Following the kidnapping and murder of two priests at the weekend, a Catholic priest has been kidnapped in Mexico.

On Thursday, Catholic officials pleaded for the life of Father José Alfredo López Guillen, who was taken from his Church on Monday and remains missing. Guillen was robbed and then taken from his Church in rural Janamuto, Michoacan.

In a statement, the archdiocese said: “We plead that the life and physical integrity of the priest be respected.”

This comes after two priests, Fathers Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Jose Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz, were kidnapped and killed in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz; they were found dead on a roadside on Monday.

Cardinal Alberto Suarez Inda, head of the Morelia archdiocese, said in an online video statement: “After sharing the enormous pain of the death of two young priests in the diocese of Papantla, Veracruz, we are now suffering our own anguish with the disappearance of one of our priests.”

Cardinal Inda added: “Our community suffers the death or anguish of any of the faithful.” He said that Father Guillen “is a good man, a man who does good, a peaceful man, and so this barbarity is in no way justified.”

Both sites of kidnapping, Michoacán and Veracruz, have long been victims of organised crime and illegal drug trade in the area, Crux Now reports.

Mexico is a strongly Catholic country, with 83 per cent of its citizens identifying as Catholics. However, the Church’s vocal opposition to illegal drug trade has made its Priests frequent targets for attack. Twenty eight priests have been killed in the last decade, not including this weeks killings, according to Mexico’s Catholic Multimedia Centre’s (CMC) 2015 report. The CMC also reported that 520 priests had been victims of extortion during the year.

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