A Catholic priest in the Diocese of Cuautitlán Izcalli, México, was stabbed to death inside a church Wednesday, local reports said.
The death of Fr. Rubén Alcántara Díaz, judicial vicar of the diocese, makes 22 priests who have been murdered since 2012, the Catholic Multimedia Center reported.
According to local media, the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico State confirmed that the murder occurred the evening of April 18, inside Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in the Cumbria neighborhood.
Reports state that the 50-year-old priest was stabbed by a person who fled after the crime and who has yet to be identified.
The Diocese of Cuautitlán Izcalli expressed its sorrow over the death of the priest.
“While the pertinent inquiries are being conducted by the experts, we pray to God for his eternal rest and ask everyone to join in this intention,” the diocese said in a statement.
Bishop Alfonso Miranda, secretary general of the Mexican Bishops Conference, expressed his condolences on Twitter for the death of Fr. Alcántara Díaz and of “all the victims of the enormous amount of violence in Mexico. God help us.”
Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes also lamented the murder, offering prayers that “hope in the Resurrection strengthen the bishop and faithful.”
Last month Bishop Ramón Castro Castro of Cuernavaca called the murder of priests in Mexico a “painful phenomenon which has darkened the country’s horizon.”
The bishop encouraged the faithful to fight to eradicate organized crime from the country with the Gospel, always seeking justice and peace.