catholic priests Crimes against priests have risen over the past three decades.

Crime against priests has risen in 30 years

Book reviews homicide, extortion and other crimes against Catholic priests

In just three years there were more than 500 reports of Catholic priests falling victim to extortion, according to a new book that offers details about almost 30 years of crime against priests and associates of the church.


Tragedy and Crucible of Priesthood in Mexico (Tragedia y Crisol del Sacerdocio en México) gathered 27 years of criminal data and concluded that most crimes involved organized criminal gangs. And during that period, such crimes have been on the increase.

More than 80% of homicides against priests have gone unsolved or their investigations have been shut down by the authorities themselves, the book claims, charging that neither state nor federal justice officials have offered clear answers about the cases.

Since the beginning of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration in December 2012 there have been 19 priests assassinated, while during the first half of the administration 520 priests were targeted by extortionists.

The most dangerous places for priests have been Guerrero and Mexico City, where eight have been murdered in each in the 27-year period covered by the book.

There were six priests killed in Michoacán and the same number in Veracruz, followed by Chihuahua with five.


Guillermo Gazanini Espinoza, a researcher and collaborator on the book, accused Mexican authorities of passing unfounded judgement in the cases of murdered priests by claiming that their deaths were caused by their own shady dealings, leading immoral lifestyles or getting involved in drunken brawls.

Publication of the book followed more than a decade of research by Omar Sotelo Aguilar, a Catholic priest and director of the Multimedia Catholic Center (CCM).

He described the assassination of nearly 20 priests as “an atrocity” but noted that many people other than priests have been victims as well.

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

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  • Cam Nante

    It’s not surprising to read that “80% of homocides againsta priests have gone unsolved”. I wouldn’t expect that number to differ from the national average for all homocides. Crime goes unsolved in Mexico.

  • Mike S

    What goes around comes around.

    • Ge0ffrey

      What an ugly comment.

      • Mike S

        You are right and I apologize. There is no excuse for that kind of violence against anybody in a civilized society. I do wonder why priests are being targeted. They don’t usually have access to large amounts of cash. So far, retired expats and tourists have not been a target by organized crime. I did recently see the movie “Spotlight” about the abuses of homosexual pedophile priests in Boston and the systematic cover up by the Catholic Church. I have read that behavior is is far more prevalent in poorer countries. Without knowing more about the motives of attacks against the Catholic clergy in Mexico, I shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. You can be sure the Church would never freely admit any wrong doing. I can not understand the purpose of priest not being allowed to marry. It’s not about celibacy for sure.

  • Tim Bambam

    It certainly isn’t right but I can understand why this is happening. The Bible spells it out very plainly. “What you sow, you shall also reap.
    As far as the extorsion is concerned it can only be happening if the priests are putting themselves in situations to be extorted. Some things will never change.

    • Playapapa

      I couldn’t agree more. Becoming a priest is a good cover for a crook. Come to think of it; that works for politicians too.

    • Ge0ffrey

      Really? How do you explain Christ’s crucifixion?

      • Tim Bambam

        According to the Bible this was purely the plan of God to give his only son, so that others might live. Which is based off a direct quote from John 3:16(NIV)