This situation is aggravated by “the impunity and political instability that contribute to the lack of justice.”
The fourth Latin American country and last on the top 50 list is Nicaragua, which currently is ruled by the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.
“Roman Catholic churches are the most susceptible to [government] opposition,” Open Doors indicated.
In addition, “the government is particularly hostile to churches that provided shelter and care for people during the widespread protests that broke out against the country’s dictatorial regime in 2018.”
Topping the list published by Open Doors is North Korea, which continues to be a country “extremely hostile to Christians.”
“If discovered by the authorities, believers are either sent to labor camps as political prisoners where the conditions are atrocious, or killed on the spot — and their families will share their fate as well,” the report stated.
In North Korea, “Christianity is seen as a particular threat to the dictatorial ideology and governance of the country’s barbaric regime.”
North Korea is followed on the list by the majority Islamic countries of Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan.
Marco Cruz, director of Open Doors, believes that in order to address this extreme persecution “it’s necessary to know the reality that our brothers are facing,” he said.
In addition, he stressed the importance of responding to this violence “with extreme love.”
“This love prompts us to pray and act to respond to the needs of our brothers, helping them to remain steadfast in the love that casts out all fear,” he concluded.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.