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Turkey Catholic head killed

Msgr Luigi Padovese 'stabbed by driver in home'

03 June, 15:39
Turkey Catholic head killed (ANSA) - Ankara, June 3 - The head of the Catholic Church in Turkey, Msgr Luigi Padovese, was killed Thursday in the southeastern Mediterranean port of Iskenderun.

Msgr Padovese, 63, the Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, was reportedly stabbed by someone he knew after opening his door to them.

Turkish media said it was his Turkish driver, a man named Murat, but did not cite sources.

The Vatican's nuncio in Turkey, Msgr Antonio Lucibello, confirmed to ANSA that Msgr Padovese had been killed.

"At the moment I don't have more detailed news. But from what I have heard, Msgr Padovese's driver Murat is said to have confessed to (the murder)".

"It's strange because I have always seen the man as a person who was very devoted to Padovese".

Vatican Spokesman father Federico Lombardi described the priests's murder as "incredible" and "horrible".

"What has happened is terrible, especially when you think of other (attacks) in Turkey, like the murder of Father (Andrea) Santoro four years ago". There have been a number of attacks on Turkey's tiny Christian minority in recent years.

Father Santoro, 58, was shot dead by a 17-year-old Turk in his church in the Black Sea town of Trabzon in February 2006.

Msgr Padovese was set to leave Friday for Cyprus to meet Pope Benedict XVI along with other Middle Eastern Catholic representatives and patriarchs.

The meeting will lay the groundwork for a synod of Middle Eastern bishops at the Vatican in October. photo: Msgr Padovese (right) at Father Santoro's funeral

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