Catholic Mission says rise in missionaries killed is distressing
- 10 January 2017
Catholic Mission has described a report claiming that 28 pastoral workers were killed in 2016 in the line of duty, the highest number reported since 2009, as “distressing”.
The annual report, released last week by Agenzia Fides, suggests a rise in the number of pastoral workers, priests, religious men and women, and lay Catholics killed worldwide, which in 2015 stood at 22.
Last year’s figure includes 14 priests, nine religious women, four lay people and a seminarian. Once again, the most prolific number of killings occurred in the United States, where 12 pastoral workers died violently.
Father Brian Lucas, National Director of Catholic Mission, says the report is concerning and reflected increasing levels of global persecution against Christians. “It is certainly distressing to see a seven-year high in the number of pastoral workers killed worldwide, although it is perhaps not surprising,” he said.
“Once again, this report serves as a reminder of the great sacrifices made by men and women all around the world in their mission of sharing the message and love of Jesus and promoting good in their communities. Sometimes, sadly, it is the ultimate sacrifice that they make.”
While attempted robbery was the motivating factor in the majority of the killings, many of the priests, religious sisters and lay people were outspoken on matters of injustice, corruption and poverty in the name of the Gospel, according to Agenzia Fides.
The Vatican-based Catholic news agency claims that “hardly any” of the investigations into the killings led to convictions or even charges against their perpetrators, let alone uncovering the reasons for the crimes.
Father Lucas called for prayers for all missionaries around the world, especially those killed during the past year and those at risk of violence and persecution.
Read the full report from Agenzia Fides here.