By Guadalupe Esquivas & Maria Lozano
On July 6, 2017, Father Luis López Villa, the parish priest of San Isidro Labrador, was found murdered in the city of Los Reyes La Paz in Mexico State. His body was found inside the rectory; his throat had been slit and his hands were tied. Father Lopez Villa was 73.
The murder of Luis López Villa from the Diocese of Nezahualcóyotl is just one in a long line of priests in the country who have been murdered. According to the latest report by the Office of Special Investigations of the Catholic Multimedia Center (CCM) on priests and religious murdered in Mexico on 6 July, already three murders have been recorded in 2017.
According to CCM, in 2016, Mexico was the most dangerous country in the world for priests. The nation earned the sad distinction for the ninth time in a row.
The CCM report has documented 66 assaults against members of the Catholic Church for the period from 1990 to 2017—60 of the incidents were described as heinous crimes. Two priests are still listed as missing. There were also two cases of thwarted abduction attempts. Among the assault victims were one cardinal, 44 priests, a deacon, four religious, nine laypersons, and a Catholic journalist.
Eighteen priests have been murdered since the current government of President Peña Nieto came to power. This surpasses the 17 cases that were recorded during the six years of the presidency of Felipe Calderón.
Ms. Esquivas and Ms. Lozano are journalists working for international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.