Each year, the news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies takes stock of the Catholic missionaries killed over the past twelve months. 2019 marks the emergence of a new phenomenon: that of the “globalization” of violence against Christians.
According to data collected by Fides, in 2019, 29 missionaries were killed worldwide, most of them priests: 18 priests, 1 permanent deacon, 2 non-priests, 2 sisters, and 6 lay people.
After eight consecutive years in which the largest number of missionaries killed was recorded in the Americas, Africa has been at the top of this bloody ranking since 2018. This statistic corresponds to the resurgence of jihadist violence, especially in the Sahel.
Thus, on African soil, 15 missionaries were killed in 2019: 12 priests, 2 religious and 1 lay person. In the Americas, 6 priests were killed, 1 permanent deacon, 1 religious, 4 lay people: 12 missionaries. In Asia, 1 layman was killed, as well as one sister in Europe.
The data collected by the pontifical agency shows that the Church is now facing a form of globalization in the field of violence and persecution. Thus, 10 countries in Africa, 8 in the Americas, 1 in Asia and 1 on Europe were bathed in the blood of the missionaries, which remains the “seed of Christianity,” according to the solemn expression by Tertullian.