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Cardinal reveals he was detained by drug traffickers in Mexico

Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega / Credit: Archbishopric of Guadalajara Press

Guadalajara, Mexico, Jun 28, 2022 / 16:25 pm (CNA).

Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, the archbishop of Guadalajara, revealed that last week he was stopped and questioned at a checkpoint manned by drug traffickers during a visit to the northern part of Mexico's Jalisco state.

ArquiMedios, a weekly publication of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, reported the cardinal made the statement at a June 26 press conference.

The cardinal lamented the current climate of violence in Mexico, including the recent killing of two Jesuit priests and another man in a church in the state of Chihuahua. 

The priests were trying to protect the man, who had fled inside the church as he was being pursued by an armed assailant who then shot him and the two priests, killing all three.

At the press conference, the archbishop explained that he was “stopped at two checkpoints, obviously belonging to organized crime, and they demand that you tell them where you’re coming from, what’s your purpose, what you’re doing there.”

“I mean, that’s like the most normal, the most natural thing, but why?” the cardinal asked during the press conference.

“This is due to the deterioration of values, respect for life, respect for institutions,” so it is important to assume an attitude of individual responsibility in the current situation, he said.

The cardinal said that “we must all be aware that, if we do not propose each one in his field, in his place, in his relationships, to be builders of peace, of understanding, of reconciliation, we will end up destroying each other.”

The archbishop of Guadalajara asked the authorities to do their job and guarantee security for all citizens.

“We’re not asking that someone be shot to death, we’re just asking that they enforce the law,” he said.

In other recent incidents of violence in the country, 13 people, including four police officers, were killed in El Salto, Jalisco state, in a shootout between law enforcement and drug traffickers, and the Bishop of Zacatecas, Sigifredo Noriega Barceló, was stopped and questioned by organized crime members.

Mexico is experiencing a dramatic escalation in violence. Between 2018 and 2021, the country recorded the highest number of homicides in its history. The period includes the last year of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term and the first three years of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Mexican presidents hold office for six years.

From Jan. 1 to June 26 of this year, according to official figures, more than 12,847 homicides have occurred in Mexico.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Latin American pro-life leaders celebrate overturning of Roe v. Wade

null / Rena Schild via Shutterstock.

Lima, Peru, Jun 28, 2022 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

Pro-life leaders from all over Latin America expressed their joy as they celebrated the June 24 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the United States 49 years ago.

Latin American leaders described the ruling as “historic,” “momentous,” “a new legal precedent,” “similar to the end of slavery,” a “light in the midst of darkness,” and a “miracle” that took place on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

El Salvador

Sara Larín, president of the VIDA SV Foundation in El Salvador, shared her feelings with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency: “We’re super happy! It’s the beginning of the end of abortion in the world,” she said. “This is the ruling that officially abolished the practice of abortion as a supposed constitutional right: it’s historic, just as much as the abolition of slavery.”

“Now each state will have the freedom to decide whether to prohibit or restrict abortion,” she continued. “In addition, that would impact federal policy decisions to prevent abortion from being financed as part of U.S. cooperative aid to other countries in the region. The decision of the Supreme Court will undoubtedly have a positive impact on Latin America.”

Larín said that the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization “will mark a legal precedent that will be a point of reference for all experts in constitutional law around the world and will serve as a tool for justice for the protection of children's rights from the moment of conception.”

Ecuador

“We have seen light in the midst of darkness! We have seen a great defeat of a giant,” said Martha Villafuerte, the national director of Familia Ecuador, in an interview with ACI Prensa.

“This couldn’t be a more perfect moment … that strengthens the entire pro-life community in the world, where many countries have recently had unconstitutional attacks, unjust laws, and despite everything, today the United States gives us a wake-up call that rouses our convictions more than ever,” she said.

Villafuerte said that in Ecuador, “we couldn’t be happier.”

