For the seventh consecutive year, Mexico tops the charts as one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America to be a priest.
In the past four years, 15 priests have been killed as a result of violence. Many of them were kidnapped in their own parishes and then tortured and killed.
One of the most recent cases was the kidnappings and murders of Fr. Alejo Nabor and Fr. José Alfredo Suárez de la Cruz. With the shock of these deaths in Mexico, the case has reached the Vatican.
Pope Francis, September 25, 2016: “I assure the beloved Mexican people of my prayer for them, so that the violence, which has also struck priests, stops.”
This violence is not directed exclusively against the priests. Religious men and women are victims, just like other Mexicans that are also living with the growing insecurity in the country.
Msgr. Javier Navarro, Bishop, Zamora (Mexico): “Priests are suffering the same fate as other thousands of Mexicans in the last decade. People who were not involved in any criminal activity, someone who was not guilty was suddenly also hit by a bullet.”
Monsignor Javier Navarro is sure there is not only religious persecution, but at the same time, he says that priests have been the target of this violence for the simple fact that they are priests.
Msgr. Javier Navarro, Bishop, Zamora (Mexico): “Some of them have disappeared for no reason, others have been killed. Priests are people living among the people that have to accompany them in their joys and in their quest to build a better future, but also in the risk of being attacked unjustly.”
Whether these are attacks against the Church or not, Mexico is currently one of the most dangerous countries in the world. It is severely affected by drug trafficking and organized crime and in the month of August alone more than 1,900 people were killed.