Three priests murdered in Mexico in just seven days

Three Catholic priests have been murdered in Mexico in the space of one week.

The three died in two separate incidents after they were kidnapped by unknown persons from their homes.

In the first incident, on September 19, Frs Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Jose Alfredo Juarez de la Cruz were abducted from their parish in a poor neighbourhood of Poza Rica, Veracruz and were found shot dead by a roadside 24 hours later.

“In these moments of pain and powerlessness in the face of the tragic violence we pray to the heavens for the eternal rest of our brothers and ask Our Lord for the conversion of their killers,” the Mexican Council of Bishops said in a subsequent statement. “From the authorities, we expect an investigation clear up these acts and that those responsible be brought to justice.” 

On September 24, police in the western state of Michoacan discovered the body of Fr Jose Alfredo Lopez Guillen. He, too, had been shot to death. The priest had apparently been kidnapped on the same day as his fellow clerics, but was not reported missing until September 21 when a relative became concerned. Robbery has not been ruled out in this killing as two cars parked at the priest’s home were taken and have not been found.

Fr Guillen’s death came despite a heartfelt plea on social media by Mexico’s Cardinal Alberto Suarez for his kidnappers to “respect his person, his life, that he can return soon to the exercise of his ministry”. 


The cardinal’s prayers were subsequently added to by Pope Francis who, just before his Sunday Angelus on September 25 prayed for the “dear people of Mexico” and that violence “which has in recent days reached several priests might cease”.

Clear motives for the murders remain unclear at this point, although, like other parts of Mexico, Veracruz and Michoacan are beset by violence arising from rivalry among opposing drugs cartels. 

The latest round of clerical murders beings to 15 priests, one seminarian and one sacristan the numbers killed since December 2012, when President Enrique Pena Nieto took office. 

The whereabouts of two other abducted priests remains unknown.