The mayor of Durango, José Antonio Ochoa, described the case as “an attack” from which the archbishop “fortunately escaped unharmed.”
Ochoa pointed out that he has already instructed his subordinates to redouble the “security effort” in the region.
“We will pay all due attention to it,” he said, adding: “We will not allow this type of incident to be repeated.”
The mayor noted that Durango is one “of the five safest cities in the country.”
Bishops of Mexico respond
The Mexican Bishops' Conference on May 22 expressed its “solidarity and repudiation of the attack against Archbishop Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez.”
“At times like these, it is crucial that we come together as a society and reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental values of peace, tolerance, and mutual respect,” the Mexican bishops said.
The bishops also thanked “our Mother, the Virgin Guadalupe, for the protection of our brother Archbishop Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez; we ask God to grant us the peace that we so long for and pray for the conversion of those who cause so much pain to society.”
In February 2022, Armendáriz said that he had been stopped by organized crime when he was traveling through his archdiocese as part of his pastoral work.
“We have already been stopped during our work, because we continue to carry out our task in the places to where we need and must go, and there we will be with the people who suffer,” he said on that occasion.
Priest shot to death
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In a separate incident a day later, Father Javier García Villafaña, an Augustinian priest, was shot to death in his car on the Cuitzeo-Huandacareo highway in the Mexican state of Michoacán on the afternoon of May 22.
García was the pastor of St. Mark’s Parish in the town of Capacho.
The Archdiocese of Morelia, to which St. Mark’s Parish belongs, confirmed the death of the priest, although it did not refer to the crime.
“The Lord has called into his presence Father Fray Javier García Villafana, OSA. The bishops of the archdiocese, the presbytery and the entire Archdiocese of Morelia unite in prayer and entrust this son of theirs to the hands of Mary Immaculate so that the Lord of Life may receive him in his dwelling places of glory. Give him, Lord, eternal rest,” the archdiocese said on Facebook.
According to the Multimedia Catholic Center, with the death of García, there have been nine Catholic priests murdered since the current president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, took office at the end of 2018.
The Michoacán State Attorney General’s Office said that the authorities were notified of the homicide at approximately 7 p.m.