Kidnapped priest found dead in Mexico's latest church abduction tragedy

Local bishop says it is 'another priest added to those who have died for their love of Christ'

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A Mexican priest has been found dead in drug cartel-dominated southern Guerrero, marking the latest in series of abductions and attacks against Roman Catholic clerics in the area.

Reverend Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta died of a gunshot wound to the head. He is the ninth Catholic priest to have been killed in Mexico over the last two years.

It is the first murder since the federal government launched a special, stepped-up security operation in the area following the disappearance of 43 college students in September, when a drug gang allegedly killed them and burned their bodies.

 

A group – assumed to be local gang the Knights Templar – was seen near the seminary where the murdered priest taught in the days before he disappeared.

"This is another priest added to those who have died for their love of Christ," local bishop Maximino Martinez said. "Enough already of so much pain, of so many murders. Enough already of so much crime. Enough extortions."

Priests have allegedly received threats when they refuse to perform weddings or baptisms for gangsters. The church normally requires extensive paperwork before performing such ceremonies, which cartel members often do not produce.

"At times, if they ask for a baptism and you don't do it, they start to threaten you," Martinez said. "They want a marriage, or a blessing" for a car or a home, and won't take 'no' for an answer.”

The Mexican Council of Bishops said: "We demand authorities clear up this and so many other crimes that have caused pain in so many homes, and ensure that it is punished."

Additional reporting by AP

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