The Fides list avoids use of the word “martyr,” the Church has not officially ruled on the circumstances of the deaths. Most of the deaths appear to be the result of ordinary criminal activity rather than hatred for the Catholic faith. But Fides lists all those who died while engaged in full-time work for the Church.
Latin America accounted for most of the deaths: 14 pastoral workers were killed there this year (5 in Brazil, 3 in Colombia, 3 in Mexico, 2 in Peru, and 1 each in Venezuela and Ecuador). There were 6 killings in Asia (2 in Iraq, 2 in China, and 1 each in Turkey and India); 3 in Africa (all 3 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo); and 1 in Haiti.
The Fides list provides the names of those who died, with the dates and circumstances of their deaths. Along with a number of botched robberies and assaults attributable to personal grudges, several incidents offer more disturbing details:
* Father Carlos Salvador Wotto was found dead in Oaxaca, Mexico, on July 28. He had evidently been bound and tortured before being suffocated. He died in a region marked by frequent violent clashes between drug traffickers and police.
* Father Herminio Calero Alumia was killed at a police roadblock in Colombia on August 20. Confused reports from the scene indicate that the priest’s traveling companions had been engaged in a scuffle with the police—for reasons that are not clear—when a shot was accidentally fired, killing him.