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Bishop murdered in Turkey

Catholic World News - June 03, 2010

The president of the Turkish Catholic bishops' conference has been murdered.

Bishop Luigi Padovese of Anatolia was stabbed to death on Thursday, June 3. The crime occurred in the port city of Iskenderun, where the bishop was preparing to leave for Cyprus to join Pope Benedict XVI on his visit there this weekend.

Turkish reports indicated that Bishop Padovese was attacked after he opened the door-- indicating that the assailant was someone he knew. The bishop's driver reportedly confessed to the killing. That development stunned Church officials who said that the driver, identified only as Murat, had shown every evidence of loyalty to the prelate.

"What has happened is terrible," said Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, especially in light of the murder of Father Andrea Santoro in February 2006. Ironically, Bishop Padovese had recently told a Vatican Radio audience that Father Santoro "was killed as a symbol, because he was the reality of what it means to be a Catholic priest." Church sources in Turkey had expressed discomfort at the absence of public concern about the murder of Father Santoro, saying that the government and media were downplaying the Islamic threats against the Christian minority.

A native of Milan, Italy, Luigi Padovese entered the Capuchin order in 1965. He had taught in Rome for years before his appointment in 2004 as apostolic vicar for Anatolia.

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