Pope shocked by murder of Jesuit priests in Mexico

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VATICAN CITY, June 22 (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the murder of two Jesuit priests and a layman in Mexico, saying it was a shocking reminder of the level of violence in the country.

“So many killings in Mexico,” Francis said at the end of his general audience before thousands in St. Peter’s Square.

The Chihuahua state attorney’s office, along the US border, said three people were killed in the town of Cerocahui after a man took refuge in a church to protect himself from an attack. Read more

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Two of them were Jesuit priests, the same religious order to which the pope belongs.

“I also express my pain and shock at the murder in Mexico the day before yesterday of two of my religious brothers, Jesuits, and a layman,” Francis said.

“I am close in prayer and affection to the Catholic community affected by this tragedy. Once again I repeat that violence does not solve problems but increases episodes of suffering,” he said.

The bodies of the three men were taken away by a group of men in the back of a van, Luis Gerardo Moro, Jesuit leader in Mexico, said in a radio interview.

The two priests worked at the church in the small town in the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range, home to the indigenous Raramuri group and the site of growing cartel violence.

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Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Alison Williams

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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