Archdiocese calls on Mexicans to abandon veneration of St. Death

The spokesman of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Fr. Hugo Valdemar, is urging Mexicans to abandon the practice of venerating St. Death.

The priest noted that the belief in St. Death – represented by a skeleton holding a scythe -  is contrary to Christianity. He added that its veneration has become a favorite ritual among those involved in organized crime.

Fr. Valdemar spoke to CNA on Jan. 6 about the recent arrest of David Romo, the leader of the St. Death cult.  The archdiocesan spokesman emphasized that the judicial process needs to determine whether Romo is guilty or innocent, and urged Mexicans to refrain from judgment.  “It would be unjust as well for us to declare him guilty before a trial has taken place,” he cautioned. 

Romo, was detained on Jan. 4 with eight others in Mexico City for allegedly kidnapping an elderly couple and another man.  According to police, they pretended to be part of the drug cartel Los Zetas to scare the victims' families into paying ransom.

Fr. Valdemar urged the some 3,000 followers of St. Death to abandon the cult, which he said is “superstitious and has diabolical connotations.” The promoters of the devotion are profiting from the ignorance of the people, he underscored, and it has become “the favorite devotion of organized crime, drug cartels and kidnappers.”

Christ came to overcome sin and death, “the signs of the power of evil and its destruction,” Fr. Valdemar continued.  The sect’s leader “himself personalizes the devil, which is very dangerous,” he said.

The archdiocesan spokesman explained many people have fallen into the practice because of the Church's lack of commitment to evangelization.  Many of those who believe in St. Death think she is just another saint, “when the truth is she doesn’t even exist."

He urged Mexicans to destroy any images of St. Death they possess and not to fear any vengeance, because “the power of God is greater than evil.”

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