“We have a recent abortion law that’s a knife in the heart, but today we have received the perfect cure, the hope to rise up, fight harder, and achieve the victory of life,” she said.

Mexico

Speaking with ACI Prensa, Marcial Padilla, the director of ConParticipación, described the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court as a “historic event” that will have a great “cultural” impact.

“This gives a clear and firm signal that the correct path based on science and ethics is to recognize and protect with equal dignity the mother and her unborn child. Thus, it’s a reminder that there’s a right to life, not the right to take life,” he said.

To Padilla, this ruling sends a clear signal to Latin America: “It’s possible to reverse the trend toward abortion in the laws and courts” and so “we must participate in the elections for government officials and the appointment of judges who respect human life at all times.” 

The president of the National Front for the Family, Rodrigo Iván Cortés, also shared his joy with ACI Prensa and noted that now various U.S. states “will be able to protect life and limit abortion.”

“Today is a day of profound joy, proof that human life can be defended in the law,” he said.

Pilar Rebollo, director of Steps for Life in Mexico, said her organization is “full of hope” to see “how persevering work bears fruit.”

“It’s possible to overturn what seems written in stone,” she said. “The truth came down on it with its own weight and in Mexico we can’t give up, because no effort is in vain, especially since we are on the side of life and truth.”

Colombia

Jesús Magaña, president of United for Life, told ACI Prensa that the news was received in Colombia “with great joy.”

“We salute the Supreme Court of the United States with great admiration, respect, and affection. We wholeheartedly support these six brave judges who made it possible to win this nearly 50-year fight to restore the right to life of unborn babies,” he commented.

Magaña believes the ruling will have a “convincing effect on the entire region and especially in Colombia, because the decisions on abortion — C-355 in 2006 and C-051 by our Constitutional Court — have a substantial foundation in Roe v. Wade.”

“Now it will be possible to call into question this jurisprudence that has become a sort of ‘copy and paste’ of the 1973 pro-death ruling in the U.S.,” he said.

Peru

The director of the Origin Association, Giuliana Caccia, told ACI Prensa that with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, “human rights will really begin to be defended” and, therefore, “it’s a day that’s a cause for pride and that’s worth celebrating.”

She also said the decision is like “pulling the rug out from under” all those bills that “base their arguments on this ruling.”

“What has happened today is the beginning of the end of abortion in the United States and in the world,” she said.

Bolivia

Elisa Lanza Sevilla, president of the Bolivian Platform for Life and Family and a director of Project Rachel, said that “there are no words to express so much emotion, so much joy, so much gratitude.”

“As a person working to defend life, I am thrilled to know that all over the world in pro-life groups, right now they are celebrating that a ruling that led to the death of millions of innocent children for 49 long years has come to an end,” she told ACI Prensa.

Lanza affirmed that “the expansion of the legalization of abortion in the world will be stopped” and this “silent holocaust” will end.

Finally, she thanked the “brave justices of the Supreme Court who brought the truth to light and fought for life to the end, regardless of putting their own lives at risk.”

Argentina

The director of CitizenGO campaigns in Argentina, Silvina Spataro, told ACI Prensa that “for those of us who defend life and family, this is the most important news in recent times.”

“It’s a historic ruling, and as such I believe that at this time we cannot fully assess the great importance it has and the scope that this measure will have,” she said.

Spataro recognized the “important role of Donald Trump” as president of the United States from 2017–2021, “since the votes of the three judges he appointed were essential.”

“I also want to highlight the strength of the civic-social participation of the pro-life movement in the United States, which remains strong, and the pressure from citizens that can be applied when we work in an organized manner,” she added.

Spataro said that “celebrating this great achievement has to strengthen us in standing firm in the defense of life from conception.”

“Just as slavery was reversed when it seemed impossible, it has to happen the same way to abortion; we have to continue working until it’s unthinkable for a mother to kill her child in her womb,” she concluded.

Dr. María José Mancino, founder and president of Doctors for Life in Argentina, also shared with ACI Prensa her happiness and said her organization is “united, happy, encouraged, and strengthened.”

