26 priests, nuns killed worldwide in 2011: Vatican

26 priests, nuns killed worldwide in 2011: Vatican Vatican City: Twenty-six priests, nuns and lay Catholics were killed worldwide in 2011, with the highest number of victims in Latin America, the Vatican's news agency said on Friday.

"Twenty-six pastoral workers were killed in 2011, one more than in 2010: 18 priests, four nuns and four lay people," said the agency, part of the Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples.

In 2009, 37 religious workers were killed. "Some were victims of the violence they risked their lives to fight against, and this year many were killed in theft or kidnap attempts, or were surprised in their homes by bandits," Fides said.

For the third year in a row, more religious workers were killed in Latin American than elsewhere. Of the 15 victims in the region, seven were killed in Colombia, five in Mexico, one in Brazil and one in Nicaragua.

In Africa, two priests, three nuns and a lay person were killed.

In Asia, two priests, one nun and a lay person died, while in Europe Father Ricardo Munoz was killed by thieves who broke into his home in Spain.