Mexican bishop warns against mob justice: 'violence engenders more violence'

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Bishop Gerardo de Jesús Rojas Lopez of Tabasco in southern Mexico criticized acts of mob justice recently carried out by the community against alleged thieves.

"Jesus Christ crucified and glorified in the only one who can heal the wounds and save us from the violence unleashed in our beloved Tabasco due to multiple circumstances," he said.

The Attorney General's Office of Tabasco State reported that on April 29, a man who allegedly tried to steal a motorcycle in the town of Tamulté de las Sabanas was beaten and burned to death by the people of the town.

That same day in the town of Vicente Guerrero in Centla, an alleged thief was stabbed, and is now undergoing medical treatment.

According to Leonor Ramirez, president of the Tabasco Human Rights Committee, these two incidents make 24 acts of mob justice so far this yea. Ramirez said that people justify these acts due to a lack of security and mistrust of the authorities.

In a statement released April 30, Bishop Rojas Lopez deplored the "acts of extreme violence" the state of Tabasco has suffered in recent days, including the murders of women and children.

However, he said, despite the desperation and lack of security in the state, "taking justice into your own hands is not the way and the solution to attain the peace so longed for."

The bishop affirmed that "we categorically reject as contrary to the Spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the acts that have occurred which profoundly wound the same communities and all our people, reminding that violence engenders more violence."

He stressed that "Jesus Christ always shows us the way to conversion, mercy and forgiveness; the Heavenly Father never tires of waiting for the return of the son when he has left the home."

Bishop Rojas Lopez called on authorities to commit themselves to better security.

"But we also continue to insistently call on all families to work harder for an integral education that forms values in their children, in order to be able repair the social fabric we live in, certain that there will not be a better society without renewed families," he said.

The bishop of Tabasco invited Catholics and non-Catholics to "hold prayer campaigns to pray to the Lord for the gift of peace, light and strength that come from the Holy Spirit to find the paths of justice, brotherhood, authentic progress and peace."

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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