For the eighth consecutive year, Mexico ranks as the most dangerous country for priests. In the last 26 years there have been 61 attacks against members of the Catholic Church, 57 of which were ministers.
These figures were detailed in the “2016 Annual Report: On Extreme Violence Against Priests, Religious and Secular, in Mexico” done by the Research Unit of the Catholic Multimedia Center (CCM).
Of the religious figures killed, one was a cardinal, 41 were priests, one was a deacon and one was a Catholic journalist.
Guerrero, Mexico City, Veracruz and Michoacán are the most dangerous regions for priests.
According to the report coordinated by Father Omar Sotelo Aguilar, from 1990 to 2016, homicides against members of the Catholic Church increased by 375 percent. These aggressions intensified during the current term of President Enrique Peña Nieto. During the six-year term of Felipe Calderón there were 15 murdered. In the four years of Peña Nieto’s government, 25 attacks have been recorded, 15 of which are priests. The report states that “hate crimes have increased alarmingly in the present government” by 80 percent.
“The last 12 months have been the most tragic in 26 years, as three priests have been violently killed, and two have been abducted — Luis Antonio Salazar de la Torre in Chihuahua and José Luis Sánchez from Veracruz,” the report states.
“The government headed by Enrique Peña Nieto has been the darkest in modern Mexican history,” the report says. The text includes information on the U.S. Department of State’s report “Freedom to Worship 2015” which points to the high number of priests’ deaths in Mexico.
According to the report, Mexico heads the list of the 20 most dangerous Latin American countries to exercise priesthood, followed by Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, the United States, Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru, among others.
They indicated that according to their investigations, during the last 26 years, the attacks on priests and pastors “have shocked Mexico. The serious crisis of permanent violence that the country is experiencing, caused this phenomenon to increase by 375 percent.”