Fides, the agency of he Pontifical Mission Societies, announced that in 2013 twenty-two pastoral workers were killed worldwide, mostly–19–priests. This is nearly double the number from 2012 when 13 workers were killed.
The area most affected by the killings is Latin America, especially Columbia. Here’s the breakdown:
19 priests, 1 religious sister, 2 laypersons. In America: 15 priests (7 in Colombia, 4 in Mexico, 1 in Brazil, 1 in Venezuela, 1 in Panama, 1 in Haiti) were killed; in Africa: 1 priest was killed in Tanzania, 1 religious sister in Madagascar, 1 lay person in Nigeria were killed; in Asia 1 priest in India and 1 in Syria were killed; in the Philippines 1 lay person was killed; in Europe a priest was killed in Italy.
Fides stated that the majority of pastoral workers were killed in particularly violent attacks. Such attacks, the agency said, are “a sign of the climate of moral decline, economic and cultural poverty, which generates violence and disregard for human life.”
In his Angelus address on Nov. 17 Pope Francis called for prayer for those who suffer for the faith: “Let us think about our many Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution for their faith. There are so many, perhaps more now than in past centuries,”