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BREAKING NEWS: Turkish Man Charged In Murder Bishop

6/4/2010 Turkey (BosNewsLife)– A Turkish court on Friday, June 4, charged a Turkish man with murdering a Roman Catholic bishop — the latest in a series of violent attacks against the country’s tiny Christian minority.

The 63-year-old Bishop Luigi Padovese, the pope’s apostolic vicar in Anatolia, was resting at his summer house in the port city of Iskenderun, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, when he was stabbed by his driver, said Sister Leonora, the bishop’s secretary.

Bishop Padovese, an Italian national, was due to join Pope Benedict XVI in Cyprus on Sunday, May 6.

The suspect of Kurdish origin, identified only as Murat A., had been employed as his personal driver and handyman for more than four years, Vatican sources added.

Bishop Padovese, who was also head of the Turkish Bishops Conference, reportedly died in the ambulance on the way to hospital shortly after the attack at 1 pm local time.

HATE CRIME?

Soon after Thursday’s killing, authorities suggested the attack was not an anti-Christian hate crime. In a statement, Turkish police said the suspect was “mentally unstable” with serious psychological problems.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he was “dismayed” by the news. “This is horrible news that left us deeply shocked and of course, desperately dismayed,” he said in comments monitored by BosNewsLife.

“Bishop Padovese was a person of great worth for the witness of the Church’s life in Turkey, and even in difficult situations, was a courageous person dedicated to the Gospel”.

Spokesman Lombardi confirmed reports that the suspect had mental problems. “The religious sister [and secretary of the bishop] testified to the man’s recent signs of depression and confusion and confirms that he had given evidence of mental imbalance in the past.”

Therefore, “political motivations for the attack, or other motivations linked to socio-political tensions are to be excluded,” he added. No details on funeral arrangements were immediately released.

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