10/16/2010, 00.00
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Mgr Franceschini: ultranationalist and religious fanatics behind Bishop Padovese's murder

The successor to the bishop Anatolia demands an end to the "intolerable rumors circulated by the very instigators of the crime, alleging the homosexuality of the martyr”. An urgent request for pastors, missionary personnel and economic aid for the Church in Turkey.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The murder of Mgr. Luigi Padovese, a bishop killed June 3 last, is the work of "ultra-nationalists and religious fanatics”, Mgr. Ruggero Franceschini has told the Synod assembly on the Middle East.

He affirms that it was a "premeditated murder, instigated by the same occult powers that poor Luigi had a few months earlier, indicated as responsible for the murder of Don Andrea Santoro and the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink as well as the four Protestants in Malatya, in short a dark web of complicity between ultra-nationalists and religious fanatics who are experts in strategies of tension"..

Mgr Franceschini, who succeeded the slain bishop as vicar of Anatolia, stated that with these declarations he hoped to end the "intolerable rumors circulated by the organizers of the crime."

Bishop Padovese was killed by his driver, Murat Altun, 26, who had been in the prelate’s employment for a notable length of time. He has tried to pass himself off as someone with mental illness and has spread rumors that the reason for the killing was a homosexual relationship he had with the bishop.

According to testimonies collected by AsiaNews, immediately after the murder he had shouted "Allah akbar! I killed the great Satan. "

At the time, the Vatican and Turkish government had stuck to the hypothesis that the killing had taken place for "personal reasons" excluding the possibility of a religious or political motive.

In an interview with AsiaNews (see: 10/06/2010 Archbishop of Smyrna: The martyrdom of bishop Padovese we want the truth and not "pious lies") Mgr. Franceschini said, "Certainly within the motive for this carefully studied murder, is the desire of some sectors of Turkish society not to join Europe, and that do not want any change".

In his address to the General Assembly, the bishop stressed the urgent need for more missionary personal for the Church in Turkey, a new bishop for Anatolia and some financial help.

"The Church of Anatolia - he concluded - is unlikely to survive, and I want to make you all aware of the seriousness and urgency of this. However, I want to reassure neighbouring Churches, especially those who suffer persecution and see their faithful turned into refugees, that they will always find a welcome from the Turkish Bishops' Conference, will offer them our fraternal aid, even beyond our possibilities".

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