According to the Vatican’s missionary agency Fides, 29 missionaries were killed around the world last year. Of these, 18 were priests, one was a deacon, two were nuns and eight were laymen. For the second year running the most deaths were in Africa: 15, including 12 priests. In all, 12 were killed in the Americas, including six priests.
Why was it under-reported?
With the levels of violence seen in countries around the world, in wars, mass shootings and everyday murders, the secular media can perhaps be excused for not taking note of one specific group of people – especially as the deaths were spread over the year, rather than being concentrated in one incident.
Rome Reports, the television news agency specialising in covering the Pope and the Vatican, said: “This is yet another year to mourn the death of those who gave their lives to make the lives of others more dignified.”
What will happen next?
The deaths continue year on year. In 2018, 30 missionaries were killed, an increase from 23 in 2017. Fides spoke of the “globalisation of violence”, with missionaries being killed in 10 different African countries, eight countries in America, one in Asia and one in Europe. “If in the past, the missionaries killed were largely concentrated in one geographic area, in 2019 the phenomenon seemed more generalised and widespread,” it wrote.
Some of the killings were by jihadists for religious reasons; others may have been more for political reasons.
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