Mexico: popular priest murdered

Fr Teodoro Mariscal Rivas

Fr Teodoro Mariscal Rivas

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday for the funeral of Fr Teodoro Mariscal Rivas,(Padre Toto)  who was found murdered in his own home in the area of Santa Fe. The priest, 45, was born in Tala, Jalisco, and had the pastoral care of the church of Santa Cecilia, which is within the territory of the parish of Santo Nino de la Salud, in the district of Mochicahui, towards the central part of the Gulf of California, Mexico. After the funeral, the priest was buried in Jalisco his home tow. .

Initial police reports indicated that Fr Rivas was found on the morning of September 20 in his home, bound hand and foot, with a bag on his head that caused the suffocation. The murder allegedly took place between 18 and 19 September. His car is among the valuable things which has not been found.

The funeral Mass was presided by the Vicar General of the diocese, Mgr Juan Ruiz, who has asked the authorities  to investigate the murder.  "We all need to pray for the priests, and to pray so that God leads to repentance those who take the lives of innocent people, they will not escape divine justice," he said during the Mass.

Many members of the congregation paid tributes to Fr Teodoro, saying he had been a kind,  enthusiastic and joyful priest.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Culiacan, Father Esteban Robles, said that what happened is a clear reflection of the violence that is lived in the state.

"This event is reprehensible, not only because it happened to a priest, but also because we are speaking of a person who was inside his home. Now even in his own home a person cannot be safe," said Father Robles, stating that "the Church lives within society, and this is why it suffers criminal attacks, when its only mission is to seek welfare, peace and help people to get to know God." Even the Cathedral of Culiacan has suffered attacks by vandals.

There have already been more than a thousand murders in Mexico this year. In the town of Mazatlan there were 34 murders in one week. Several group murders have taken place which the police believe were gang killings.

Source: Fides/MI

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