ANKARA (Hurriyet)–A Roman Catholic bishop has been stabbed to death, allegedly by his driver, in southern Turkey, the Anatolia news agency reported Thursday.
Luigi Padovese, the pope’s apostolic vicar in Anatolia, was reportedly attacked by his driver in his home in the Mediterranean port of İskenderun. Hatay Gov. Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz said the alleged killer was found carrying the murder weapon.
According to Lekesiz, the suspect, who had been working for the bishop for almost five years, was taken into custody immediately after they received the news about the murder. He said Padovese was well known in the region and everyone was sorry for the loss.
Initial investigations have eliminated the possibility of a political dimension to the crime, the governor said, adding that the suspect had been receiving treatment for psychological disorders. Although the investigations are ongoing, Lekesiz said, “The murder of Padovese seems to have been for personal reasons.”
In 2007, a Roman Catholic priest in the western city of Izmir, Adriano Franchini, was stabbed and slightly wounded in the stomach by a 19-year-old after Sunday Mass. The young man was arrested.
The same year, a group of men entered a Bible-publishing house in the central Anatolian city of Malatya and killed three Christians, including a German national.
The five alleged killers are now standing trial for murder.
In 2006, amid widespread anger in Islamic countries over the publication in European newspapers of caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, a 16-year-old boy shot dead a Catholic priest, Father Andrea Santoro, as he prayed in his church in the Black Sea city of Trabzon. The boy was convicted of murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison.