'Evil Does Not Have the Last Word': More Deaths and a New Cardinal in Mexico

Days before Christmas in the southeastern Mexican state of Guerrero, Father Lopez Gorostieta was kidnapped from a local seminary. He was found on Christmas Day, having been strangled to death. No party has claimed responsiblity, nor is there any obvious reason for the deed.

But a month earlier, Ugandan priest Father John Ssenyondo was found dead elsewhere in Guerrero, having been kidnapped six months before, again without explanation. A third priest was killed during a robbery in another part of Mexico in September. Six others were murdered in 2013. Two more remain missing. According to the Vatican, Mexico is now the most dangerous country in Latin America to serve as a priest.


Guerrero is the same state in which 43 university students disappeared in September, having been kidnapped and perhaps killed by drug cartel members and federal military working from the promptings of local officials. (Federal Attorney General Murillo Karam reported in November that the children had been murdered along with three other students already confirmed dead, their bodies burned and thrown in a nearby river. But the DNA from remains does not match those of the students. Their parents refuse to accept the government’s opinion until real proof is found.)

As previously reported by America, their disappearance and the federal government’s slow and at times callous response, has sparked ongoing mass protests throughout the country. In a statement on November 12, the Mexican bishops' conference, wrote "The bishops of Mexico say: enough is enough! We don't want any more blood. We don't want any more death. We don't want any more disappearances." Describing the country as in a state of "true national crisis," the bishops stated that the violence, along with growing inequality and lack of truth by public figures, "make it clear that we have turned away from God."

Pope Francis has spoken out against the violence already, expressing his "closeness to the Mexican people" following the November annoucement of the students' likely fate, and then more recently condemning the murder of Gorostieta as "unjustifiable murder." 

But his most profound words on the subject may be his announcement Saturday to make retired Mexican Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda, 75, of Morelia, in the state of Michoacán, one of the church's new cardinals. Suárez was not predicted to receive a red hat; Morelia has in fact never had a cardinal. Like neighboring Guerrero, Michoacán is a poor state in which corruption, cartels and paramliitary groups formed in response have destabilized civil society.

Suárez Inda's words describing Michoacán from two years ago continue to speak volumes on the issues and needs of Mexico today. 

"We are hitting rock bottom, it is time to react and say that one cannot go on like this. Things must change: it is not a question of ‘repainting’ the situation by saying that now one will adopt a system based on justice, but we must involve everyone in order to build society from below. Although the situation is deplorable, we should not fold our arms, we cannot fall into the temptation of severe pessimism. Evil does not have the last word, we must always live in the founded hope that man, in spite of all that may sound bad, is not totally corrupt."

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

 Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 20. The pope at his "Regina Coeli" announced that he will create 14 new cardinals June 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and so have the right to vote in the next conclave.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2018
Images: AP, Wikimedia Commons
Bishop Curry described Teilhard as “one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.”
Angelo Jesus CantaMay 19, 2018
Both men were close to each other in life, and both are much revered by Pope Francis.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 19, 2018
The Gaza Nakba demonstrations this week have done nothing to advance the situation of Palestinian refugees, nor did they provide relief to the people of Gaza, who dwell in an open-air prison, hemmed in and oppressed at every turn.