by Lucy Lethbridge
THOUSANDS of mourners lined the streets of Guadalajara to catch a last glimpse of Cardinal Juan Posadas Ocampo, who was buried in the city's cathedral this week.
The Pope and Cardinal Hume t were among the many who paid tribute to the Mexican cardinal killed last week in a drug-related shoot-out in Guadalajara airport. The death of Cardinal Ocampo was a "tragic and irrepair' able loss for the Church," the pontiff wrote to the National Episcopal Conference of Mexico.
Suspicions that the cardinal, a staunch opponent of the country's drug-trafficking cartels, was the victim of an assassination attempt grew this week when the coroner reported that Cardinal Ocampo was shot 14 times at point-blank range.
Mexican police had originally thought that the cardinal was caught in the cross-fire of a conflict between two rival drugsgangs.
Police think it possible that Cardinal Ocampo may have been mistaken for the notorious drugs baron Juaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. It has been alleged that hit men from a rival cartel had been sent to the airport to assassinate Guzman.
During the cardinal's funeral, Bishop Nicolas Lopez of the Latin American Bishops Council called for an enquiry into the killing: "Powerful political and economic interests are related to the death of Posadas Ocampo," he said. The Church's criticism is an embarassment for the Salinas administration, which last year reestablished relations with the Vatican.
In telegrams to the Mexican bishops, Pope John Paul II went on to say that he strongly condemned "acts against the life and dignity of human beings which attack the social harmony and Christian tradition of the beloved Mexican people."
Six other people died in the shoot-out that killed the cardinal. The government this week placed a £5 million reward on the heads of the murderers.