Catholic World News

Turkish bishop reflects on glorious Christian past, challenging present

February 10, 2009

In an interview published in L’Osservatore Romano, Bishop Luigi Padovese, vicar apostolic of Anatolia and president of the Episcopal Conference of Turkey, recalled the nation’s glorious Christian past: the Church there dates to the preaching of St. Paul, and as recently as 1927, 20% of Turks were Christian. Today, 99.8% of the nation’s 72 million residents are Muslim; only 0.05% are Catholic.

The Pauline Year, the Italian-born bishop said, has been an occasion for the nation’s Catholics to reflect on the importance of their Christian identity. The killings of Christians there-- most notably the 2006 murder of Father Andrea Santoro-- are a “sacrifice” that has borne fruit, both in reminding Catholics of the seriousness of their faith and in drawing the attention of public opinion to the plight of Christians there.

 


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