Explosive devices detonated in Mexican border churches

People walk toward Matamoros, Mexico, from Brownsville, Texas, May 4, 2016. 

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- The bishop of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, has expressed alarm after two church explosions within four days.

"What initially seemed like an isolated incident has taken a new turn, worrying us deeply, as the faithful and citizens in general have the right to a secure environment, both in their homes and in their meeting places," said a March 4 statement signed by Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcia. 

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"We call on the authorities and society in general to continue working on the construction of a community in which the life, dignity and rights of all are recognized, respected, promoted and defended."

"What initially seemed like an isolated incident has taken a new turn, worrying us deeply, as the faithful and citizens in general have the right to a secure environment."

An explosive device, described by the diocese as homemade, was detonated during Mass March 4 inside St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Matamoros, "without causing injuries or material damage." 

The explosion followed a similar incident March 1, when an explosion occurred in the Our Lady of Refuge Cathedral. No injuries or damage were reported at the cathedral, though the diocese initially described the explosion as stemming from a "bottle of acid falling."

No one has claimed responsibility for making or leaving the devices. Tamaulipas state authorities have identified no suspects in the explosions.

The incidents occurred as Mexico convulses with violence and the state has experienced drug-cartel crimes, including kidnapping and extortion.

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