Mexico Priests, Christians Fighting Pessimism in Wake of Presumed Murder of 43 Students

Ezequiel Mora
Ezequiel Mora, father of Alexander Mora Venancio stands in front of an altar with pictures of his son at his house in El Pericon, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, December 7, 2014. |

Mexican priests and the Christian faithful are trying "not to fall into pessimism" as the country struggles to deal with the presumed murder of 43 students involving corrupt police officers, which has sparked nationwide protests and heavy police reform.

"The country is experiencing difficult times, perhaps a crisis of confidence in society, in the authorities, there are many doubts. However, there are priests and faithful who are looking for solutions, in order not to fall into pessimism," said The Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, according to Fides News Agency.

Pierre spoke of the need to create a new commission in Mexico focused on justice, peace and reconciliation, and argued that "protesting without proposing anything is sterile."

He added, "I like to see that the Catholic Church is part of society, expresses its solidarity with those who suffer, but must also feel the responsibility to find solutions to offer a way out."

Forty-three students were kidnapped in September and handed over to the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel by corrupt police officers. Families have refused to give up hope that some of the students are still alive, but Mexican authorities have said that they are most likely dead, and have discovered burned bodies near the scene of the kidnapping.

The incident sparked outrage across the country, which has seen as many as 22,000 people disappear in the drug war since 2006. Protesters in several cities demanded change, and President Enrique Pena Nieto responded by announcing that corruption-plagued local police forces will be dissolved.

"Society has raised its voice to say enough is enough," Pena Nieto said at the end of November.

"Mexico must change," the president added.

The Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian body in Mexico, called for an end to corruption.

"Respectfully and energetically, we ask the authorities to take the investigation to its final consequences so that it's known with certainty what has happened with the disappeared, and the intellectual authors ... are punished with the full weight of the law," the Mexican Bishops conference said in a statement in November.

"At the same time, we demand the enforcing of the rule of law to put an end to all forms of violence, illicit activities, corruption, impunity and the complicity of some authorities with organized crime."

U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, said the U.S. has offered its assistance in the investigation for the 43 missing students. Such kidnappings, he  said, have "no place in civilized society."

Obama told Telemundo, the Spanish-language television network: "We've offered assistance in tracking down exactly what happened, our forensic capabilities, our capacity to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

"We've got to make sure that we strengthen the criminal justice system, the investigative capacities. Mexico is our friend and our neighbor. We want them to thrive."

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