Amid priest murders, religious freedom situation in Mexico draws concern

Mexico City cathedral. Credit: Diego Grandi/Shutterstock.
Mexico City cathedral. Credit: Diego Grandi/Shutterstock.

.- With 26 priests murdered in the last six years, Mexico received a prominent mention in the 2018 Report on Religious Freedom in the World, recently published by the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Julieta Appendini, ACN's director in Mexico, explained that although the country is not experiencing “a persecution such as in the Middle East,” where religious minorities are being killed, they are instead seeing “new forms of persecution.”

The majority of the murders of priests are due to their “getting in the way” of organized crime and drug trafficking, since the priests “provide stability to society,” Appendini told ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language sister agency.

She added that confrontations between Catholics and Protestants in southern Mexico are also recorded in the ACN report, as well as cases of looting churches and extortion.

The ACN director in Mexico explained that the religious freedom report analyzes the right to religious liberty in 106 countries.

“Every two years, we see how each country is doing based on this right which is founded on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights,” she said.

Appendini said the situation in 2018 “has gotten worse,” since “in 38 countries out of 196 there is serious, heavy persecution and discrimination,” which is primarily concentrated in the Middle East and Africa.

In addition to China and Russia, India is also a critical case, where the government promotes Hinduism and encourages discrimination and repression of religious minorities such as Christians.

“Out of the world's population, 61 percent, we're talking 2.5 billion people, live in a country where there is religious persecution or discrimination.”

Faced with this situation, she said, ACN is seeking to inform and raise awareness, encourage prayer, and be bridges of charity.

“The foundation has helped financially, through all the donations of our benefactors throughout the world, especially for the persecuted Christians,” she said.

Appendini said that ACN has provided “emergency aid on all levels. Not just with spiritual support, but with food, building their churches, schools, and with emergency aid so they can survive.”

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

Tags: Catholic News, Mexico, Violence against priests