Madrid, Spain, Feb 24, 2017 / 03:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. Arturo Lopez, a 77 year-old priest, was brutally beaten by three masked men during an assault at the rectory of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in the town of Coslada in Madrid Province, Spain.
The three unidentified men tied up and assaulted Fr. Lopez when they entered the house to steal valuables and money on Feb. 22 around 8:50 p.m. local time. The assailants used a rope to bind the priest in one of the rooms.
One of the men threatened and beat the elderly priest to give them money while the other two searched the house. As the priest later reported, the assailants spoke perfect Spanish and did not seem to be foreign.
According to El Mundo newspaper, officers from the National Police from Coslada who are investigating the assault, described the attack on the parish priest as “brutal.” He had to be taken to the hospital because of injuries from the beating to his face and the back part of his head.
Fr. Arturo was given stitches and underwent appropriate medical tests to see if he had suffered any brain damage. He was kept in the hospital overnight Wednesday and on Thursday he was discharged since no complications were noted.
The assailants took more than 800 euros, various keys and the priest's cell phone. It is currently being investigated if they went into the church to take valuables.
At 9:15 p.m., the assailants left the rectory, leaving the priest tied up. However, Fr. Arturo was able to free himself from the ropes and notify the police who immediately came over to the rectory. There they found the priest stunned and bloodied.
Fr. Arturo came to Coslada in 1993, and is a beloved and much appreciated person in the town. The neighbors expressed their support and closeness to the priest after the assault he suffered.
Fr. Arturo belongs to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross (Sociedad Sacerdotal de la Santa Cruz) which Opus Dei offers spiritual formation and assistance to.
In 2009, Fr. Lopez gave an interview published on the Opus Dei website in which he spoke about his work as pastor in Coslada and his membership in the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, where they helped him understand that “God's will comes first.”
The priest is a native of San Fernando, in Cadiz Province, Spain and has spent 24 years at Saint Peter and Saint Paul parish in Coslada, on the outskirts of Madrid.
“I belong to the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, where they taught me that the will of God comes first and I'm delighted to be here (in Coslada)” he commented in the interview and said that he feels “extremely happy to be among so many good people as there are here, and I would also say that the priests that belong to this society are very close to each other.”
“We are in a very hardworking area. I normally open up the parish at 7:15 in the morning and it's a rare day when people don't come in to pray, spend a little time in prayer, make a small donation for the poor or go to Confession because they know there's a priest there,” Fr. Lopez said at that time.
Fr. Arturo takes Saint Paul the patron of his parish as an example. “I would say that in these current times, he's an true example for priests and for any Christian to go out on the street, being brave, loyal, sincere and totally taken up with that love of Jesus Christ,” he said.