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Attempted Assassination of Bishop Barahona in El Salvador

UPDATE MARCH 22: We learned a bit more this morning. First, the attack was carried out by machine gun, which indicates premeditation. Second, the Bishop’s companion was injured more seriously than originally reported and is in grave, but stable, condition.

Bishop Barahona, Anglican Bishop of El Salvador, was the target of an assassination attempt this past Wednesday; he and his companions are OK. Bishop Barahona has visited St. Mary’s, and has met with us on our visits to El Salvador. The following is a press release from the Bishop’s office. The Bishop, his companions, and the church in El Salvador are in our prayers. – Editor

Historic Churches Offer Solidarity with the Episcopal Church in El Salvador

by Susana Barrera Communications Officer Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador

San Salvador, 19 March 2010

The historic (mainline) churches expressed their solidarity with the Anglican Church in light of the assassination attempt that the bishop of this church, Martín Barahona, and two of his closest collaborators suffered.

The night of Wednesday 17 March Bishop Martín Barahona, along with two of his closest working partners, was victim of the violence that has imprisoned this country. An unknown man wordlessly shot at them. The bullets hit the bishop’s driver, Francis Martínez, who was hospitalized. Meanwhile, the bishop, thanks be to God, was unharmed.

Lutheran bishop Medardo Gómez , in solidarity with Bishop Barahona, said, “As an ecumenical movement of the churches…, we are anxious when a man of God receives an attempt on his life. We cannot prevent ourselves from thinking that it is a persecution of the church and, for this reason, we ask that authorities investigate this event.”

He added, “We are glad and pleased that the bishop is giving his testimony, but how sad it would have been if, on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Monsignor Romero, another bishop had been assassinated… the violence already is excessive.”

El Salvador, a Central American country, is considered one of the most violent countries in the world. According to official statistics, 13 people die a day as a consequence of the social violence.

Bishop Barahona expressed his regret at a press conference: “I leave this matter to the authorities who are investigating, but I am worried about this type of violence that everyone suffers.”

The Human Rights Attorney, Oscar Luna, knows of this case. Other expressions of solidarity for Bishop Barahona have come from The Episcopal Church in the United States.

The attempt occurred in the context of the 30th anniversary [24 March 1980, note of translator] of the Martyrdom of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, a Roman Catholic bishop assassinated during the civil war, who defended the most vulnerable segments of the populace.

The Most Rev. Martín Barahona, 67 years old, has been the Bishop of the Anglican Church of El Salvador since 1992, and is Primate of the Anglican Church of the Region of Central America (IARCA). This church is one of those called “historic” for their prophetic accompaniment of national current events.

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