FOUR young Roman Catholic missionaries have been abducted and killed in Mexico, just days after the murder of three priests.
The four were abducted by an armed gang in the western state of Michoacán, the Spanish news agency Efa reported. Their bodies, which bore evidence of having been tortured, were found near an orchard at the side of a road.
They were all members of Mexico’s RC youth movement Arcoiris (Rainbow). Their parish priest, Fr José Luis Segura Barragan, said on Facebook: “I join in prayer for the families of the four young arcoiristas tortured and killed by organized crime. I hope in God that justice is done.”
It is believed that the drugs cartel H-3 is responsible for the murders.
Three priests were abducted and killed in separate attacks at the end of September. In the past four years, 15 priests have been killed in Mexico, which has the second highest RC population in the world.
Before these latest murders, the Catholic Media Center in Mexico had tallied the killings of 28 priests since 2006, most of them in states where criminal groups are powerful, such as Michoacán, Guerrero, and Veracruz.
“This is not a persecution of the Church due to hatred of the faith. This is the destruction of the Mexican community,” the Center wrote in an editorial.
In Argentina, a priest who had denounced drug traffickers has been found dead in his rectory. Fr Juan Viroche had expressed concerns over threats he had received after his denunciation of drug gangs. He was found hanged in his home, but a court has called for an autopsy to establish the cause of death.