QUITO -- Bishop Luis Alberto Luna Tobar on Wednesday excommunicated
entire population of an indigenous community in the Andean province of Azuay,
for their involvement in a lynching earlier this month.
After Mass on Wednesday -- the last to be celebrated in the town
for an indefinite
time -- the parish faithful were told they would be deprived of all sacraments --
from baptism to last rites. Luna Tobar acted in response to the violent, summary
justice handed down on a man accused of murder. The townspeople reportedly
burned him alive.
``I do it with immense pain and immense love,'' Luna Tobar said.
``. . . This taking
of justice into one's own hands cannot be allowed to continue in this country.''