VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Violence against Catholic missionaries is on the rise worldwide, according to the Vatican Congregation for Evangelization. Fides, a news service sponsored by that Congregation, today reported that 68 missionaries were killed in 1997. That marked a substantial increase over 1996, when 48 missionaries were slain. Already this year there have been 10 missionaries killed

      After consulting with missionary congregations and dioceses, Fides published a full account of last year's victims: 1 bishop, 19 priests (15 diocesan priests and 4 members of religious orders), 1 monk, 7 nuns, and 40 seminarians. The seminarians were slaughtered on April 30, 1997, at the minor seminary in Buta, Burundi.

      Most of the victims of this violence were Catholics of African origin: 8 from Rwanda, 6 from Congo, and 1 from Nigeria as well as the 40 seminarians from Burundi. There were 3 missionaries from India who gave their lives in 1997, and 2 from Brazil. Other victims were from Canada, Colombia, the Philippines, Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, and the United States.

      Africa was also the continent where most of the missionaries died: 12 in Congo, 4 in Rwanda, 41 in Burundi, and 1 each in Chad, Kenya, and Nigeria. There were 2 killings apiece in India and Brazil, and 1 each in Colombia, Peru, the Philippines, and Nepal.

      Thus far in 1998, there have been 7 missionaries killed in Rwanda, and one each in Congo, India, and Paraguay.

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April 24-26, 1998 volume 9, no. 80         DAILY CATHOLIC