By Christopher Howse
ANOTHER missionary priest has been shot dead in Guatemala. Fr Faustino Villanueva was shot on July 11 by two unidentified men who walked into the parish house in Joyahay in Quiche province and asked to sec the priest on business.
Fr Villanueva. a Spanish Sacred Heart missionary, was 49, and had been working in Guatemala for 20 years, He is the third priest known to have been murdered since May. In June another Spanish Sacred Heart priest, Fr Jose Maria Gran was killed in Quiche. In May a Belgian missionary, Fr Walter Woordeckers, died. In the same month a Filipino missionary, Fr Conrado de la Cruz, and a catechist were kidnapped and are still missing. feared dead. Quiche has become an area of conflict since the discovery of oil led to the dispossession of the Indians who traditionally lived in the district.
The Church there has supported popular movements to protect the people's rights and property in the face of increasing violence by government and semi-independent armed forces. The military government of General Romeo Lucas Garcia has expelled missionary priests and nuns on grounds of meddling in politics. . In June the bishops of Guatemala denounced the ‘tave of "indiscriminate assassination, kidnapping, torture and even profanation of victims' bodies." They went on to refute claims that the Church was a vehicle for atheistic communism.
"The Catholic Church, whose teachings are based on the truth of the Gospel, has a message which is far superior to any human ideology and could never •favour any system that injures man's dignity. What is more. on numerous occasions the Church has condemned atheistic materialism, whether of Marxist or capitalist origin, and the doctrine of national security," they said in a pastoral letter to the nation's Catholics.
• Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited Guatemala last week and traced the upsurge of war and violence to the destruction of family life.
"I may be wrong," she told an audience of 1,500, "but I think all the disturbances in the world today are because of disturbances in the family, If a mother can kill her own child, what is to stop you killing me?"
In a quavering voice, Mother Teresa said she would never have been able to found the Sisters of Charity or won the Nobel Peace Prize if her mother had had an abortion. "If you want to avoid violence in the world, we ought to give love in our homes and project it to our neighbours," -she said, and responded to applause by making the sign of the cross.