.- The bishops of Colombia have condemned the murder of a priest from the country's northwestern Diocese of Apartado.
“The Catholic Church mourns for this new act of violence that has deeply saddened the Colombian people,” read a statement from the Colombian bishops' conference.
Caracol Radio reported that 34-year-old Father Gualberto Oviedo Arrieta, pastor of Our Lady of Carmel parish in Capurgana, was found shot to death on Sept. 12 at the parish rectory. He had been a priest for 10 years.
The bishops' statement noted that the number of priests killed in 2011 now stands at six.
“This is highly troubling figure that reveals the level of violence and moral deterioration our society is experiencing,” said Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, general secretary of the bishops’ conference.
He urged Colombian leaders to provide adequate security to the Church’s ministers. “These acts of violence should be rigorously investigated and punished with the full force of the law.”
According to data from the bishops, between 1984 and September 2011, two bishops, 79 priests, eight religious and three seminarians have been killed in the country.