Priests Slain in Guatemala, Brazil

4th Priest Killed in Brazil in 5 Months

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ESQUIPULAS, Guatemala, NOV. 12, 2009 ( A Franciscan priest was found murdered in a hotel room in Guatemala this week; he had been missing for several days.

Police reported that the Guatemalan priest, Father Miguel Ángel Hernández, 45, was kidnapped while traveling a few days ago from Ocotepeque, Honduras, where he had been assigned to work in a parish, to Chiquimula, Guatemala.

He was found dead with several stab wounds on Tuesday.

Also this week, another priest, Father Hidalberto Henrique Guimarães, 48, was found stabbed and beaten to death in Brazil.

He is the fourth priest killed in that country in five months.

The priest’s body was found in his residence on Saturday night, with 18 knife wounds and several blows to the head, reported the Brazilian bishops’ conference.

Father Guimarães was a parish priest of Our Lady of Grace Church, in the municipality of Murici, on the outskirts of Maceio, Vatican Radio reported. 

He had been missing since Nov. 5, when he took part in a clergy meeting. In connection with this crime, on Sunday the police arrested two adolescents, aged 16 and 19.

Archbishop Antônio Muniz Fernandes of the Maceio Archdiocese said that not only the clergy, but the whole community is shocked by the incident.

In the past few months, three other Catholic priests have also been homicide victims in Brazil. The first, Father Gisley Azevedo Gomes, 31, worked in the national youth ministry office of the bishops’ conference, and was murdered June 15 by a group of young men near Brasilia.

On Sept. 19, an Italian fidei donum missionary, Father Ruggero Ruvoletto, 52, was killed in Manaus by a blow to the head.

A week later, on Sept. 26, Father Evaldo Martiolo, 33, who belonged to the Diocese of Cacador, was murdered in a robbery by a 21-year-old youth and a 15-year-old adolescent. 

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