“It is a victory, totally! Everyone from their place in life, we all gave everything, the call, our time, our resources, our sorrows and joys for this day,” she said. “It’s not just another day for any of the pro-life movements.”

Mancino said this “is the best news of the year and the best gift we can receive on the feast days of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. John the Baptist.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Mexican bishops: The country is spattered in the blood of the dead and disappeared

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven in Mexico City, Mexico / Eduardo Berdejo/CNA

Mexico City Newsroom, Jun 26, 2022 / 15:26 pm (CNA).

"Our Mexico is being spattered in the blood of so many dead and disappeared," the Catholic Church in the country decried, remembering the thousands of victims of organized crime in the country, especially the two recently murdered Jesuit priests.

In a video message posted June 23, Bishop Ramón Castro Castro of Cuernavaca, secretary general of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference, referred to Pope Francis’ message of “sorrow and dismay” after learning of the death of the two Jesuit priests gunned down in the Sierra Tarahumara region of Chihuahua state.

“The bishops, as pastors, want to express in the same way all our closeness and the deep sorrow that we carry in our hearts. Now, as never before, the pain of the cross becomes more intense due to so much innocent blood spilled throughout the country,” Bishop Castro said.

Jesuit priests Javier Campos Morales and Joaquín César Mora Salazar were murdered June 20 inside the Catholic church of Cerocahui when they tried to protect an injured man who fled inside the church as he was being pursued by an armed assailant who then shot him and the two priests, killing all three.

The murderer has purportedly already been identified by the authorities, who have offered a reward of up to 5 million pesos (about $250,000) for information leading to his capture.

The crime, which is part of a growing wave of violence in Mexico, has shaken the country.

In just three and a half years of the López Obrador administration, there have already been more than 121,000 recorded homicides in the country, which is on track to exceed the more than 156,000 crimes committed during the six year term of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto.

From January 1 to June 21 of this year, according to official figures, 12,481 homicides have taken place in Mexico.

The secretary general of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference lamented that in Mexico "the rate of violence and its structures of death have overflowed and set themselves up in our communities, disfiguring the human person and destroying the culture of peace, a culture of peace that makes us brothers." 

"Together with our people, we expect a response in keeping with the circumstances by the civil authorities at all levels," he said.

The prelate stressed that "it’s the responsibility of those who govern to seek justice and promote peace and harmony in social coexistence."

The priests who have died at the hands of organized crime identify "with the thousands of victims of our people who have met this end, with the tens of thousands of disappeared persons whose families continue to search for them."

“We would have to add the great deal of extortion and the total impunity prevailing throughout the country. This situation is already unbearable and demands and requires of us that we all bear fruits of peace,” Bishop Castro said.

The prelate said that the bishops also appeal "to those who are the cause of each and every one of the atrocious episodes of death and destruction against their own brothers."

“We remind them that we are part of the same people. We admonish them to stop killing their own brothers and violating social peace " he said.

"Recover the fear of God and let us make His Law prevail, which tells us 'You shall not kill,'" he exhorted.

On behalf of the entire Church in Mexico, Bishop Castro asked the criminals: “in the name of God, be sensitive to the laments of your brothers, who are children of God, whose tears of suffering, helplessness, and restrained rage cry out to heaven.”

“We implore you, we beg you, we demand, in the name of God, enough of so much evil and hatred! We all want peace," he concluded.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Bishops call for dialogue, offer help amid Ecuador protests

Demonstrators clash with riot police, nearby El Ejido park, in Quito, on June 24, 2022, in the framework of indigenous-led protests against the government. - Ecuador's government and Indigenous protesters accused each other of intransigence as thousands gathered for a 12th day of a fuel price revolt that has claimed six lives and injured dozens. After the most violent day of the campaign so far -- with police firing tear gas to disperse thousands storming Congress -- the government accused protesters of shunning a peaceful outcome. / Martin Bernetti/AFP via Getty Images

Lima, Peru, Jun 24, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

The bishops of Ecuador have called for dialogue in order to reach an agreement between the government and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which is leading nationwide protests that have left six dead.

