In 2016 Mexico was the most dangerous country in the world for priests. The nation earned the sad distinction for the ninth time in a row.  

By Guadalupe Esquivas & Maria Lozano

On July 6th, 2017 Father Luis López Villa, the parish priest of San Isidro Labrador was found murdered in the city of Los Reyes La Paz in Mexico State. His body was found inside the rectory; his throat had been slit and his hands were tied. Father Lopez Villa was 73.

The bishops’ conference of Mexico has joined the Diocese of Nezahualcóyotl in expressing solidarity with the family and parish community of Father Lopez Villa. It also voiced its concern about the current wave of violence that continues to be directed against priests and religious. The country’s bishops urged Mexican authorities to investigate the crimes.

The murder of Luis López Villa from the diocese of Nezahualcóyotl is just one in a long line of priests in the country who have been murdered. According to the Office of Special Investigations of the Catholic Multimedia Centre (CCM), which published its latest report on priests and religious murdered in Mexico on July 6th, three cases have already been registered in 2017.

According to CCM, in 2016 Mexico was the most dangerous country in the world for priests. The nation earned the sad distinction for the ninth time in a row.

The CCM report has documented 66 assaults against members of the Catholic Church for the period from 1990 to 2017—60 of the incidents were described as heinous crimes. Two priests are still listed as missing. There were also two cases of thwarted abduction attempts. Among the assault victims were one cardinal, 44 priests, a deacon, four religious, nine laypersons and a Catholic journalist.

Eighteen priests have been murdered since the current government of President Peña Nieto came to power. This surpasses the 17 cases that were recorded during the six years of the presidency of Felipe Calderón.

Editor’s Notes

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