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Vatican: 20 Catholic missionaries killed in 2023

Twenty Catholic missionaries were murdered in 2023, according to a new Dec. 30 report issued by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency.

Fides, the news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies, arrived at that number by calculating “all baptized engaged in the life of the Church who died in a violent way, not only ‘in hatred of the faith.’”

The agency said that most of the missionaries shared the traits of living a “normal life” and did “not carry out any sensational actions or out-of-the ordinary deeds that could have attracted attention and put them in someone’s crosshairs.”

“They found themselves, through no fault of their own, victims of kidnappings, acts of terrorism, involved in shootings or violence of various kinds,” the report said.

Among those who were killed were two U.S. clergymen: Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell and Nebraska parish priest Father Stephen Gutgsell.

The news agency reported that one bishop, eight priests, two non-religious men, one seminarian, one novice, and seven laypersons made up the missionaries murdered in the last year.

The number of murders represents an increase over 2022, when 18 missionaries were killed.

Read more at Catholic News Agency 

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