DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     December 2, 1998     vol. 9, no. 234

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


          MEXICO CITY (CWNews.com) - A Mexican priest was released on Sunday after being tortured and threatened by kidnappers over the weekend, the Archdiocese of Mexico City reported on Monday

          According to several witnesses, Father Lascurain was captured last Friday by several armed men wearing dark clothing. A few days before his disappearance, while he was speaking with a group of youngsters, a car pulled up, two armed men emerged. One man pointed a gun at the priest and pulled the trigger -- thereby demonstrating that the gun had not been loaded. "There wasn't a bullet this time, but there will be next time," the unidentified man warned.

          Father Lascurain was released on Sunday morning and no ransom was requested at any point. "During his capture, Father was beaten and subjected to psychological torture. He was locked in a cage and left without food by his captors," the archdiocese said.

          For the past year, the priest has been heading an evangelization program in the barrio, working primarily with young drug addicts and alcoholics. His work has provoked the ire of drug dealers, and he has been the target of several attacks and a series of threatening phone calls. Some sources in the Mexican Church have expressed fears that corrupt police officials may have been involved in the abduction.

          Meanwhile, a group investigating the 1994 murder of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo has postponed the delivery of a final report on the killing, explaining that their information remains incomplete.

          The special investigative group, which includes representatives of both the Mexican bishops' conference and other public organizations, acknowledged that it had been charged with the responsibility to issue a final report by November 30. However, in a three-page report issued yesterday, the investigative commission pointed out that it had been set up in order to resolve public doubts about the cardinal's death, and an incomplete report would not satisfy that goal.

          The investigative commission, chaired by Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, reported that it still hoped to receive testimony from several expert witnesses, including psychiatrists, handwriting analysts, and forensic experts. Having taken testimony from 67 witnesses already, the commission admitted that many serious questions still surround the case, preventing the formation of a firm and final opinion.

          Cardinal Posadas was gunned down at the Guadalajara airport by a group of men who then boarded a plane, traveled across country, and disappeared after landing several hours later, without any police interference. Although the killing has been attributed to a case of mistaken identity-- with prosecutors theorizing that a group of drug traffickers mistook the cardinal for a rival leader-- skeptics have asked questions as to why the police did not apprehend the assassins, and many Mexicans believe that some government officials were involved in efforts to cover the killers' trail. Thus the case has become a lightning-rod for political controversy.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 2, 1998       volume 9, no. 234


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