Recently two priests in Mexico were kidnapped and killed.
Now I read that another priest in Mexico is missing.
Another Catholic priest in Mexico kidnapped, remains missing
Coming on the heels of the kidnapping and murder of two Catholic priests in Mexico over the weekend, a third one was reportedly taken from his church on Monday and remains missing.
Father José Alfredo López Guillen of the state of Michoacán, one of the most violent zones in the country, reportedly was taken on Monday by people who remain unknown. Items from the parochial house and his car are also missing.
The news about the kidnapping was shared by Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda of the diocese of Morelia, the capital of Michoacán. His diocese published a video through YouTube and Twitter, where the cardinal says: “We ask God that his integrity, his life, are respected, so that he can soon go back to his ministry.”
Suárez Inda, created cardinal by Pope Francis in 2015, also prayed for peace, respect for life and the conversion of those who spend their lives doing wrong to others.
“This barbarity is in no way justified,” he said.
Michoacán has long suffered the consequences of organized crime and drug trade, and the disappearance of López Guillen is far from being an isolated case.
Fathers Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Jose Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz had been kidnapped last week in Veracruz, a region also marred by drug trade and organized crime, and found murdered on Monday, the same day the priest from Michoacán went missing.
The CMC also said in 2015 there was a decrease in the number of priests killed, from six in the year before to two. [Gosh! A decrease!] However, it also said that some 520 priests had been victims of extortion during the year. The fate of Father Carlos Ornelos Puga, who disappeared in November 2013 from La Victoria, Tamaulipas, and Father Santiago Alvarez Figueroa, who disappeared in December 2012 in Zamora, Michoacan, remained unknown.
But priests are not the only targets. Last June three nuns were tied up, gagged, and assaulted by unknown attackers in their parish home in the state of Oaxaca.
Pray for the priests who died. Pray for the priest who is missing.
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Unfortunately, these crimes often go unacknowledged, in part because they easily blend into the high levels of criminality in Latin America. Yet, priests are getting killed. These gangs harass and intimidate churches and congregations. For several years, churches have been targeted for theft of sacred images–some of them, centuries old. Yet, it’s all dismissed as petty crime or at least the same crime that the rest of the society is subjected to. Sacrilege aside, I suspect it’s more than that.
I, too, am grateful for coverage of this. From my comfortable upper class life I sponsor seminary students in Medellin, Colombia and I have no idea what life is like other than in my comfortable upper class life. One of “my seminarians” was sent during his deacon year to a beautiful basilica that sits over a river valley on the southern border where there is a lot of smuggling through the mountain passes. Again, I have no clue what that would be like. I can pray though.
Would the Pope be up for the formation of a service order (read laymen) that has Veneration of Jesus and the protection of His Church and Priests? I’m not exactly thinking non-lethal protection—hey are the Jesuits “Soldiers of Christ”? Sword and Bible I believe. This group would be Body-Armor and Bible….Rosary and Ruger….Berretta and Beads…(for you priests, Biretta and Beretta!)…Colt and Crucifix.
It’s pretty shocking that this type of depravity would happen in a Catholic country, even among hardened criminals. There’s a scene in Roberto Rossellini’s “Open City” where a German officer orders an Italian firing squad to kill a priest. They’ve been following his orders for several years and yet they fire around the priest in order to miss him. There’s a moment when you see the look on their faces as their Catholic upbringing kicks in and they refuse to commit what they know is a sacrilege – the killing of a priest. It’s a line the Italians won’t cross and you would think that the Mexicans would have been taught to have the same fear for their immortal souls but apparently not.
And in case you think, well, it’s just a movie, I remember as a child being taught that killing a priest was a sacrilege because he is a man set apart by God for our salvation. You wouldn’t even consider such an act, no matter what else you did. It would like killing Christ – a Judas act.
Mexico has long experience with anti-Catholic government. I think that this would cause people to lose their proper compass.
Blessed Miguel Pro, pray for priests in Mexico, pray for nuns and the true Catholics in Mexico
I’ve asked myself that question many, many times. My conclusion: the notion that in a Catholic country you wouldn’t kill a priest is a fanciful myth. In Catholic Spain, they made hundreds of martyrs during the Spanish Civil War, many of them priests. We still haven’t caught up with their beatifications and canonizations. Italy is certainly not immune from the scourge of priest killing, with modern examples such as Pino Puglisi and Giuseppe Diana, both killed by the mafia. We have an image in mind that persecution of the Church comes from non-Church sources. But many of the great examples in history disprove that stereotype. I was recently reminded of this when venerating the relics of St. Thomas More, who was killed by a King who had a couple of years before he ordered the assassination been recognized by Rome as “Defender of the Faith.” (Although he had broken with Rome at the time of the murder, if there was someone who should have felt pangs of conscience before killing a holy man–albeit, not a priest–it should have been Henry. Of course, another great historical English martyr, St. Thomas Becket, was killed by Catholics.)
Catholic countries and persecution of priests — also don’t forget about revolutionary France.