WASHINGTON (April 27, 1998) -- Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick today offered prayers and condolences to the people of Guatemala following the brutal murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera Sunday in Guatemala City.
The Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' International Policy Committee called the fatal attack on Bishop Gerardi, a staunch defender of human rights, a "terrible shock."
Bishop Gerardi was beaten to death by an intruder in the garage of his Guatemala City home Sunday evening. His death came just two days after he had presented a four-volume report, generated by the Church-sponsored Project for the Recovery of Historical Memory, on human rights violations during Guatemala's 36-year civil war. While the motivation for Bishop Gerardi's murder is still unclear, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Guatemala City suggested that it could be tied to the release of the report.
Archbishop McCarrick called Bishop Gerardi, an auxiliary bishop of Guatemala City, "a tireless defender of human rights."
"Whatever comes to light about the reason for this despicable crime, Bishop Gerardi's legacy as a great defender of the fundamental rights of the human person, created in the image of God, will be a lasting one, not only in his native Guatemala but wherever people continue the struggle for life and dignity," said Archbishop McCarrick.