Pope decries violence in Mexico, expresses grief for murder of Jesuits
By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis uttered these words of grief in his greetings at the Wednesday General Audience.
He condemned widespread violence in Mexico, following the murder on Monday of two Jesuit priests who were slain in a church in the north of the country, together with a layman.
79-year-old Fr. Javier Campos Morales, and 80-year-old Fr. Joaquín César Mora Salazar, were slain inside the church in Cerocahui in Chihuahua state.
They were apparently killed after a man fleeing armed individual took refuge in the church, authorities said. The armed person reportedly pursued and caught up with the man, killing him along with the two priests.
The Pope decried the many killings that take place in Mexico, and said “I am close, with affection and prayer, to the Catholic community affected by this tragedy.”
In a statement released after the murder, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus demanded justice and the return of the priests’ bodies, which were removed by the armed men.
The slayings were not an isolated event, the Jesuits said. “The Sierra Tarahumara, like many other regions of the country, suffers violence and neglect.”
The local Jesuits said that they will not remain silent in the face of this reality that is harming the society and will continue to be present and work for justice, reconciliation and peace through pastoral, educational and social works.
The Mexican Jesuits concluded their statement by expressing hope that the testimonies of the Christian lives of Frs. Campos and Mora will continue to inspire men and women to give of themselves in service to the most unprotected in society.