“On behalf of the Ecuadorian Bishops’ Conference, I wish to reaffirm our heartfelt call for the parties involved, setting aside any extreme position, to sit down to dialogue, to listen to each other, to reflect together and make decisions that benefit the entire country and not just small groups,” said Archbishop Luis Gerardo Cabrera Herrera of Guayaquil, president of the Ecuadorian Bishops’ Conference, in a June 22 video message.

“At the same time, we want to commit our participation to what the parties also see fit. The only thing we really want is for the much longed for peace to become a reality between us, a peace always based on justice, freedom and truth,” he added.

Beginning June 13, indigenous organizations have called for an indefinite national strike to demand the reduction of fuel prices and price caps for farm products. The marches have turned violent and protesters have clashed with the police and closed several roads.

Ecuador has recently faced high levels of inflation, unemployment, and poverty.

The initially peaceful protest resulted in a wave of violence and clashes between civilians and security forces that has so far left six dead, 74 injured, and 87 detained. In addition, the highway blockades have exacerbated the economic crisis in the country.

Meanwhile, the leader of Conaie, Leonidas Iza, opposes participating in the talks that Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso had already agreed to attend, pointing out that certain conditions must be met, such as lifting the state of emergency in force in six provinces of the country.

Iza was briefly arrested June 14. He is barred from leaving the country, and must appear before an attorney general twice weekly.

The Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo, reported June 22 that an attack by indigenous people against police facilities in the city of Puyo left six policemen injured, 18 missing, and 18 police vehicles damaged.

Conaie also denounced abusive tactics used in cracking down against the protests by the police and the military.

Archbishop Alfredo José Espinoza Mateus of Quito also spoke out about the national strike, recalling the words of Pope Francis.

“Pope Francis tells us that it’s not easy to build dialogue, especially if you are divided by rancor. Dialogue is the only possible path, we have told the bishops of Ecuador. Dialogue, as the Pope affirms, must be marked by listening and meekness. It must be a path that is built together,” he explained.

The prelate reminded that "hate and rancor through violence build walls, but assuming this attitude of listening, humility, meekness, builds bridges that unite us."

“I again invite us as archbishop of Quito to take this path of dialogue; that we may know how to listen to each other, because it’s a common goal, the goal is the good of our country. And let's build those bridges to be able to achieve an Ecuador of peace and a better Ecuador,” he concluded.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Cardinal criticizes Mexican president's anti-crime policy

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. / Octavio Hoyos / Shutterstock.

Guadalajara, Mexico, Jun 23, 2022 / 16:19 pm (CNA).

In his 2018 election campaign for the Mexican presidency, Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposed a policy of “abrazos no balazos” — a catchy phrase that means “hugs not bullets.” This approach combats drug cartel violence by addressing the root causes of the drug trade, such as poverty, and softens the use of force by the military and police.

López Obrador’s policy is in contrast to the “war on drugs” of his predecessors. However, under his tenure, violent crime has increased.

In a country where violence is commonplace, the nation was nevertheless shocked by the recent murder of two Jesuit priests and another man inside a church, shot to death presumably by a cartel gunman. Adding to the outrage was that the criminals took away the bodies of the priests.

Commenting on the murders, the Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega, said June 22 during the Ninth Diocesan Pastoral Ministry Assembly that “we are going through some difficult moments” and that “these people don’t know [anything] about hugs.”

The cardinal pointed to the June 20 shooting of Jesuit priests Javier Campos Morales and Joaquín César Mora Salazar, who were killed trying to protect a man who had fled inside the Catholic church of the small town of Cerocahui in the state of Chihuahua.

