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Twenty-three Catholic Missionaries Were Killed in the World in 2017

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Twenty-three Catholic Missionaries Were Killed in the World in 2017

Twenty-three Catholic missionaries were killed in the world in 2017: 13 priests, one Religious, one nun, and eight laymen reported the Vatican Agency Fides, on Thursday, December 28, 2017.

For the eighth consecutive year, the highest number was recorded in America, where 11 Catholics on mission were killed (eight priests, one Religious, and two laymen), followed by Africa with 10 victims (four priests, one nun, and five laymen), and by Asia where one priest and one layman were killed.

According to data published by Fides, from 2000 to 2016, 424 Catholics on mission were killed in the world, of which five were Bishops.

The Agency explained that “€œnumerous pastoral workers were killed during robbery attempts in contexts of economic and cultural poverty, of moral and environmental degradation, where violence and abuses are regarded as a rule of conduct.”€

For Fides, this list is “€œonly the tip of the iceberg,”€ because the list of pastoral workers or of “€œsimple Catholics”€ who were “€œassaulted, beaten, robbed, threatened”€ is much longer, as well as that “€œof Catholic structures at the service of the whole population, which were assaulted, vandalized or pillaged.”€

To the provisional lists drawn up annually by Fides, “€œthe long list must always be added of those of whom there has been no news for a long time or whose name is unknown, who “€“ in the four corners of the planet “€“ suffer and pay with their life for their faith in Jesus Christ.”€

The murderers of priests or Religious “€œare rarely identified or condemned,”€ deplored Fides, which gave the example of the murder of Spanish missionary Vicente Canas, killed in Brazil in 1987. During the first trial in 2006, the accused were acquitted for lack of evidence; a new trial led to the condemnation of the sponsor, sole survivor of the accused.

Fides also explained that its annual list “€œdoesn”€™t concern only the missionaries ad gentes, in the strict sense of the term, but attempts to register all the pastoral workers who died in a violent way, not explicitly “€œout of hatred for the faith.”€ “€œFor this reason, we prefer not to use the term “€˜martyrs,”€™ except in its etymological sense of “€œwitnesses,”€ so as not to anticipate the judgment that the Church might give eventually on some among them.”€


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