling Masses in the evenings because that’s when police and armed pro-Ortega mobs rule the streets. (Credit: AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco.)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – For the past five months, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes has seemed an unwilling leader in the Church’s attempts to help the country regain peace after a civil uprising that began on April 18 leaving hundreds dead and an even greater number imprisoned or “disappeared.”

Despite the hardships he’s gone through, and watched his people endure, he hasn’t lost his smile or his sense of humor. He maintains his wild tufts of white hair, which, under a red skull cap, resemble more the wig of a clown than the usual careful coif of a member of the Church’s most exclusive club.

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