The crime, which is part of a growing wave of violence in Mexico, has shaken the country. On June 22, Pope Francis expressed his “pain and dismay” over the murder of the two Jesuits.

The Archdiocese of Guadalajara is no stranger to violence. The city is the capital of the state of Jalisco, the center of operations for one of the most violent and powerful criminal groups in the country, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Twenty-nine years ago, the then-Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, was gunned down at the city’s airport, a crime that authorities have yet to solve.

Cardinal Robles Ortega lamented that the killing of the two Jesuit priests "adds to an already long list of priests murdered in our country."

However, he continued, this crime shows "the complete gravity of the violent situation that we are going through in our country."

"The priests were in a place proper to their ministry," he said, because "they were fulfilling their mission, doing their ministry."

"They weren’t doing subversive things or encouraging violence by other groups against the government," he continued, but "they were in the most appropriate place for their ministry" — that is, the church.

The two Jesuit priests, the Archbishop of Guadalajara said, “were carrying out their ministry and were treacherously executed, without further ado. Just because they were doing good to a person” who fled into the church hoping for protection.

"This [is] a very, very serious situation," he said.

The cardinal said that the government of López Obrador should see that “these people, those who are dedicated to organized crime, don’t know [anything] about hugs, no matter how much the government offers them, promises them, and gives them."

"They don't understand hugs, they only know about bullets," he said.

In just three and a half years of the López Obrador administration, there have been more than 121,000 homicides recorded in the country, which is on track to exceed the more than 156,000 murders committed during the six-year term of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto.

In addition, the number is way ahead of the 120,463 homicides recorded during Felipe Calderón’s six-year term.

From Jan. 1 to June 21 of this year, according to official figures, 12,481 homicides have taken place in Mexico.

The Archbishop of Guadalajara clarified that “I’m not saying that the government has to adopt the strategy of shooting these people. No. Simply bring them before the law for the murders and for all the activities they carry out against the law.”

“The government has to send them the message that there will be no more impunity,” he said. “Because that message of hugs is a message of impunity.”

Itinerary released for Pope Francis' trip to Canada in late July

An Inuit delegation from Canada meets Pope Francis at the Vatican, March 28, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

The Vatican has released the itinerary for Pope Francis’ visit to Canada, during which he will meet with representatives of indigenous peoples, and with indigenous Catholics. 

The visit to Canada will take place July 24-29, with a return flight to Rome landing on the 30th, the Vatican said Thursday. 

While in Canada, Francis is expected to issue an apology on behalf of the Catholic Church for abuses committed against indigenous students in Catholic-run residential schools.

In addition to a visit to Edmonton, Alberta, the pope will meet with dignitaries in Quebec City before visiting Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, to meet with residential school survivors, among others. Despite the ambitious nature of the trip, the pope is expected to participate in events in Canada for about an hour at a time, owing to the health problems the 85-year-old has experienced of late. 

Francis had been scheduled to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan July 2-7, but the trip was postponed June 10 "at the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee," a Vatican spokesman said.

As Canada is the second-largest country in the world by area, the distances involved for the whirlwind visit are vast. The map below illustrates the air routes. 

After departing Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 9 a.m. local time on July 24, Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Edmonton, Alberta at 11:20 a.m. local time, and to receive an official welcome before taking the remainder of the day to rest. 

The next day, July 25, the pope will meet at 10 a.m. with members of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in the unincorporated community of Maskwacis, near Edmonton. This will not be the first time the pope has met with Canadian indigeous people; in March, Pope Francis met with representatives of the Métis and Inuit indigenous peoples, and with the Canadian Catholic bishops, both at the Vatican. 

Then, at 4:45 pm that same day, he will meet with indigenous Catholics at Sacred Heart parish in Edmonton

On Tuesday, July 26, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. Later that day, he will participate in a pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne, a site which plays host annually to thousands of pilgrims, billing itself as the largest annual Catholic gathering in Western Canada. July 26 is celebrated in the Catholic Church as the feast of St. Anne, the grandmother of Christ. The pope will also celebrate a Liturgy of the Word at the site. 

