Another Catholic priest murdered in Mexico

(Photo: Nat Arnett)

Another Roman Catholic priest was found dead in Mexico this week, leading to increased protests over violence in the country.

Father Francisco Javier Gutiérrez Díaz, 60, was robbed and shot in the head on Monday. His body was found on a dirt road in Guanajuato state. 

The priest was attacked after leaving his parish, Our Lady of the Rosary, in Salvatierra. Authorities say his money, wallet, and cell phone were missing. 

Across the country, church leaders decried the senseless murder. 

"United in prayer, we are indignant at the death of Father Francisco Javier Gutiérrez Díaz, of Capuchinas in Salvatierra Guanajuato," said the Archbishop of Morelia, Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda. "When will this end? Enough with so much blood spilled!"

Díaz is the tenth priest killed in Mexico in the past two years, according to the LA Times. 

Rev Gregorio López Gorostieta was found dead in December after being missing for several days, and in September, the body of Rev Ascension Acuna Osorio was found in the Balsas River, with no explanation given for either death. 

Ugandan priest visiting Mexico, Rev John Ssenyondo, was kidnapped and killed in May 2014 after officiating Mass. His body was discovered in November during a search for kidnapped students.

There have also been drive-by shootings targeting priests, threats of violence, and other terrorising acts. The clergymen believe they are being attacked for condemning the rampant violence in Guerrero state, which has been attributed to the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel.

Father Prisciliano Hernández, a friend of Díaz, according to El Observador, mourned the loss of so many lives. 

"I can't find the words to express my pain at the death of my friend and my brother, who in his life cut down evil and hate," he said. "He's one more victim of the violence that lives in our country."

"We ask the Lord to forgive those who caused this serious crime," Cardinal Inda added.