ECONOMY

US Bishops join Mexico colleagues, denounce 'Santa Muerte'

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2013, file photo, statues of La Santa Muerte are displayed at the Masks y Mas art store in Albuquerque, N.M. Bishops in the United States are finally denouncing the skeleton folk saint known as La Santa Muerte, a figure often connected to the illicit drug trade in Mexico. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2013, file photo, statues of La Santa Muerte are displayed at the Masks y Mas art store in Albuquerque, N.M. Bishops in the United States are finally denouncing the skeleton folk saint known as La Santa Muerte, a figure often connected to the illicit drug trade in Mexico. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)  (The Associated Press)

Bishops in the United States are denouncing La Santa Muerte — the skeleton folk saint in Mexico linked to the illicit drug trade.

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester, El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz, and San Angelo Michael Sis in Texas joined their counterparts in Mexico last week in urging Catholics to avoid honoring to the folk saint. Wester called her "antithetical" to the teachings of Jesus.

The denouncement comes after Ciudad Juarez Bishop Jose Guadalupe Torres Campos attacked La Santa Muerte, which means Holy Death, in a recent newspaper interview.

Popular in Mexico, Santa Muerte is folk saint also worshipped by some immigrant small business owners, gay activists and the poor.

___

Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/russell-contreras.