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Vatican: 26 Pastoral Workers Killed Worldwide in 2011

A mourner attends a candlelight prayer ceremony for nun Valsha John at the India Gate in New Delhi, November 22, 2011. John, 52, was beaten and hacked with an axe by unknown assailants in India's eastern Jharkhand state where she had led a campaign for fi

The Vatican's news agency says more than two dozen priests, nuns and lay Catholics were killed worldwide in 2011.

The Fides news agency announced Friday at least 26 people were killed in violence this year.

Latin America recorded the highest murder rate for pastoral workers for a third straight year, with 13 priests and two others killed in 2011.

Six church workers were killed in Africa, four in Asia and one priest was murdered in Europe this year.

The news agency says 25 church workers were killed worldwide in 2010 compared to 37 in 2009.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.