Mexican Church criticises ‘smear campaign’ against murdered priests

The Catholic Church in Mexico has reacted angrily to what it is calling a smear campaign against three priests recently kidnapped and murdered in the country.

Last week, The Irish Catholic reported on the violent deaths of Frs Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Jose Alfredo Juarez de la Cruz in Veracruz, and that of Fr Jose Alfredo Lopez Guillen in Michoacan. Now, a state prosecutor has alleged that the two slain Veracruz clerics were drinking in the company of men who are suspected of their killings, while local media in Michoacan has reported that Fr Guillen was last seen in the company of a young boy. Released CCTV footage purportedly showing the priest and boy together at a hotel has been contested by other media who claim the man in the footage does not look like Fr Guillen.

Rev Hugo Valdemar Romero, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City: “In these cases it has become clear that state governments that cannot handle the drug cartels are criminalising the victims, depicting some as drunks and another as a paedophile, making it look like the crimes were not related to drug cartels but because of some immoral conduct.”