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Priest stabbed during Mass at Mexico City cathedral

Zocalo de Mexico Credit Sal Trabanca via Flickr CC BY NC SA 20 CNA Zocalo and the Mexican City Metropolitan Cathedral. / Saul Trabanca via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

A Mexican priest is in “delicate but stable” condition after being stabbed in the neck Monday evening at Mexico City’s cathedral, according to government and church authorities.

Father José Miguel Machorro Alcalá, 55, was stabbed in the neck and torso May 15 at the conclusion of saying Mass at the cathedral.

Witnesses reported that it appeared the attacker's intention was to slit the priest’s throat.

Authorities detained a suspect at the scene who had reportedly attempted to flee the cathedral. The suspect has been identified as John Rock Schild, who identified himself as an artist from the United States. He is believed to be about 30 years of age.

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At a news conference, the lawyer of the Archdiocese of Mexico, Armando Martínez, asked for prayers for the priest and said the motive for the attack was still unclear.

"We cannot talk about terrorism, we cannot talk about motives, because we obviously have no significant facts," he said.

In a radio interview Tuesday morning, archdiocesan spokesman Hugo Valdemar said the attack occurred as Fr. Machorro was blessing the congregation with holy water. He said the priest suffered severe injuries to his neck and near his lung.

Fr. Machorro was transferred by helicopter to a private hospital. He was operated on, and is now stable but in intensive care, according to the Mexico City archdiocese.

Masses at the cathedral are continuing at regularly scheduled hours.

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The attack is one of many recent attacks against priests in Mexico. Drug trafficking has led to increased murder and kidnapping in the country. In recent years, 17 priests have been murdered and many others have been kidnapped or assaulted.

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