Church in Mexico Condemns Murder of 8-Year-Old Girl, Vigilante Retribution

Camila disappeared in the town of Taxco in the Mexican state of Guerrero after going out to play on Wednesday, March 27.

A young girl running as the sun sets.
A young girl running as the sun sets. (photo: Jcomp / Freepik)

“We are destroying ourselves little by little,” the Primatial Archdiocese of Mexico said in condemnation of the recent kidnapping and murder of an 8-year-old girl, Camila, which was followed by a vigilante reprisal against the alleged perpetrators.

In an editorial in its weekly publication Desde la Fe (“From a Faith Perspective”), the Archdiocese of Mexico questioned: “How many more dead girls? How many more lynchings [mob justice]? How many more injustices? When will we understand that violence only generates more violence?”

Faced with this tragedy, which is evidence of “a number of the problems that have torn the social fabric,” the archdiocese urged the people to resist the feelings of “selfishness, fear, and bitterness, suffering and death, which close off the way to joy and hope.”

In the context of the celebration of Easter Sunday, the editorial reminded readers that “Jesus is alive, as is his message,” emphasizing that “no painful, selfish, and cruel event can guide our path, much less have the last word in the destiny of our country.”

Camila’s Death

Camila disappeared in the town of Taxco in the Mexican state of Guerrero after going out to play on Wednesday, March 27. According to local media reports, the girl’s mother received anonymous calls demanding money in exchange for the release of her daughter.

Camila’s body was discovered the next day inside a plastic bag on the side of the highway that connects Taxco with the city of Cuernavaca in the neighboring state of Morelos.

Based on security camera footage, local residents identified three suspects — two men and a woman — and brutally beat them for want of action from the authorities. The men were later hospitalized, but the woman, who was held responsible for the kidnapping, died from the beating.

The Guerrero state attorney general’s office reported March 29 and March 30 the arrests of three people possibly connected with the crime. One was the boyfriend of the woman beaten to death and the others were two of her sons, one an adult and the other a minor.

Response of the Catholic Church

The bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, José de Jesús González Hernández, whose diocese includes the Taxco area, expressed his sorrow for Camila’s death.

According to the weekly publication Proceso, on March 31, Bishop González Hernández said at the conclusion of the celebration of Mass in the Chilapa cathedral: “The death of an innocent person is very painful, and then how they let themselves be carried away by a spirit of rebellion, impulsiveness, inhuman enough to kill another person by their own hands. That shouldn’t happen.”

“The entire society can be destroyed if there is no one to guarantee the minimum of human rights,” the prelate warned.

“As humans we need to control ourselves, control those spirits that surely move us, spirits of injustice, of not obeying the law,” he added.

Violence Not What Jesus ‘Won for Us With His Resurrection’

The auxiliary bishop of Puebla, Francisco Javier Martínez Castillo, used the Collect prayer for Sunday’s Mass to lead a special prayer for “the girl Camila, kidnapped and murdered in Taxco, and for the consolation of her family.”

During his homily, the prelate called on Catholics not to let “death and violence, contempt and attacks on life go on.” Bishop Martínez stressed that “violations of the dignity of the human person constitute true attacks on the original project intended by God for the development of our existence.”

“When we act in this way [violently], we are reaffirming that we have become accustomed to death and pain, and that is not what Jesus won for us with his resurrection,” he said.