Living in constant fear

Living in constant fear

Mexico: Churchmen are murdered again and again © Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Disappeared priests, assassinations in church services and killed clergy: The Catholic Church does not have an easy time of it in Mexico. The Catholic Church in Mexico has expressed deep concern about the increasing violence in the country.

The church in Mexico accuses the political class of its country of deep involvement in drug-related crime and organized crime. Complicity takes place at all levels and justifies the designation of a downright "narco-politics," says the editorial of the capital's church newspaper "Desde la fe," which is considered the unofficial mouthpiece of the bishops.

Although violent and drug-related crime across the country has worsened in recent weeks, there has been no response from the government to combat the situation. According to the church newspaper, corruption is rampant in all authorities because politicians have simply resigned themselves to the presence of drug gangs and downplay problems.

Drug wars

According to the article, the situation is particularly dire in the state of Tamaulipas on the border with the U.S. There, drug cartels are currently waging a real war for territory; in the prison of the city of Reynosa, there are uncontrollable gun battles. The situation is similar in the south: In the state of Veracruz, there were 620 violent murders in the first four months of the year. Intimidation and mistreatment of citizens, who are completely unprotected, are added to the daily savage executions.

The newspaper announced its own peace missions of moral authorities from the ranks of the church. A meeting of the bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, Salvador Rangel Mendoza, with the cartel leaders of his region at the end of May caused a stir. This was about the safety of the population and the priests.

Many attacks on priests in Mexico

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for priests. There are often death threats. Many priests – especially in remote communities – lived under constant fear. The cartels exert great prere on them, partly because the Catholic Church is considered one of the last institutions in the Mexican conflict regions that cannot be corrupted. The constant prere makes it impossible for priests and religious to do their work. For example, they are forbidden to address the misery of drug trafficking or the activities of the cartels, the bishop writes. "Poverty and misery are a fertile field for crime and corruption."

At least 14 priests, a seminarian and a sexton have been killed since the beginning of 2013. Two other clergymen are believed to be missing. As recently as mid-May, a knife attack was carried out on a priest in Mexico City Cathedral, who suffered life-threatening injuries. The cartels put a lot of prere on them. This makes their work impossible. They are forbidden to address the plight of the drug trade.

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