As increased levels of violence in Mexico continue, the Mexican Bishops Conference has published a protocol guide to help prevent crimes against priests, religious and faithful in the country.
The protocols are not intended to hinder “the pastoral activity of bishops, nuns and lay people, but to [help them] do it in the safest possible way,” said Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, secretary general of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference.
The bishop spoke at a June 19 press conference unveiling the document, “Basic Church Security Protocols: Personnel and Religious Sites.”
Advice includes details about how to handle travel, making a withdrawal from an ATM, and what to do if you are kidnapped, robbed, threatened, or extorted.
Violence in Mexico, mainly organized crime, has intensified in recent years. It is estimated that 2017 was the most violent year in recent decades, with more than 25,000 homicides.
According to the Catholic Multimedia Center, 24 priests have been killed in the last six years, including four so far in 2018.
Bishop Miranda said that “the security protocols respond to what has happened in the last two, three years, where there have been more and more murders, not just of priests but also journalists, police officers, soldiers and also candidates…for public office.”
The director of the Catholic Multimedia Center said the document also “calls to the attention of the authorities that they have not done their work effectively.”
According to Fr. Sotelo, “some authorities, not all of them, have been corrupted or have been overrun by” organized crime.
He noted that addressing the underlying issue of organized crime is “very complicated.”
“It’s hard to change the mentality of thousands of people who unfortunately have become dehumanized and have resorted to organized crime to make their way in life. To transform this kind of a situation it going to take a lot of work.”
Full story at Catholic News Agency.