New anti-crime ministry considered in Mexico

An upsurge in violence in Mexico has got Catholics there looking at different ways to combat the country’s escalating crime statistics.

They are looking to laypeople, especially the young, to cooperate with the law.

“We have had meetings of businessmen, women, young people, consecrated men and women, seminarians, priests…” says Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López, Mexico Bishops’ Conference president.

He says it’s important they involve the entire community in a national meeting to choose a way to promote peace.

A country where there is no justice can have no order or tranquillity, López says.

“That is why the national meeting is important … [so we] sit down to discuss these issues that hurt a lot in our country.

“In our archdiocese, there are about 10,000 prisoners, men and women, who we have to encourage, promote and guide towards a path of conversion so that when they are free, they can be respectful of the law and respectful of human beings,” Cabrera says.

The Church is reconsidering the role all Mexicans have “in this fight so that there is peace in Mexico”.

Youth ministry and education

The Church’s plan to combat violence and crime involves targeting young people in street and gang situations.

It has established the “New Race” apostolate, where Church personnel try to “convert” young people into being missionaries for peace.

This involves convincing young people that the way of peace is the way of God, Cabrera says.

He highlights the importance of youth ministry and education that responds to the people’s needs.

He adds that it also needs to guarantee security and justice within the context of increasing numbers of missing people and in violence and crime.

Violence is a serious issue related to drug trafficking and criminal activities.

He also points to Mexico’s political, business and social sectors which can also exacerbate poverty and rob people of opportunities for integral development.

Official crime statistics

Official figures show Mexico had 15,122 homicides in the first half of this year; in June, there were 2,536.

In 2023, the Federal and State Penitentiary System said Mexico’s 284 penitentiary centres had 232,230 inmates.

The Ministry of the Interior reported 111,461 people missing from 1962 to 10 September 2023.

Why the violence?

“Mexico’s violence is the result of a multi-level, uncoordinated judicial system that has been incapable of controlling criminal networks that are increasingly fractured and geographically dispersed,” the Mexico Institute says.

“Today’s crisis is the result of changes in the modus operandi of criminals that are not mirrored by changes in Mexico’s judicial and police institutions,” it said.

The 2021 Global Organised Crime Index demonstrates that widespread systemic corruption has allowed criminal networks to flourish in Mexico.


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News category: World.

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