Italian Missionary Killed In Brazil

Fr. Alois Lintner, Victim of Violence in Bahia

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RIO DE JANEIRO, MAY 17, 2002 (Zenit.org).-Another missionary has paid with his life for his fidelity to the proclamation of the Gospel in Brazil.



Italian Fr. Alois Lintner, 62, who arrived in Brazil in 1979, was killed on Thursday on the outskirts of San Salvador de Bahia.

According to local sources, at least two men shot the priest in the chest. News immediately after the murder reported robbery as the motive.

However, a local television channel has referred to it as "murder, the fruit of vengeance."

Fr. Luis, as the people of Bahia called him, was committed to the struggle against crime. Over the past weeks, the priest organized a gathering of parishioners of the Most Holy Virgin church in the Cajazeira 5 neighborhood, one of the poorest of San Salvador de Bahia. The protest was against the persistence of delinquency, a widespread problem in the slums.

The attack occurred shortly before 9:00 a.m. Fr. Luis had finished his customary visit to a center for minors, where he usually taught, and was driving to a nearby biblical center.

"A Tarda" newspaper reports that the killers shot him twice and left him on the ground. They took his car and drove over his body. Fr. Luis died shortly after, en route to the hospital.

Fr. Lintner was born in Aldino, Bolzano. He left his Italian diocese in 1979 "to share the life of the last in Brazil," he used to say.

"He is the latest victim of an urban violence that advances and is now indiscriminate," Italian lay missionary Delia Boninsegna said, who works in Bahia. "People live in the greatest insecurity in the principal Brazilian cities. If at one time violence was localized, now the threat weighs on us all," she concluded.