El Salvador: Church shocked by murder of seminary rector

Fr Cortez Image: Archdiocese of El Salvador

Fr Cortez Image: Archdiocese of El Salvador

Source: CELAM

The Bishop of the Diocese of Zacatecoluca-El Salvador, Monsignor Elías Samuel Bolaños Avelar, has expressed his grief at the murder of the rector of the San Óscar Romero Seminary, Father Ricardo Cortez, aged 44.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the homicide occurred while Fr Cortez was driving along a road in southeastern El Salvador. His body was found with several gunshot wounds on the side of the road near his vehicle. At the moment the motives for the murder are unknown, the possibility of a robbery is ruled out, since all the priest's belongings were found.

Bishop Avelar said that once again "The innocent blood of a good priest continues to irrigate the Salvadoran land" in this year which marks the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Oscar Romero as well as that of Fr Cosme Spessoltto and four North American sisters and lay women. 'Once again our Diocese is stained with innocent blood, of a good shepherd delivered to his sheep,: he said. The Bishop said he remembers Father Ricardo Antonio Cortez, as a good, affable man, dedicated to his flock and very dedicated to the formation and teaching of seminarians and the faithful he attended, a crime that has not yet been can be explained.

The Bishops of El Salvador expressed their grave concern at the crime and demanded that the judicial authorities and the government investigate the case and bring whoever is responsible to justice.

They also ask the people of God not to be disheartened by the tragedy. "The courageous testimony of our martyrs and that of our murdered priests encourages and impels us all to continue forward, giving faithful testimony of our faith in Christ, to overcome the bad force of good. The blood of the martyrs strengthens and makes the faith of Christians bear fruit," they saod.

Two other priests have been murdered in El Salvador in recent years. On March 29, 2018 Father Walter Osmir Vásquez Jiménez was murdered and on May 18, 2019 Father Cecilio Pérez was killed.

The funeral services of Father Ricardo Cortez was held on Sunday morning in a private ceremony in which only family present.

Tags: El Salvador, El Salvador , Homicide , Father Ricardo Antonio Cortez, Father Ricardo Cortez, Bishop Elías Samuel Bolaños Avelar, Fr Cosme Spessoltto, Father Walter Osmir Vásquez Jiménez, Father Cecilio Pérez

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