Jesuit priests shot dead in church in Mexico

Fr Javier Campos Morales SJ (left) and Fr Joaquín César Mora Salazar SJ (CNA/Mexican Jesuits)

The Jesuits of Mexico have announced that two of their priests were killed on Monday inside a church in a mountainous region of Chihuahua state. Source: CNA.

Fr Javier Campos Morales and Fr Joaquín César Mora Salazar had served as Jesuit priests for nearly a century combined. The gunmen who carried out the June 20 attack on the church in Cerocahui also took their bodies.

“We condemn these violent acts, we demand justice and the recovery of the bodies of our brothers who were taken from the church by armed persons,” a statement released Wednesday in Spanish from the Mexican Jesuits reads.

“We trust that the testimonies of Christian life of our dear Javier and Joaquín continue to inspire men and women to give themselves in the service of the most vulnerable. Rest in peace.”

According to the Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office, both priests tried to protect a person who sought refuge in the church while being chased by an armed man, El Sol de Mexico newspaper reported. The chaser reportedly shot and killed all three men.

Luis Gerardo Moro Madrid SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits of Mexico, condemned the killings and said they are “working with the federal and state authorities to ensure the safety” of the parish’s two remaining priests.

At his general audience yesterday, Pope Francis expressed his “sorrow and dismay” at the killing of his Jesuit “brothers” and the lay man.

“How many killings in Mexico,” he said before thousands of pilgrims. “I am close with affection and prayer to the Catholic community affected by this tragedy. Once again, I repeat that violence does not solve problems, but increases unnecessary suffering.”

FULL STORY

Two Jesuit priests killed in a church in Mexico (By Jonah McKeown, CNA)

Pope Francis mourns Catholic priests killed in Mexico (By Hannah Brockhaus, CNA

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