A violent attack on three nuns, who were tied up, gagged and assaulted, has led to renewed criticism that Mexican authorities aren’t taking crimes against Catholics seriously, reports CSW.

Nine months earlier there was a similarly brutal attack on a parish priest in the same village.

In a statement issued on 30 June, the day after the nuns were attacked, the Bishop of Tehuantepec condemned the incident. “We observe with sadness and indignation that this violence has not been combatted in a timely or effective manner. Indifference, under-handedness, and on occasion the complicity of public institutions and society itself have tolerated and fostered the growth of criminality,” he said.

In 2014 the Vatican stated that more Catholic priests were killed in Mexico than anywhere else in the world. The Catholic Multimedia Centre in Mexico has documented a sharp rise in attacks on Catholic Church leaders since president Pena Nieto took office.

Mexico this year re-joined Open Doors International’s (ODI) World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is hardest to practice as a Christian, at no. 38. ODI lists ‘organised corruption’ and ‘organisations operating with impunity‘ among the reasons why Christians suffer in Mexico.