Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – According to information gathered by Agenzia Fides, in 2020 20 missionaries were killed in the world: 8 priests, 1 religious man, 3 religious women, 2 seminarians, 6 lay people. This year the highest number of missionaries killed returns to be registered in America, where 5 priests and 3 lay people were killed (8). Followed by Africa, where 1 priest, 3 religious women, 1 seminarian, 2 lay people were killed (7). In Asia 1 priest, 1 seminarian and 1 lay man. In Europe 1 priest and 1 religious man. In the last 20 years, from 2000 to 2020, 535 pastoral workers have been killed in the world, 5 of whom are Bishops.
Agenzia Fides continues its service to collect information regarding the missionaries killed during the year. We use the term "missionary" for all the baptized, aware that "in virtue of their Baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples. All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization" (EG 120). As it has been for some time, the annual list of Fides does not look only to Missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense, but tries to record all the baptized engaged in the life of the Church who died in a violent way, not only “in hatred of the faith”. For this reason, we prefer not to use the term “martyrs”, if not in its etymological meaning of “witness”, in order not to enter into the question of the judgment that the Church might eventually deliver upon some of them, after careful consideration, for beatification or canonization.
Even in 2020 many pastoral workers lost their lives during attempted hold-ups and robberies, ferociously committed, in impoverished, degraded social contexts, where violence is the rule of life, the authority of the state was lacking or weakened by corruption and compromises and in the total lack of respect for life and for every human right. None of them carried out striking feats or actions, but simply shared the same daily life as the majority of the population, bearing their evangelical witness as a sign of Christian hope. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/12/2020)