Even in a rural Mexican community that has grown accustomed to the news of brutal killings, the abduction and murder of a popular Catholic priest has triggered profound shock and outrage.
The bullet-ridden body of the Rev. Jose Lopez Guillen was found Sept. 24 on the highway outside Puruandiro in the western state of Michoacan, a region plagued by violent conflict. The 43-year-old cleric had been abducted from his home in nearby Janamuato five days earlier.
"He was an engaging personality," said Maria Solorio, a regular at Lopez's church. "He was an excellent priest and very devoted to the community. ... What happened to him was a great injustice."
Such injustices have been piling up and have prompted questions about whether the church is under attack or whether the clergy are just collateral damage in a wider wave of violence.
Lopez was kidnapped on Sept. 19, the same day authorities discovered the bodies of two slain priests in the eastern state of Veracruz; that makes at least 15 priests slain over the past four years.
The murders come at a time of strained relations between church and state in Mexico, in part because Catholic bishops recently supported mass protests against a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
This article continues at [Charisma News] Why These Men of God Are Being Hunted and Slaughtered