The year 2020 saw the death of twenty Catholic missionaries, killed in the exercise of their ministry, including six lay people engaged in pastoral functions. Over the past twenty years, five hundred and thirty-five pastoral workers have been killed around the world, including five bishops.
Each year, Fides—an information agency dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, formerly for the Propagation of the Faith—publishes a report taking stock of the Catholic missionaries who have lost their lives by violence, whether or not in hatred of the faith.
Thus, in 2020, eight priests, one religious, three religious sisters, two seminarians, six lay people, that is to say twenty people in all, were killed.
Central and South America hold the sad annual record for the number of pastoral workers dead, with five priests and three lay people, in a context of social violence where members of the Church appear to be easy targets.
Then comes Africa, with the murders of a priest, three sisters, a seminarian, and two lay people, most of whom fell under the blows of Islamism.
In Asia, a priest, a seminarian, and a layman were killed; in Europe, a priest and a religious.
Over the past twenty years, Fides estimates at five hundred and thirty-five the number of Catholic missionaries killed in the world, including five bishops.
As Fides notes, to the list of victims we should add another, much longer one, which includes pastoral workers or simple Catholics attacked, beaten, robbed, threatened, kidnapped, killed, as well as that of damaged Catholic structures, vandalized or looted.
Thus, the Portesouvertes.fr site announces, for the year 2020: more than 260 million Christians have been severely persecuted around the world. The Index published by this institution lists 9,500 attacks against places of worship and religious institutions.
It should be noted that this Index includes as Christian Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, as well as Evangelical churches. The fact remains that these numbers, which have increased sharply from previous years, show a steadily increasing persecution.