Catholics have been urged to avoid honouring the folk 'saint'

Bishops in the United States are denouncing La Santa Muerte — the skeleton folk saint in Mexico linked to the illicit drug trade.

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester, El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz, and San Angelo Michael Sis in Texas joined their counterparts in Mexico last week in urging Catholics to avoid honouring to the folk saint. Wester called her “antithetical” to the teachings of Jesus.

The denouncement comes after Ciudad Juarez Bishop Jose Guadalupe Torres Campos attacked La Santa Muerte, which means Holy Death, in a recent newspaper interview.

Popular in Mexico, Santa Muerte is folk saint also worshipped by some immigrant small business owners, gay activists and the poor.