According to the Catholic Multimedia Center (CCM), violence against priests is not a direct expression of hatred of faith, but a desire for “social destabilization”. The local Church is, in fact, “a reality that helps people, in direct competition with organized crime”, which knows that eliminating a priest is much more than eliminating a person, because it destabilizes an entire community.
According to what has been gathered in about nine years of journalistic investigations, which have earned Father Sotelo the 2017 National Journalism Award, the phenomenon is growing, hand in hand with the increase in violence in the country.
The intimidation is so frequent that in Mexico 26 churches per month are desecrated. “In the usual modus operandi, attacks on priests begin with extortion, then kidnapping, torture, and ultimately murder, with a particularly brutal violence”, explains Fr. Sotelo Aguilar. Furthermore, post mortem slander of slain priests is common, to “divert attention” in the investigation. Thanks to the work carried out by the CCM team, “anomalies” by investigators were reported and made public and the authorities had to reopen the files already archived. CCM research has led to the intervention of Parliament’s Human Rights Commission and the action of the US State Department and international organizations.