The archbishop of the violent state of Guerrero said Friday that the responsibility to quell violence in Mexico lies with Mexican because of the failure of government to do it.
"The state is responsible for the patent impunity and not having resolved the problem of violence in the country,” said Garfias Merlos. "Now the church, and all citizens in general, must face the situation, discuss and formulate proposals to stop all those violence.”
Merlos was responding to a report this week by the Vatican that Mexico was the most dangerous country for Christian catholic pastoral agents in 2104, with three priests, one religious man and one seminarian killed.
A religious man is one who dedicates his life to religion but does not officiate in the church and cannot marry.
In its annual report, Fides, the Vatican’s news agency said 26 pastoral agents were murdered around the world 2014, 3 more than the previous year.
For sixth consecutive year, the American continent was the most deadly for Catholics pastoral agents, with 14 murders in 2014 – three in Mexico, three in Venezuela, two in the United States and one each in Canada, Nicaragua and Peru. Amongst them, 12 were priests.
Asia and Oceania saw the murder of two pastoral agents while Europe recorded one homicide.
"The majority of pastoral agents dead in 2014 were murdered during a robbery and, in some cases with fierceness,” said the report.
In Mexico, the three priests were murdered in Guerrero, the state where 43 students from Ayotzinapa teacher training College disappeared in late September.
The body of father Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta was found Christmas Day with a bullet wound to his head, on a road that links Ciudad Altamirano and Arcelia.
In September, Acuna Osorio, was found floating in a river in La Tijana. That same month, father John Ssenyondo, a missionary originally from Uganda, was found in a clandestine grave as authorities and citizen searched for the missing students.
Several local media reported that Ssenyondo refused to perform a wedding or baptism for a member of a drug cartel.
According to Merlos, several priests have also been victims of attacks on the roads and highways in Guerrero.
"It is a fear that the religious and citizens experience every day. They are afraid to go on highways, even afraid to leave our house. We know that the authorities will not do anything to castigate the criminal,” he said.
The archbishop said that the Mexican Catholic Church launched a peace and justice campaign in December to find sustainable solutions to the cycle of violence.