On Wednesday, Pope Francis will depart Edmonton and fly to Quebec City, the capital of Quebec. He is set to be welcomed by the Governor General of Canada, and will meet with Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister. Later he will meet with civil authorities, representatives of indigenous peoples, and members of the diplomatic corps.

The next day, July 28, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. at the National Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré. That evening, at 5:15 am, the pope will pray Vespers with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, seminarians, and pastoral workers at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

On the final day of his visit, Friday, July 29, the pope is set to have a meeting at 9 a.m. with fellow members of the Jesuit order at the archbishop’s residence. Then at 10:45, another meeting with a delegation of indigeous peoples, also at the archbishop’s residence. 

Then, at 12:45, the pope will depart Quebec and fly some five hours north to Iqaluit. Home to only 7,500 people, Iqaluit is the capital — and only city — of the province of Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost and most sparsely populated territory. The area has been used as an Inuit fishing hub for thousands of years.

In Iqaluit, Pope Francis will meet at 4:45 p.m. local time with students of the former residential schools of Canada. Some 150,000 children attended residential schools in the years they operated, ending in the late 1990s. The schools were a government-led program, begun in the 1870s, to suppress the native language and cultural practices of indigenous peoples. 

Many of the schools were run by Catholic institutions, and in the 1980s, former students began to reveal some of the abuses they faced in the schools, including physical, mental, and sexual abuse.

Following the meeting with the former students, the pope will meet with young people and elders in the primary school square in Iqaluit, before a 6:15 p.m. farewell ceremony sees the pope off on his return journey to Rome, where he will arrive the following day. 

Two Jesuit priests killed in a church in Mexico

Fathers Javier Campos Morales, SJ and Joaquín César Mora Salazar, SJ. / Mexican Jesuits

Denver Newsroom, Jun 21, 2022 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

The Jesuits of Mexico announced Tuesday that two of their priests were killed Monday inside a church in a mountainous region of Chihuahua state. 

Fathers Javier Campos Morales and Joaquín César Mora Salazar had served as Jesuit priests for nearly a century combined. The gunmen who carried out the June 20 attack on the church in Cerocahui, Chihuahua also took their bodies. 

“We condemn these violent acts, we demand justice and the recovery of the bodies of our brothers who were taken from the church by armed persons,” a June 21 statement released in Spanish from the Mexican Jesuits reads. 

“We trust that the testimonies of Christian life of our dear Javier and Joaquín continue to inspire men and women to give themselves in the service of the most vulnerable. Rest in peace.”

According to the Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office, both priests tried to protect a person who sought refuge in the church while being chased by at least one other man, both armed, El Sol de Mexico newspaper reported. The chaser reportedly shot and killed all three men. 

Luis Gerardo Moro Madrid SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits of Mexico, condemned the killings and said they are “working with the federal and state authorities to ensure the safety” of the parish’s two remaining priests.

The Jesuits issued a demand that “all protective measures be adopted immediately to safeguard the lives of our Jesuit brothers, sisters, lay people and the entire Cerocahui community.”

When asked about the crime by El Sol de Mexico, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador indicated that an investigation is underway. 

The region where the killings took place is populated by the Tarahumara indigenous people, who are renowned for their running skills. The area has suffered from drug-related organized crime for years, and the Jesuits noted and expressed solidarity with the pain that the people they serve are experiencing “due to the prevailing violence.”

“The Sierra Tarahumara, like many other regions of the country, faces conditions of violence and neglect that have not been reversed,” the statement from the Jesuits continues. 

“Every day men and women are arbitrarily deprived of life, as our brothers were murdered today. The Jesuits of Mexico will not remain silent in the face of the reality that lacerates all of society. We will continue to be present and working for the mission of justice, reconciliation and peace, through our pastoral, educational and social works.”

