Jesuits in Mexico issue statement on the death of alleged murderer of two priests

Mexico priests funeral Funeral of Fathers Javier Campos Morales, SJ, and Joaquín César Mora Salazar, SJ, in June 2022. | Credit: Society of Jesus Mexico

Forensic experts have identified a body found shot to death March 22 in Sinaloa state, Mexico, as that of José Noriel Portillo, alias “El Chueco,” who allegedly murdered two Jesuit priests and laymen last year.

Father Luis Gerardo Moro Madrid, superior of the Society of Jesus in Mexico, pointed out that the alleged murder of Portillo, who was allegedly responsible for the death of two Jesuit priests, is not a reason to celebrate, because it does not represent an act of justice but of barbarism and the failure of institutions.

“The Society of Jesus refuses to celebrate the murder of the perpetrator of this act. On the contrary, we believe that it is a lamentable moment, as it shows that we are facing more barbarism and the failure of our institutions,” the priest said in a video posted on Twitter on March 26. 

On June 22, 2022, in the Sierra Tarahumara, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, two laymen and Jesuit priests Javier Campos Morales and Joaquín César Mora Salazar were murdered in a church in the town of Cerocahui.

“Given the scientific confirmation of the execution of the person responsible for the murders of our Jesuit brothers Javier and Joaquín, we reiterate that this occurrence does not represent the justice so longed for by the Society of Jesus,” Moro said.

“The Jesuits are not moved by the spirit of revenge but of justice, of life. It is with sadness that we point out that the debt of justice still remains for the Sierra Tarahumara and for so many corners of this country,” the superior of the Jesuits in Mexico continued.

“Today more than ever,” Moro said, “we need to guarantee the security of the Tarahumara communities as well as the implementation of the precautionary measures of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the commitments assumed.”

These measures seek to protect a group of three nuns and nine priests who “are at risk of irreparable, grave, and imminent harm, owing to their activities in the community [Cerocahui] and the demand for justice,” the Jesuits had said in a previous statement.

The provincial of the Society of Jesus also noted that “the Jesuits have never been silent about acts of violence and, following the teaching of the Church, we are committed to a life in which the perfect justice of the Gospel shines, which provides for recognizing and respecting the rights and the dignity of all people. During the next months we will be inviting people to preserve the memory [of the victims of violence], promoting the construction of peace with truth and justice.”

“In no way will we get used to dehumanizing violence,” the priest concluded.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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