On August 7th, Father Ricardo Antonio Cortez was found near his car in El Salvador. Police ruled out a robbery as no possessions were taken but the Priest had died from several gunshot wounds. Father Cortez had been serving as rector at the seminary named for the recently canonized Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero in Santiago de Maria. Police reported that Father had been driving down the road when he was intercepted by unknown assailants who shot him several times. 2020 is the third year in a row where a priest has been killed in El Salvador - Father Walter Osmar Vasquez Jimenez was killed on March 29th, 2018 and Father Cecilio Perez on May 18th, 2019 (Both deaths are still considered unresolved).
Rev. Raphael Sanchez, a close friend of Father Cortez and Parish Priest at the Church of San Nicola di Bari in Rome Said:
“News of his death hit me right at the heart,”
“never mentioned that he feared for his life or was in danger.”
Bishop Elias Samuel Bolanos Avelar of Zacatecoluca said in a video statement:
“Once again, our diocese is stained with the innocent blood of a good pastor dedicated to his sheep,”