Modern Martyrs

January 2, 2007

Vatican agency says 24 church workers died violently in 2006

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholic Church personnel continue to be killed as they work in mission lands or among society’s most disadvantaged groups, although they are more often the victims of violent crimes than of persecution for their faith.

Fides, the news agency of the Vatican‘s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said that over the course of 2006 it had registered the deaths of 24 priests, religious and lay workers “who lost their lives in a violent way.”

The murdered church workers, it said, are often “the victims — at least apparently — of aggression, robbery or theft perpetrated in social contexts marked by particular violence, human degradation and poverty, which these peacemakers tried to alleviate with their presence and their work.”

The total of 24 murdered church workers was just one less than that reported in 2005, it said.

While Fides said it was not declaring the deceased to be martyrs in the formal sense of those recognized by the church for being killed out of hatred of the faith, it hoped people would remember and pray for them.

They should be remembered for the price they paid “for the growth of the church in every part of the world” and for their contributions to evangelization and human development.

Fides included in its list St. Joseph Sister Karen Klimczak, who was murdered in April at the Buffalo, N.Y., home she founded for former prisoners. A resident was charged with the murder.

Africa was the continent with the highest number of violent deaths among church missionaries, Fides said; nine priests, one nun and a lay volunteer were killed there.

Six priests and a lay volunteer were murdered in Central and South America; two priests, a nun and a layman were killed in Asia; and a religious brother was killed in Papua New Guinea.


One Response to “Modern Martyrs”

  1. Moneybags said

    Last year at this time I wrote a post on those that died in 2005. There were 26 that died, so I can see that the number killed only decreased by 2.

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