News of a third priest abducted in Mexico in the last week is raising concerns among the Roman Catholic community across the country and the world.
Priest José Alfredo López Guillén was robbed and then abducted Monday from his parish residence in the rural town of Janamuato, in the western state of Michoacán.
The incident occurred within hours of the abduction of two other priests in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, whose bullet-ridden bodies were found on a roadside Monday.
"We plead that the life and physical integrity of the priest be respected," said Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda, head of the Morelia archdiocese, in a video statement.
"After sharing the enormous pain of the death of two young priests in the diocese of Papantla, Veracruz, we are now suffering our own anguish with the disappearance of one of our priests."
He said the missing priest is “a good man, a man who does good, a peaceful man.”
“This barbarity is in no way justified,” he added. “Our community suffers the death or anguish of any of the faithful.”
The two attacks on priests have raised concerns, although prosecutors in Veracruz state said the two priests kidnapped there Sunday knew their attackers and had been drinking with them.
According to the Catholic Media Center, 28 priests have been killed in Mexico since 2006, not counting this week's slayings.
The U.S. State Department wrote in its 2015 International Religious Freedom report that priests in Mexico are "victims of extortion attempts, death threats, and intimidation by organized criminal groups."
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.