Friday, February 17, 2012


PRIESTS HIRED GUNMEN TO KILL THEM - Rev. Rafael Reatiga asked his parishioners to pray for him and gave the choirmaster a list of songs for his funeral just before he was found shot to death together with another Roman Catholic priest, a Colombian prosecutor said. Authorities initially suspected robbery when Reatiga’s body was found along with that of Rev. Richard Piffano, 37, in a car in southern Bogota on Jan. 27, 2011. But prosecutor Ana Patricia Larrota said investigators had determined that it was suicide by hitmen: the two priests hired gunmen to kill them after Reatiga discovered he had AIDS. The priests gave members of a criminal gang the equivalent of $8,500, said the chief investigator of the prosecutor’s office, Maritza Gonzalez, as two of the four alleged assassins appeared before a judge for processing. She said the two priests had originally planned to throw themselves off a cliff into a canyon north of Bogota but apparently lacked the nerve.

In addition to AIDS, Reatiga had syphilis and witness testimony indicated he was a regular visitor to places frequented by gays in central Bogota, Larrota told the judge who processed the two alleged assassins on Tuesday. Gildardo Alberto Penate and Isidro Castiblanco were charged with aggravated homicide, said Larrota. Each faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. Three weeks before their deaths, Reatiga had transferred his possessions to his mother. Piffano withdrew about $3,700 from his bank account on the day of his death, Gonzalez said. Investigators said they located the alleged killers based on telephone numbers the priests had called from their cell phones in the days before their deaths. Some of the numbers ended up belonging to a criminal band involved in counterfeiting, fraud and arms trafficking, they said. It allegedly supplied the killers, including two who authorities say remain at large.

Two Colombian priests who were found shot dead in the capital Bogota a year ago had themselves hired the assassins who killed them, prosecutors say.  They had agreed a suicide pact after one of them was diagnosed with Aids, but contracted hitmen because they could not bring themselves to carry it out.  It is sad that people seek refuge in suicide, which leads to take birth in lower species of life or to remain as a ghost, unable to obtain a gross material body.

When a person in despair feels that all of their basic defenses are broken and there is no one to turn to, nor can they find a comforting voice to console or support them, then they may conclude that there is no way out but through death.  If their cry for help is not heard or seems to be ignored, or if they do not know where to find help, then suicide may be considered as a last resort.  But it must be understood that suicide is never the end.  And suicide, and the state of mind that one has to compel one to commit suicide, is never a way for progressing into the next realm.  Death is never the final act.  It only opens the door to additional challenges that must be met or endured, depending on how one leaves their body.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Curing Depression with Spirituality”  -

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