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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Guatemalan priest shot dead
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 The Catholic community in Guatemala is in mourning following the killing of a popular parish priest. Fr José Maria Ruiz Furlán, better known as Fr Chemita, was assassinated by unidentified armed men on Sunday as he returned home after celebrating Mass in the Church of Santo Cura de Ars in sector five of the capital. "We heard four shots and when we went outside to see what was going on we saw Fr Chemita lying bleeding on the ground," a passer-by told the daily newspaper 'Prensalibre'. According to some reports, Fr Chemita had spent almost all day at the Good Shepherd, in sector 18, celebrating baptisms and confirmations. Half an hour after the news emerged, the Archbishop of Guatemala City, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, was on the scene of the murder. "We deplore and condemn the assassination of a representative of the Catholic Church," said the cardinal. "It is an absurd crime, and it demonstrates the high level of violence experienced in Guatemala. I hope this crime does not go unpunished, like many others." Fr Chemita celebrated his 69th birthday on 12 September and had served as Parish Priest at Santo Cura de Ars for 30 years. For over four decades, he had dedicated himself to assisting the more needy in society. In the 1970s, he accused the military regime of assassinating his brother, Colonel Carlos Ruiz Furlán. For nine years, from 1991, he was suspended 'a divinis' for entering politics ­ in 1978 and 1982 he stood for election as mayor of the capital ­ and business, as an associate in two hotels in Antigua Guatemala and Escuintla. The canonical provision was lifted on 12 March 1999. "We are dismayed and demand that light is shed on the death of a priest who, despite his controversial lifestyle, gave a great service to the community," said human rights activist Helen Mack. Source: MISNA'
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