Pope Francis denounced the murder of a priest who was killed by a local drug cartel in the city of Altamirano, located the Mexican state of Guerrero, and found dead on Christmas Day.
According to the diocese of Altamirano, Fr. Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta was kidnapped several days earlier before he was found with a gunshot wound to the head. The state of Guerrero is a known drug cartel territory. The city of Iguala, located two hours from where Fr. Lopez was murdered is the site where 43 students were kidnapped and murdered recently.
In his message, which was sent through the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father expressed his sadness over the Mexican priest’s death, which he said was the victim of “unjustifiable violence.”
“His Holiness, in expressing once more his firm condemnation of any attack against life and the dignity of people, urges priests and other missionaries of the diocese to continue their ecclesial mission with ardor despite the difficulties,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.
The Mexican Episcopal Conference also expressed their condolences as well as issuing a strong condemnation against violence.
“Echoing the sentiments of many Mexicans, we repeat: Enough!” the letter stated. “We do not want more bloodshed. We do not want more death. We do not want more missing. We urge the authorities to investigate this and other crimes that have caused so much pain in so many homes in our country and that those who are guilty are punished according to the law.”
Fr. Lopez Gorostieta’s death is the third murder of a Catholic priest since 2009 in Altamirano by local drug gangs.
According to Fides News Agency, a recent report by the Catholic Multimedia Center states that Mexico has become the most dangerous country in Latin America to exercise priestly ministry.