Father Ricardo Antonio Cortez, Rector of Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero major seminary in the diocese of Zacatecoluca, El Salvador has been murdered.
In a statement issued on Friday and transmitted via video, Bishop Elías Samuel Bolaños Avelar, announced the “tragic death” of Father Ricardo Antonio Cortez, Rector of San Óscar Arnulfo Romero seminary in the diocese of Zacatecoluca. He said that the Diocese’s “priests, men and women religious and faithful…lament” his death.
At the same time, Bishop Avelar said, “we condemn and repudiate the vile assassination that he suffered.”
The Bishop praised Father Cortez as “good, affable, dedicated to his flock and to the formation and education of the seminarians and to the members of the faithful he served.”
Thus, his untimely and atrocious death is all the more “unexplainable”, Bishop Avelar said.
“The innocent blood of a good priests once again irrigates the land of El Salvador,” he said, recalling that this year the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero, Brother Cosme Spessotto and four women religious from North America. “Once again, our Diocese is stained with the innocent blood of a good pastor dedicated to his sheep.”
Bishop Avelar then proceeded to thank the forensic doctors and the Attorney General for their determination to undertake a criminal investigation into Father Cortez’s death.
Father Cortez’s body was taken at midnight to the Zacatecoluca’s Cathedral. Bishop Avelar invited “the entire Episcopal Conference, the Diocesan clergy and clergy from other Dioceses” to the funeral Mass which took place at 10 a.m. local time on Saturday. He was buried on Sunday at 11 a.m. with homily close family members in attendance.