A second priest has been murdered in Mexico in the space of a week.
Fr Juan Miguel Contreras Garcia, 33, died of gunshot wounds on Friday April 20 outside Saint Pio of Pietrelcina church, Guadalajara, Jalisco State, reported authorities.
Fr Contreras’s murder is the second murder of a priest in Mexico in less than a week. Fr Rubén Alcántara Díaz, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Cuautitlán Izcalli, was stabbed to death inside a church on April 18.
The Attorney General’s Office of Jalisco State reported that they believed Fr Contreras was attacked by to men who “entered the sacristy of the parish and straight away attacked the victim, fleeing afterwards in a compact vehicle.” It was reported Fr Contreras was hearing a confession.
This brings the number of priests murdered in Mexico to 23 in the last six years. Bishop Alfonso Miranda, secretary general of the Mexican Bishops Conference, expressed condolences on Twitter for Fr Alcántara Diaz and “all the victims of the enormous amount of violence in Mexico. God help us.”
Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega, the Archbishop of Guadalajara released a statement imploring “those who despise and take away life for any cause, to let the kindly face of God look upon you to not only lay down your weapons but also hatred, resentment, vengeance and every destructive sentiment.”
Mexico continues to suffer a wave of drug-related violence with several well-known tourist destinations suffering gruesome murders in recent weeks.