Priest Killed in Chilean Cathedral

SANTIAGO, Chile, JULY 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church in Chile was stunned by the killing of a priest in the metropolitan cathedral of the capital at the hands of a mentally disturbed individual.

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Father Faustino Gazziero D’Estefani, 68, of the Order of the Servants of Mary, was attacked Saturday night with a knife «by an individual who was out of his mind,» according to the Information Office of the Chilean bishops’ conference.

«Subsequently, the man inflicted wounds on himself and was taken to the Public Medical Center,» the office added.

The crime has caused a profound impact, as the priest was still dressed in his liturgical vestments, and the incident took place a few hours after the celebration in the same church of the feast of the Apostle James, patron of the archdiocese.

«We are dismayed to see a brother priest die with his liturgical vestments on,» said Auxiliary Bishop Cristián Contreras Villarroel, who called the faithful to join in prayer.

The Italian-born priest regularly celebrated Mass in the principal church of the archdiocese. According to preliminary reports, the attack took place when he was returning to the sacristy, after having celebrated Mass.

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