According to the Jesuits, Father Campos Morales was born in Mexico City and was ordained in 1972. After several pastoral assignments, he returned to Cerocahui in 2019 to serve as Superior of the Jesuit Mission; as Pastor and Vicar of Indigenous Pastoral of the Diocese of Tarahumara, and as Regional Advisor of Base Ecclesial Communities. 

Father Salazar was born in Monterrey and was ordained in 1971. Since 2000 he served as Parochial Vicar in Chínipas, and later as Cooperating Vicar in Cerocahui since 2007. 

The killing of priests in Mexico has escalated in recent years. Most recently, the body of Father José Guadalupe Rivas Saldaña, 57, was found with signs of violence on the outskirts of Tecate, a city located on the border with the United States in the Mexican state of Baja California.

It is estimated that the first three and a half years of the current administration of López Obrador has been the most violent period on record in the history of Mexico, with more than 120,000 homicides.

Fathers are more than providers, and St. Joseph is their example, archbishop says

null / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Lima, Peru, Jun 20, 2022 / 16:44 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López of Monterrey, president of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference, said in a Father's Day message that fathers are not just providers and that their example is St. Joseph.

In his message "Being fathers following the example of St. Joseph," the archbishop stressed that "as sons and daughters, we shouldn’t see our fathers as simple material providers that help us get through day to day living."

“Dads are more than providers, they are true companions in life, forgers of encouragement and hope that help us to fully develop,” the prelate emphasized.

Although "in some families, the presence of the father is nil or distant, we have the option of turning to the experience and wisdom of our grandfather, who can also accompany us, giving clarity to the moments in which darkness seems to prevail," Archbishop Cabrera continued.

In this regard, he said, “Pope Francis encourages fathers to have St. Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary, as an intercessor and a role model, who fully fulfilled his mission as a father, taking up his commitment to accompany Jesus and the Virgin Mary, giving them everything they needed.”

"Nowadays, says the pope, many people suffer from different circumstances, lack of work, the consequences of the pandemic, despair, among many other things," the archbishop noted.

Therefore, the pope "invites us to have recourse to the encouragement, help and inspiration of St. Joseph, who with his luminous testimony in dark times, presents us with the guiding light to follow to face any need in life."

The Archbishop of Monterrey asked those who don’t have a father "not to feel abandoned, God never leaves any of his children."

“I’m sure that He himself will place beside you someone who can play an important role in your life and will accompany you in the realization of all your projects and dreams,” the president of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference said.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

99-year-old Carmelite nun credits her family and Mary for her long, happy vocation

Sister Francisca Teresa (left). The nun with her Carmelite sisters (right). / Courtesy of Church of Concepción

Denver Newsroom, Jun 17, 2022 / 04:42 am (CNA).

Agustina Medina Muñoz is 99 years old and has been a Discalced Carmelite cloistered nun in Chile, for almost 80 years.

In the religious order, she took the name Francisca Teresa of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face in honor of the French saint and doctor of the Church through whom her vocation matured.

“They say I’m 99 years old. It’s hard to believe it. My life has passed so quickly,” the nun said in a testimony published in the Archdiocese of Concepción’s magazine Nuestra Iglesia (Our Church).

The nun's testimony which the Carmelite sisters took down based on things she has said and then approved, says that Francisca Teresa was born on March 23, 1923, and that she is the first of eight siblings.

“My grandmother Asunción always lived with us and was part of the family. She was one of the most important people in my life. Her affection, her piety for the Blessed Virgin always served as a guide in my life,” Sister Francisca Teresa said.

“My family was very decisive in my vocation. My father was a man of prayer, he not only went to Mass, I saw him pray. Praying the Rosary as a family for me was an everyday thing,” she recounted.

"The Blessed Virgin held a privileged place in my family, She was the mistress of the house, the Queen of the home," she highlighted.

Even though “we didn’t lack difficulties in life, when you have faith, everything is experienced differently, even suffering finds its meaning. I learned all this in my family.”

