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At least 26 Church pastoral workers killed in 2011

VATICAN CITY (CNS): According to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, at least 26 Catholic pastoral workers were killed in mission lands or among society’s most disadvantaged communities in 2011. More often than not, they were victims of violent crimes rather than religious persecution. 

The agency released the annual listing on December 30 and said that over the course of the year, it registered the deaths of 18 priests, four religious women and four laypeople. Twenty-five Church workers were killed in 2010—down from the unusually high number of 37 in 2009. 

For the third consecutive year, the Americas, particularly Latin America, registered the most murders with the death of 13 priests and two laypeople: seven in Colombia, five in Mexico and one each in Brazil, Paraguay and Nicaragua. Six pastoral workers were killed in Africa, four in Asia and one priest was killed in Europe. 

In their commitment to serving the needs of others, the men and women made their own safety their last priority, said the Fides report. 

Like other years, “many were killed in an attempted robbery or kidnapping that ended badly, caught in their homes by bandits in search of imaginary riches. Others were killed in the name of Christ by those opposing love with hatred, hope with despair, dialogue with violent opposition, the right to perpetrate abuse,” it said. 

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