Rome, Dec. 30, 2005 (CWNews.com) - Twenty-six Catholic priests, religious, and lay catechists were killed while serving the Church in the year 2005, according to year-end statistics furnished by the Congregation for Evangelization.
Each year the Fides news agency, an arm of the Vatican Congregation, publishes a list of the year's "martyrs for the faith." In 2004, there were 16 people on the list; for 2005 the list in nearly twice as long. In previous years Fides had listed 30 slain evangelists in 2000, 33 in 2001, 25 in 2002, and 29 in 2003.
In this year's list Fides includes 1 bishop, 20 priests, 2 nuns, 2 monks, and 1 lay catechist.
The annual list compiled by Fides includes only Church personnel, and thus does not necessarily account for all lay Catholics who die for the faith. The list includes missionaries who knowingly accepted the risks of serving in areas where violence can occur, even if their deaths might be attributed to accidents or ordinary crimes such as robbery.
The Americas saw the greatest bloodshed among Catholic missionaries in 2005. (The Vatican treats North and South America as a single continent.) There were 8 priests, 2 nuns, and 2 monks killed in Latin America. Colombia, where 4 priests and 1 nun died violently, was the single bloodiest country. But Church personnel also died in Mexico, Brazil, and Jamaica.
Africa also saw considerable violence against Catholic evangelists, with 1 bishop, 6 priests, and 1 lay evangelist dying, in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, and Nigeria.
In Asia there were 3 priests killed in India, and 1 in Indonesia.
Nor was Europe spared: 1 priest was killed in Brussels, and 1 in Moscow. The Americas also furnished the greatest number of "martyrs for the faith" on the Fides list, with 10. Colombia and India each saw 5 natives killed.
You can view the list of those martyred in service to our Lord here.