For the ninth time in a row, Mexico was the most dangerous country in the world for priests.
Last week, in the early hours of Thursday morning, 6 July, Father Luis López Villa, the parish priest of San Isidro Labrador (“Isidore the Farm Labourer”) was found dead in the city of Los Reyes La Paz in Mexico State. His body was found inside the parish house; his throat had been slit and his hands tied. The police were called to the scene of the crime after the lifeless body of the 73-year-old was discovered.
The Bishops’ Conference of Mexico expressed solidarity in light of the murder of Father Luis López Villa. It has condemned the deed and joins his family, community and the diocese of Nezahualcóyotl, to which the parish of San Isidro Labrador belongs, in prayer. It further voiced its concern about the current wave of violence that continues to be directed against priests and religious. The Bishops’ Conference has called for the authorities to investigate the crimes.
The murder of Luis López Villa from the diocese of Nezahualcóyotl is just one in a long line of priests in the country who have been murdered. According to the Office of Special Investigations of the Catholic Multimedia Centre (CCM), which published its latest report on priests and religious murdered in Mexico on 6 July, three cases have already been registered in 2017.
According to CCM, Mexico was the most dangerous country in the world for priests for the ninth time in a row.
The report regretfully noted that a total of 66 assaults against members of the Catholic church had been registered during the period from 1990 to 2017, 60 of which were described as malicious crimes. Two priests are still listed as missing. There were also two cases of thwarted abduction attempts. Among the assault victims were one cardinal, 44 priests, a deacon, four religious, nine laymen and a Catholic journalist.
Eighteen priests have been murdered since the current government of President Peña Nieto came to power. This surpasses the 17 cases that were recorded during the six years of the presidency of Felipe Calderón.