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  • » 09/14/2006, 00.00


    Pope's remarks misused by Islamo-nationalists, vicar apostolic says

    Taken out of context, the Pope's remarks have raised a storm against his planned visit to Turkey. For Mgr Padovese security is not a real issue. Since Fr Andrea Santoro's murder every priest has a police escort.

    Trabzon (AsiaNews) – Mgr Luigi Padovese, vicar apostolic to Anatolia, expected criticism and loathing to come from Muslim circles in Turkey. "After I heard the Pope's remarks on Italian TV and given the current climate by some Islamo-nationalist papers, I was certain that there would media frenzy. After Ali Bardakoğlu, the current president of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, said that the Pope's remarks in Regensburg about jihad and Muslim violence were hatemongering, some Turkish TV shows were already slamming the Pope, the Vatican and Christians.

    Mgr Padovese spoke to AsiaNews from the Church of St Mary in Trabzon where Fr Andrea Santoro was murdered in February. He said that "the Pope's remarks are being taken out of context for ulterior motives. The fact that the Pope referred to Istanbul as Constantinople was seen by some media as a sign that Christians want to return to the past, to the Byzantine Empire."

    Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit Turkey in late November, but "even if there are pressures for the Pope to apologise or cancel his trip, I think the Holy Father should go ahead with his plans," Mgr Padovese said.

    Turkey's "Islamo-nationalist media were looking for an excuse to make a lot of fuss and attack the trip," he added. Currently, "the climate in the country is already heated and hostile. Taken out of context, the Pope's remarks are just more fuel poured onto an already raging fire. His words were just another excuse to be against his trip to Turkey. It's too bad that, although there are a lot of fair-minded people here, they have no voice in chapter and have to keep silent out of fear or as a result of intimidation".

    For the Vicar to Anatolia it is likely "that this media circus will blow over in just a few days". And as for possible retaliations against Christians, he said that "since Fr Santoro's murder, clergymen like me move around with a police escort. That's why I don't think there should be any problem. But, of course, we must be prudent".

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    See also

    05/02/2007 TURKEY
    In Trabzon Cardinal Ruini calls for religious freedom in memory of Father Santoro
    The ceremony marking the first anniversary of the missionary’s murder went off without a hitch. His mother and sisters were present at the ceremony. The mayor of the Turkish city and the parents of the young assassin also attended the event.

    03/06/2010 TURKEY – VATICAN
    Mgr Luigi Padovese assassinated in southern Turkey
    An aide stabbed the prelate to death. A pastor closely involved in ecumenical work and in the dialogue with Islam, he was getting ready to travel to Cyprus to meet the Pope. After Fr Andrea Santoro was killed, he spoke about the slain priest. The director of the Holy See Press Office comments the event.

    08/06/2010 TURKEY
    Immense crowd and ecumenical service for the funeral of Mgr. Padovese
    Participants include members of other Christian Churches and state authorities. The homily by Mgr. Franceschini speaks of "a clergyman, a bishop, a close friend of Turks and Turkey. This land is thus confirmed, once again, a place of martyrdom for those who love her dearly. "

    03/07/2010 TURKEY
    Fr Antuan, first Turkish Jesuit, celebrates his first Mass in memory of Mgr Padovese and Fr Santoro
    An economics graduate, the priest converted from Islam in 1997. He does not see Christianity and Islam in antithetical terms. Involved in bioethics, he wants Muslims and Christians to engage one another in the matter. The trial of Murat Altun, Mgr Padovese’s murderer, is still not ready to go.

    06/02/2006 TURKEY
    Bishop Padovese: Fr Andrea killed, while Islam is in revolt, "not incidental"

    The Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia tends to exclude motives involving criminals dealing in prostitution.

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