Yet another Mexican Catholic priest has been murdered in his parish – the second such lethal attack against clergy in the country in less than a week.
Fr Juan Miguel Contreras Garcia was shot dead in the St Pius of Pietrelcina parish in the Guadalajara suburb of Tlajomulco de Zuniga. A statement from the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office said Fr Contreras was confronted and shot in the sacristy. Two assailants subsequently fled in a compact car. No motive for the attack was offered.
The attack on Fr Contreras followed the murder of Fr Ruben Alcantara Diaz in the northern Mexico City suburb of Cuautitlan Izcalli on 18th April. Fr Alcantara was attacked, just prior to the 7pm Mass at Our Lady of Carmen Parish, the Diocese of Izcalli said in a short statement.
The Mexican bishops’ conference issued a call for action on the violence consuming the country and impacting the Church.
“We are making an urgent call to construct a culture of peace and reconciliation. These regrettable occurrences call all of us to a much deeper and more sincere conversion. It’s time to look honestly at our culture and society in order to ask ourselves how we lost respect for life and the sacred,” the conference said in a statement on 20th April.
“We ask the Catholic faithful to accompany their priests with prayer, above all, in the pastoral service of the communities they are entrusted to,” the statement continued.
“We ask those that do not appreciate and take away life for any reason to look up to the kind face of God, to not only lay down their weapons, but also hatred, rancour, vengeance and all destructive feelings.”
Fr Alcantara, who was also the diocesan judicial vicar, was accosted by the assailant and was involved in a discussion prior to the attack, according to Mexican media. The assailant alleged abuse in his shouts and fled the scene, the newspaper Reforma reported. His whereabouts remains unknown.
Picture: Confiscated bullets are seen Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in this 2012 file photo. (CNS photo/Alejandro Bringas, EPA).