The Mexican bishops’ conference has issued a statement condemning the growing rate of femicide in the country and calling for a campaign to educate people in respect for the dignity of women.
In their statement, the bishops make reference to four recent “brutal murders” of mostly young girls, noting that the crimes “have left us perplexed and filled us with pain and sadness.”
“To their parents, family, teachers and classmates, we offer our comfort and strength, our closeness and encouragement,” reads the text, signed by five bishops and archbishops who carry out leadership roles in the conference.
The total number of victims of femicide, defined as the killing of a woman or girl on account of her gender, reached 1006 in Mexico for the year 2019, the bishops note, causing widespread public protests.
According to the United Nations, Mexico ranks second only to Brazil among Latin American nations plus the Caribbean and Spain in the number of femicides committed on a yearly basis.
“We are deeply grieved by violence against women,” the bishops state, “which has been expressed with a new and aggressive face visible before our eyes, in such a cruel way that it generates confusion, pain, bitterness, sadness, tears, indignation, helplessness and desire for revenge.”
“Faced with this reality, we, the Bishops of Mexico, raise our voices, to give expression to the pain and all those affected by it,” they declare, “because the pain that does not speak groans in the heart until it breaks it, and we wish to speak from the faith so that we can offer presence in words, dialogue and meeting to open ourselves to compassion.”
“The cry of pain of the victims of violence cries out to heaven for justice. Christians cannot remain indifferent. We are urged by the prophetic zeal of Jesus of Nazareth,” they add.
In their statement, the bishops call the situation an “authentic educational emergency” since basic values of human coexistence seem to have been lost in Mexico.
“We are all co-responsible for resolving the crisis of humanity we face: the family, the school, the media, the churches — among others — we are social actors who have a responsibility in the mission of forging a culture of hope and peace,” they declare.
As the Catholic Church in Mexico, the bishops also pledge to place their resources at the service of victims of violence in every corner of the country as well as endeavoring to help rebuild the nation’s damaged social fabric.
“We call on all believers and people of good will to do our part to prevent violence from growing and spreading and in a very special way we invite everyone to respect women and recognize their rights, promote their dignity, guaranteeing their freedom and integrity in our society,” they state.