New Mexico archbishop again denounces ‘Santa Muerte’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico archbishop is renewing his call for Catholics to stop worshipping the skeleton folk saint known as La Santa Muerte, or “Our Lady of Holy Death.”

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester recently told The Associated Press he fears some Catholics mistakenly believe Santa Muerte is a saint sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church.

Santa Muerte is popular in Mexico. Shrines and statues of the folk saint can be found in New Mexico, California, Louisiana, Texas and elsewhere. They usually depict the skeleton figure wearing a black nun’s robe and holding a scythe.

Wester is one of only a handful of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops who have denounced the figure.

Virginia Commonwealth University religious scholar Andrew Chesnut says church officials in Latin America decry Santa Muerte almost weekly.

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