The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Council of Bishops was the site of an explosion early Tuesday morning when a homemade device detonated outside the building, but federal authorities say that it was not part of any wider, concerted action against the church.
An anarchist organization has claimed responsibility yesterday, indicating the attack was in retaliation against violence and pedophile priests.
Nobody was injured in the blast, which damaged and opened the main entrance of the building, located near the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the north of Mexico City.
The device was left outside the premises, where a cardinal was asleep inside, shortly before 2:00am Tuesday, authorities believe.
Humberto Roque Villanueva, an undersecretary responsible for religious matters at the Interior Secretariat, or Segob, said that the attack was a “message of hate” but did not form part of a generalized or orchestrated series of attacks against the church.
“Fortunately, there was nothing more than material damage,” Roque stated in an interview with the newspaper El Universal.
“Yes, there is a message of hate to an institution that the federal government and in particular the Interior Secretariat fully recognize, not just in a legal sense but also in terms of the historical value and the role that [the church] plays in a nation like Mexico.”
A group calling itself the Informal Feminist Commando for Antiauthoritarian Action announced on the anarchist website Contra Info that it placed the explosive device, “made with dynamite, liquid propane gas and butane.”
The announcement read, “No god, no master! For every torture and assassination in the name of your god! For every child abused by the pedophile priests! In the tension of insurrectionary anarchy!”
It was signed “Coatlicue,” the name of an Aztec goddess.
There have been at least 18 cases of reported violence against priests since December 2012, including three murders this year, raising questions about the possibility that the church was the focus of a coordinated vendetta.
Roque said that the act was “deplorable” but as far as he could remember “it’s the first attack on a collegiate institution [of the church].”
A statement from the bishops’ council, however, indicated that, “apparently this is not the first such incident to occur in this neighborhood of Mexico City,” although the target of any previous attacks is unclear.
Roque attributed the incidence of violence against priests to the fact that they often work in close proximity to conflict or in isolated or complex neighborhoods where crime levels are higher, making them more susceptible to acts of violence.
However, violence has even reached the heart of the nation’s capital with an attack on a priest in Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral in May.
Roque also indicated that Segob would be prepared to further investigate the possibility that attacks on priests were connected in some way but reiterated that it currently had no evidence to suggest that they were.
He also stated that the relationship between the state and the Catholic church as well as other evangelical Christian groups was positive.
Bishop Ramón Castro of the Cuernavaca, Morelos, diocese posted on his personal Twitter account that he thought the incident reflected the current situation in Mexico while a representative of the Bishops’ Council called for “serenity, prudence and respect” in the wake of the attack.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon the representative stated, “The events of today should invite us to reflect on the necessity of rebuilding our social fabric.”
Violent crime in Mexico is rising with figures for intentional homicides in June the highest in 2 decades, beating a record number set just the month before.
The Catholic Church has expressed its support for dialogue with criminal gangs in the face of impotence on the part of authorities and after this latest attack, once again expressed its commitment to achieving peace.