Her ties to the Carmelites began with Father Avertano, a Discalced Carmelite who met St. Teresa of the Andes and who used to go to her house as her mother's spiritual director, and were furthered by reading the "Story of a Soul" by St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, French patron saint of the missions and Doctor of the Church.

“It was under the influence of her writings,” also in French, “that I felt impelled to enter Carmel.”

The nun recalled that she had to give up having a boyfriend and her violin, which was "one of my great loves."

“I entered the Carmel of Los Andes when I was 20” in 1943, she explained. The nun was next sent to the Concepción Monastery where she has lived most of her religious life.

“I feel happy to be a Carmelite. At 99 years of age, I can say that I have been happy in my consecrated life,” she related.

In religious life “I haven’t been without difficulties, but it’s worth living a life given to God. The greatest desire of my heart has been union with Jesus, to be Light with him. And I very much want to see him soon.”

Sister Francisca Teresa calls Mary “My Dear Mother Virgin” and that “in her I find everything. I invite you to try invoking her as a mother.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

190 attacks against Church in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega since 2018, report says

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega during the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution at "La Fe" square in Managua on July 19, 2019. / Getty Images

Denver Newsroom, Jun 10, 2022 / 14:45 pm (CNA).

In less than four years, the Catholic Church in Nicaragua has been the target of 190 attacks and desecrations, including a fire in the Managua Cathedral, as well as police harassment and persecution of bishops and priests under the regime of Daniel Ortega, the country’s president, a new investigative report shows.

The report, “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church? (2018-2022),” by attorney Martha Patricia Molina Montenegro, a member of the Pro-Transparency and Anti-Corruption Observatory, notes that “the role of the Catholic Church has been fundamental in the crisis of human rights violations that Nicaragua is facing.”

In response to the Catholic Church’s role, the lawyer’s report shows that the regime of Ortega, who has governed Nicaragua continuously since 2007 along with his wife Rosario Murillo (as First Lady and now vice president), "initiated an indiscriminate persecution against bishops, priests, seminarians, religious, lay groups and towards everything that has a direct or indirect relationship with the Catholic Church.”

The document points to the crisis that broke out in April 2018 with protests in Nicaragua over a series of reforms to the social security system, which increased the contribution of companies and employees, as well as deductions for retirees.

Map of Nicaragua. Shutterstock
Map of Nicaragua. Shutterstock

The demonstrations began in the city of León and spread throughout the country. The government’s violent government crackdown left at least 355 dead, the report states.

In 2021, amid allegations of fraud and the political persecution of rival presidential candidates, Ortega was re-elected for the third time as president of Nicaragua.

“Before April 2018 abuses of the Church were sporadic. After that date, hostilities increased and the tone is getting worse," the document notes.

“The offensive and threatening language of the presidential couple against the Catholic hierarchy became more and more evident and frequent; and the actions of some public institutions against the charitable work of the church increased” the report indicates.

Although "we can’t affirm that all the mishaps compiled in this study have been planned and executed by the followers of Ortega-Murillo," Molina’s investigation says, “neither can one plead not guilty."

“The truth is that in years before President Ortega assumed power, these frontal attacks against the religious institution were not carried out,” she points out.

The report notes that in 2018 there were 46 attacks against the Catholic Church, including a mob entering the Managua Cathedral, death threats against Nicaraguan priests, and the desecration of different churches.

In 2019, 48 attacks took place, including death threats against the auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio José Báez Ortega, who that same year had to go into exile outside of Nicaragua.

In 2020 there were 40 attacks against the Church, including desecrations and the firebomb attack on the Managua Cathedral, which damaged Blood of Christ Chapel.

In 2021, another 35 attacks were recorded, including desecrations and robberies of churches, as well as insults by Daniel Ortega against Catholic bishops and priests.

So far in 2022, 21 attacks have already been recorded, including the police harassing in May the bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando José Álvarez, who is also the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.