Another Catholic priest has been murdered in Mexico, the country’s bishops revealed.
The death of Felipe Altamirano Carrillo, an indigenous priest in the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast, brings the total number killed to 32 since 2006, according to the Catholic Herald.
He is the second priest to be killed this year in Mexico after another was found dead in the northern state of Coahuila in January.
The deaths are part of an alarming trend of violence towards ministers with 52 killed since 1990 and at least 17 since 2012.
They may be a victim of a general increase in violence with some experts pointing out a spike in priest killings in 2006 coincided with a wholesale increase in casualties as the Mexican military began its attempt to crush drug-related violence. ‘Priests are not the only martyrs in Mexico,’ said one missionary working in Mexico.
Jorge Eugenio Hernandez Trasloheros, a professor in Latin American studies at the University of Mexico, told Christian Today in a previous interview it was ‘not strange that priests suffer the same fate of the people’. He said sometimes priests were targeted because of money within the parish alms system but more often priests were ‘very tight to the people’ and the killings stoked fear.
But Omar Sotelo, a priest and director of Mexico’s Catholic Multimedia Centre (Centro Católico Multimedial – CCM) , said clergy attract particular violence because they preach against injustice and violence. ‘They’re defending migrants, they’re against drug trafficking,’ he said when his report was launched in February 2016.
‘And the priests often know who the criminals are, ‘having seen them grow up in the towns. Eventually, some criminals can see that as a threat’ the priest said.