The following comes from a December 30 Agenzia Fides article:

The wake of pastoral workers killed in this historic phase of humanity reveals an unprecedented upsurge. It seems to have no equal in the history, because it is an ongoing globalized persecution. Indeed Christians killed in this year, that our Agency regularly records, belong to 4 continents. America, already for seven consecutive years has the sad primacy with eight pastoral workers killed. Followed by Asia with seven, Africa with five and finally Europe with two priests in Spain.

These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg of global persecution of Christians that, as we read in the Letter to Diognetus, love all, and are persecuted by all. Isis, Boko Haram, discrimination in various countries where religion is an affair of State, make being a Christian difficult and heroic, subject to attacks and massacres. It is necessary that Christ is in agony until the end of the world, when there will be the Kingdom of justice and peace.

In 2015, 22 pastoral care workers were killed worldwide, three more than 2013. For the seventh consecutive year, the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of pastoral care workers killed is America.

The pastoral care workers who died violently in 2015 are: 13 priests, 4 religious sisters, 5 lay people. In America: 8 pastoral care workers were killed (7 priests, one religious sister); in Africa 5 pastoral care workers were killed (3 priests, 1 religious sister); in Asia 7 pastoral care workers were killed (1 priest, 2 religious sisters, 4 lay people); in Europe two priests were killed.

There is still much concern regarding the fate of other pastoral care workers kidnapped or have disappeared, of whom we have not had any news, such as the three Congolese Augustinian priests of the Assumption, kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2012; the Italian Jesuit Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio, abducted in Syria in 2013, or Franciscan Father Dhya Azziz, a priest in Syria of whom we have had no news since December 23. Other priests are still missing.