Thousands march for peace last year in Cuernavaca. Thousands marched for peace last year in Cuernavaca.

Bishop ponders excommunication to combat Morelos violence

Kidnapping is already punishable with expulsion from the church

The bishop of Cuernavaca has suggested spiritual measures may be necessary to combat continuing violence and crime in Morelos.

At a press conference to discuss the Catholic Church’s fifth March for Peace, Ramón Castro Castro said excommunication from the church could be a tool in the fight against rising criminality in the state.

Castro said he is considering the possibility of excommunicating those who commit murder, rape or robbery. Kidnapping is already an offense punishable with excommunication in Morelos and has been since the 1990s when another bishop implemented the measure in an effort to fight crime.

But today, the bishop said, criminality has spread and diversified and the need for spiritual intervention is greater than ever.

He added that the church’s March for Peace on Saturday will address issues of criminality in Morelos and demand peace from those in a position to provide it. The bishop said the state and federal governments have not taken the necessary steps to ensure citizens’ safety.

Bishop Castro says spiritual measures may be called for in addressing crime.
Bishop Castro says spiritual measures may be called for in addressing crime.

“We are not indifferent to the suffering; we miss all of those who have been killed and the wound of their absence still hurts.”

One of the people planning to join Saturday’s march, which attracts many thousands of participants each year, is Governor Cuauhtémoc Blanco, whose presence is expected to draw some criticism from those who believe he has not done enough to confront crime and violence.

The governor said on Tuesday he would participate as a private citizen because the march’s message aligns with his agenda as governor and that he intends to work toward peace throughout his term in office.

Blanco recalled that he had previously attended the march during his term as mayor of Cuernavaca. Questioned about the possibility of conflict with other marchers who are unhappy with his administration’s policies, the governor said he welcomed challenges and the opportunity to work with others toward peace and a better society.

Blanco said the newly-created National Guard will be essential to that effort, although the new force won’t arrive until December because of the high demand from other states with similar security crises.

He added that the state will receive a smaller force of federal troops in June.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp)

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