Twenty-two pastoral workers murdered in 2013

Numbers almost double on last year

The number of pastoral workers who died violently in 2013 has almost doubled since the preceding year, according to annual figures.

Released by the Fides agency, the figures reveal that 22 pastoral workers were killed last year, up from 13 in 2012.

Overall, those killed were 19 priests, one religious sister and two lay persons.

By region, the Americas proved to be the deadliest region again for the fifth consecutive year. Fifteen of the total number of priests killed died here – seven in Colombia, four in Mexico, one in Brazil, one in Venezuela, one in Panama and one in Haiti.

In Africa, one priest was killed in Tanzania, one religious sister in Madagascar and one lay person in Nigeria; in Asia one priest was killed in India and one in Syria while, in the Philippines one lay person was killed. One priest died in Europe, in Italy.
Fides pointed out that to the figures must be added Fr Eric Freed of Eureka, California, who died on the evening of December 31, but whose body was not discovered until the morning of January 1.

As with Fr Freed, in the majority of violent deaths recorded across 2013, robbery appears to have been the motive.