Thursday, January 19, 2017

Another Priest Murder in Mexico Raises Security Questions

Posted by DD from America Magazine and Mexico News Daily  

Joaquín Hernández Sifuentes, 36, parish priest
A Catholic priest who disappeared January 3 in Coahuila was found dead last week half buried on a vacant piece of land in the municipality of Parras de la Fuente.

Joaquín Hernández Sifuentes, 36, parish priest at the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in the community of Aurora, Saltillo.   Hernández’ death brings to 16 the number of priests killed in the last four years. At least 31 have been murdered since 2006

Hernández had intended to take a vacation starting January 3, according to church officials, but when friends and colleagues became worried after he did not answer his cell phone. According to a statement by the Saltillo diocese, a friar visited his living quarters at the parish and found that while Father Hernández was missing, his suitcase and some other personal items were still at the residence.

A cellphone, tablet and computer were missing.

The circumstances of Hernández’ death are similar to those of a Michoacán priest killed last September. Alfredo López Guillén, a parish priest in Puruándiro, was murdered after a falling-out with two soldiers during a social visit in López’ home.



 Mexico News Daily reported that Hernández had been socializing with two young men at his home when an argument broke out, resulting in the priest’s murder.

Neighbors reported that two youngsters took the priest’s vehicle from his home the following morning. The vehicle, a Volkswagen Derby, was found last Thursday  morning in Santa Catarina, Nuevo León.

The cause of death has not been determined, but the newspaper El Universal reported that there were signs that the victim had been beaten.

In and iinterview with America, the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REVIEW on Tuesday Biship Raul Vera chose his words carefully, even as he struggled not to raise his voice in anger.



“We, the priesthood, are part of society; we’re just as exposed as everybody else,” the bishop of Saltillo, a city in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, said. “It is sad to see how every sector of society has now become a target of violence, and we are no exception.”


Bishop Vera, one of Mexico’s most outspoken and respected promoters of human rights, had just given a fiery sermon during his regular Sunday noon Mass on Jan. 15 at the cathedral in Saltillo, following the murder of the Rev. Joaquín Hernández Sifuentes. The lifeless body of the 42-year-old priest was found on Jan. 12, more than a week after he was reported missing on Jan. 3.

“The whole issue of organized crime is the result of a sort of social illness,” said Bishop Vera, speaking with America after the Mass in Saltillo. “There is more insecurity each day, and the youth are looking for ways to turn their backs on society.”

Authorities later revealed to Mexican media that the victim had been beaten and strangled to death after an altercation at the parish , who were seen driving away in Father Hernández’s car by witnesses. A spokesperson for the Coahuila state attorney general’s office told America that two suspects had been arrested but declined to give any further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

The Catholic magazine "America"  wrote ;

"Father Hernández’s murder is yet another blow to a church that feels increasingly under siege in a country where more than 100,000 people are estimated to have died in recent years in an unrelenting wave of criminal violence. Much of the violence began in 2006 when the government under President Felipe Calderón began deploying the military against powerful organized crime groups. Members of the clergy have not been exempt. Since Mr. Calderón’s successor President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012, at least 16 priests have been murdered.

With three priests and four catechists murdered, 2016 was an especially bad year for the church in Mexico. “Mexico is now the most dangerous place for clergy in the Americas,” said Bernardo Barranco, a sociologist and one the country’s most esteemed observers of the church."

Last September, two priests were abducted, tortured and shot in the eastern Gulf coast state of Veracruz. According to the state authorities, they were victims of a robbery; two suspects were arrested shortly afterwards.

That same month, a priest in the central state of Michoacán was also abducted and shot, presumably after a discussion with two suspects. Another prelate in Veracruz was kidnapped and tortured by unknown assailants in November, but survived.

Some of the violence appears to be motivated by the clergy’s work. In 2013, a priest was attacked in the northern state of Tamaulipas, one of the country’s most violent states, after he had reportedly refused to offer Mass for members of organized crime.

