Mexican Church Officials Condemn Casino Attack

Mexican church officials have condemned an arson attack on a casino in Monterrey, Mexico, which killed more than 50 bettors and employees and left the nation horrified as a city once considered a crown jewel of industrial development descends deeper into organized crime violence. 

"In terms of the criminal groups, we believed that we had seen everything. However, what happened today surprised us," said Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey in a message issued late Aug. 25. "Hopefully our authorities surprise us with a definite solution to this serious scourge. We join in prayer for those who lost their lives, for their families and so that peace is restored," the cardinal said. A statement released late Aug. 25 by the Archdiocese of Mexico City labeled the attacks as "cowardly and abominable," and said the deaths "add to the innumerable victims of the cruelty and evil of organized crime." 

Attackers burst into the Casino Royale in Monterrey on Aug. 25, doused the premises with gasoline and torched the building, trapping patrons and employees, according to media reports. The Nuevo Leon state government put the death toll at 53, but some media reports said the number had reached 61. President Felipe Calderon told the nation on Aug. 26 the attacks were "terrorism" and called for three days of mourning. He also blamed the United States for the problems with organized crime violence in Mexico, saying U.S. consumption and weapons were aggravating the situation south of the border. Organized crime violence has claimed more than 40,000 lives since Calderon took office in December 2006. Monterrey, approximately three hours' drive south of the U.S. border at Laredo, Texas, has experienced enormous violence stemming from a turf war between rival cartels anxious to seize local drug trafficking and retailing territories. The attacks came the same day Catholics began taking relics from Blessed John Paul II on a tour of Mexico's Catholic dioceses in an effort to bring peace to the country. The relics arrive in Monterrey on Nov. 24.

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

A dry fountains is seen in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on July 24. The Vatican says it is shutting off all its fountains, including those in St. Peter's Square, because of Italy's drought. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)
Meteorologists say spring 2017 was Italy's third-driest in some 60 years. The drought has put Rome at risk for drastic water rationing, a measure being considered later this week by authorities.
APJuly 24, 2017
The parents of Charlie Gard dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for an experimental treatment after new medical tests showed that the window of opportunity to help him had closed.
Art by Andrew Zbihlyj
Having so often petitioned a gracious God for the blessing of mercy, how could I deny it to others?
Mark SingelJuly 24, 2017
“To the Bone,” which recently premiered on Netflix, tells the story of 20-year-old Ellen (Lily Collins), who is living with anorexia nervosa.
Karen RossJuly 21, 2017