#13. ARCHBISHOP RUGGERO FRANCESCHINI O.F.M. CAP. OF IZMIR, TURKEY, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE APOSTOLIC VICARIATE OF ANATOLIA AND PRESIDENT OF THE TURKISH EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE.
“The little Church of Turkey, at times ignored, had her sad moment of fame with the brutal murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese O.F.M. Cap., president of the Turkish Episcopal Conference. In a few words I would like to close this unpleasant episode by erasing the intolerable slander circulated by the very organisers of the crime. It was premeditated murder, by those same obscure powers that poor Luigi had just a few months earlier identified as being responsible for the killing of Fr. Andrea Santoro, the Armenian journalist Dink and four Protestants of Malatya. It is a murky story of complicity between ultra-nationalists and religious fanatics, experts in the ‘strategia della tensione’. The pastoral and administrative situation in the vicariate of Anatolia is serious. … What do we ask of the Church? We simply ask what we are lacking: a pastor, someone to help him, the means to do so, and all of this with reasonable urgency.
[...] The survival of the Church of Anatolia is at risk. … Nonetheless, I wish to reassure neighbouring Churches – especially those that are suffering persecution and seeing their faithful become refugees – that the Turkish Episcopal Conference will continue to welcome them and offer fraternal assistance, even beyond our abilities. In the same way, we are open to pastoral co-operation with our sister Churches and with positive lay Muslims, for the good of Christians living in Turkey, and for the good of the poor and of the many refugees who live in Turkey.