Pope Francis ordained him Bishop on 19 March 2018, assigning him the Titular See of Traiectum ad Mosam as Archbishop.
As Nicaragua faced an unprecedented political crisis over the years, Archbishop Sommertag attempted to mediate negotiations between the government and the opposition. He repeatedly called for a democratic solution and the release of political prisoners.
Relations between President Daniel Ortega-led government and the Catholic Bishops became tense following the 2018 protests.
CNA has reported that the Nicaraguan President accused Catholic Bishops of having been involved in plotting to oust him and called them “devils in cassocks” and “terrorists”.
In November 2021, President Ortega stripped Archbishop Sommertag of his role as dean of the diplomatic corps in the Central American country. And in March, the Ortega-led government expelled the Vatican diplomat, a decision that the Holy See described as "incomprehensible".
“Such a measure seems incomprehensible because in the course of his mission Archbishop Sommertag worked with profound dedication for the good of the Church and the Nicaraguan people, especially the most vulnerable, always seeking to foster good relations between the Apostolic See and the authorities of Nicaragua,” officials of the Holy See Press office said in a statement dated March 12.
The Holy See also lauded the Archbishop Sommertag’s “participation as a witness and accompanying the national dialogue between the government and the political opposition, with a view to reconciliation in the country and the release of political prisoners.”
“While the Holy See is convinced that such a grave and unjustified unilateral measure does not reflect the feelings of the deeply Christian people of Nicaragua, it wishes to reaffirm its full confidence in the papal representative,” officials of the Press office further said in the statement.
Meanwhile, in a March 9 statement, members of the Nicaraguan Bishops' Conference reaffirmed their “adherence and closeness to Pope Francis and thanked the Nuncio, who has always accompanied us in our pastoral work, making the Magisterium and the person of the Pope present.”
The persecution of Catholics by the Nicaraguan dictatorship has reportedly continued to worsen.