Most attacks, however, appear to follow the more general pattern of a nationwide increase in criminal violence and an erosion of the justice system after years of open warfare between the state and organized crime. As violence has exhausted many communities and accustomed a generation of young Mexicans to impunity and bloodshed, priests are no longer considered untouchable.

“I don’t believe we’re being specifically targeted;, it’s more of a generalized situation,” said José David Rosales, rector of Saltillo’s seminary and a personal friend of FatherJoaquín Hernández. “We are just as vulnerable as everybody else.”

“The figure of the priest has been desacralized,” Mr. Barranco agreed. “Violence has reached the church.”

Preventing or combating violence against clergy specifically is difficult, however. In response to Father Hernández’s murder, the Diocese of Saltillo instructed its priests via an internal communiquée not to travel alone or at night, while other measures are still under consideration, Bishop Vera said. In the past, Bishop Vera and other members of the Catholic hierarchy in Mexico have rejected steps like hiring security personnel for priests and continue to do so now.

Mr. Barranco believes adding security teams to protect priests would be a mistake. “It would give the church a sort of exceptional status,” he said, “which is not what it needs. The only real solution is to create stronger ties to society.”

Bishop Vera agrees. “What we need to do is root out the sickness of violence. We need to be a more activist church, [to] strengthen evangelization,” he said. “Society has been abandoned by politics and economics; it cannot be abandoned by the church as well.”

19 comments:

  1. Off topic
    http://www.krgv.com/story/34294154/president-obama-pardons-moreno-brothers-life-sentences

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, DD, here's a sad case of more killings of activists in Mexico:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/world/americas/mexico-environmental-activist-shot-sierra-madre.html

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  3. Killing priest in Mexico is just get back for what the Catholic church did to the Aztecs. fair Game.

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    Replies
    1. The Catholic church did not do anything to the aztecs,
      what facked the aztecs up was all those black death epidemics and smallpoxes common to the europeans that also exterminated the NorthAmerican indian, many survived becahse their mothers were vaccinated when they got pregnant, and others ecause they lived toi f ar from the arriving white men.
      --The inquisition was used by the church and their partners mainly to rob the rich of their property and it worked.
      --These days, modern inquisitions keep up with the signs of the times, condemning and sentencing the weakest because "they can"

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  4. This is bullshit! Fuckin people have nobody to blame but themselves for their own problems and yet they take it out on priests! It's bullshit that they are involved in crimes also. One out of a thousand mignt but most of them might be extorted or executed because they fail to comply with narco demands also. Fuck all them assholes killing priests in Mexico and anybody that protects assasins commiting these crimes!

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    Replies
    1. The drug use, fries people's brains it turns them from capable functioning human beings into monsters, its really sad to see how this stuff destroys communities, people, and families.

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    2. Who cares what fries? The cause of more worse crime is the persecution of the traffickers, stealing their product and money and sending them to do it all over again, because paying them in cash is a no no, the poem is the banks that launder all that money and get fined 1/10TH OF ONE % IF CAUGHT.
      --PUSHERS DESERVE a minimum wage, social security, benefits and to sue for back pay, not to just work for the vice and be put in prison for the bounty whe those on top laugh all the way to the bank

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  5. Its time the pope and all clergy denounce santa muerta and all its ugly followers. Tear down its symbol and let all criminals they will be burning in hell for eternity.

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    Replies
    1. Time for the priests to start mobilizing marches and protests.

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    2. Needs to be done more and more publicly. Its time the leaders of the free world start shouting about whats happening in mx

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    3. 4:12 the leaders of the free world are too busy carving mexico for benefit of themselves and in occasion they caused the "temporary disorder, a classic theme the blame assigners.

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    4. Time for Bennie sanders

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    5. Time fo' yo mama :)

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  6. Don't overlook all the sexual abuse the church has commited endemic ....

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  7. Prophets dedicate their lives 2 speaking prophecies. There's never a reason 2 have them killed. They err like anyone of us. - Sol Prendido

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  8. “The whole issue of organized crime is the result of a sort of social illness,” said Bishop Vera. Yes priest it's social rot consisting of machismo and idolizing power (drug lords).

    ReplyDelete

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