By BosNewsLife News Center
VATICAN CITY/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)-- The Vatican's missionary news agency says more than two dozen priests, nuns and lay Catholics were killed worldwide in 2011, BosNewsLife monitored Monday, January 16.
A statement, published by the Fides news agency, shows that at least 26 people were killed in 2011, adding to concerns among Christian missionaries around the world.
For the third consecutive year, the Americas, particularly Latin America, registered the most murders with the death of 13 priests and two laypeople, including 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, Fides reported.
"In their commitment to serving the needs of others, the men and women made their own safety their last priority," Fides explained.
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,"
The list of those killed included:
--A nun identified only as Sister Angelina, who was killed by militants of the Ugandan rebel movement, the Lord's Resistance Army, while she was taking medical assistance to refugees in South Sudan.
--Maria Elizabeth Macias Castro, a member of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, who assisted migrants and
was kidnapped and murdered by drug dealers.
--Sister Valsha John of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary was killed in her home in northern India. She helped protect indigenous communities from being driven from their lands by coal mining companies. The Catholic worker had been repeatedly threatened by criminals who had warned her not to interfere, but government authorities reportedly ignored her requests for help and left her without protection, said Fides.
Fides stressed that its provisional list only includes pastoral care workers, not the "many" other Catholics who died for their faith this year such as the late Pakistan minister of minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, and those killed in the bombings of Christian churches in Nigeria on Christmas.
The news agency added that 25 church workers were killed worldwide in 2010 compared to 37 in 2009.