A bishop forced to pay protection money to use his own cathedral is the latest example of why, for the eighth year running, Mexico is considered the most dangerous country to be a Catholic priest.
The Catholic Media Centre’s latest annual report says at least 15 priest have been murdered in the past three years alone, while there have been a total of 61 recorded attacks on Catholic priests in the past 26 years. Drug cartels are blamed.
In March, World Watch Monitor reported that cartels charging church leaders “taxes” is now “very common”. Dagoberto Sosa Arriaga, bishop of Tlapa in southern Mexico’s Guerrero state, is the latest example – forced to pay criminals to ensure the undisturbed use of his cathedral, as Milenio reported on 28 May. Meanwhile, another Guerrero bishop, Maximino Martínez Miranda from Ciudad Altamirano, was recently stopped by an armed group which commandeered his vehicle.