07 July 2017, The Tablet

Mexican priest found dead in his presbytery

Fr. Luis Lopez Villa is the third priest to have been killed in the past six months and one of 38 since 2006

Mexican priest found dead in his presbytery

Mexican police are investigating the death of a priest found dead in his presbytery yesterday evening. 

Fr. Luis Lopez Villa, a 71-year-old parish priest from San Isidro Labrador, Mexico State, was found yesterday bound and with two stab wounds – one in the chest and another in the neck – in his home.

The killing is thought to have taken place around 8pm local time, with the body being found shortly afterwards.

Fr. Luis is the third priest to have been murdered in the past six months and one of 38 since 2006.

The assailants, who are yet to be identified, are suspected of having entered the presbytery sometime in the evening, then attacking Fr. Luis.

The suspects reportedly made some noise, waking up the neighbours who then found the priest’s body and reported the incident to the local police.

An investigation has been launched by the Mexican authorities, though little has been uncovered so far.

Some in Mexico claim that priests are often seen as “targets” for local drug lords and gangs since they often are amongst the most vocal critics of the country’s black-market economy.

However, no links have yet been made between local gangs and the murder of Fr. Luis.

The archbishop of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, condemned the murder and urged authorities to ensure that “this heinous crime does not go unpunished.”

News of this murder comes as Mexico faces its most recent bout of violence amongst gangs and the state.

In February of last year, Pope Francis visited the Latin American country in what many considered a historic tour.

The Argentine pontiff, while he was in the country, implored those listening to be “disciples” and not “assassins.”

“It is a lie,” Francis added, “to believe that the only way to live, or to be young, is to entrust oneself to drug dealers or others who do nothing but sow destruction and death.”

PICTURE: Confiscated bullets are seen Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in this 2012 file photo. After Father Luis Lopez Villa, 71, was murdered in suburban Mexico City on 5 July, Auxiliary Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, secretary-general of the Mexican bishops' conference, told local media that priests are worried about the alarming rate of violence against them



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