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Activist priest in Mexico claims church trying to smother his work

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Aug. 10 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

MEXICO CITY — A crusading Roman Catholic priest who has defied drug cartels and corrupt police to protect Central American migrants says church authorities are trying to smother his activist work with migrants by assigning him to parish duties.

The Rev. Alejandro Solalinde has become well known in Mexico after enduring death threats for publicly denouncing drug gangs and police who rob and kidnap Central American migrants crossing Mexico to reach the United States.

But Solalinde's diocese said he is simply being asked to start operating within the normal parish structure, and run his migrant shelter more like a church ministry and less like a lone activist's nongovernmental organization.

It's the first major public clash between the conservative Mexican church hierarchy and activist priests since the diocese of San Cristobal was told to curtail "Indian" church practices begun by Bishop Samuel Ruiz and hew to accepted doctrine in 2002.

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