Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Holy Father in Cyprus

UPDATE (10:01): Father Z posted on this story as well this morning and has this quote from a news article from EWTN/CNA:

Analyst Fr. Fillippo di Giacomo, who writes for publications such as L’Unitá and La Stampa, revealed that “hours before Padovese was killed, the Turkish Government called him to say that his driver, who they themselves had put in his service four years before, had gotten out of hand. That is to say, he had embraced the fundamentalist cause.”

Because of this, Padovese canceled his trip to prevent his driver from having access to the Holy Father. Also be sure to read the comments on Father Z's post for info on the expulsion of Christian missionaries from Morocco.

Original post:

From Asia News is this summary and following story from the day before yesterday on the brutal murder that occurred just before the Holy Father's trip to Cyprus.

The summary:

The bishop was stabbed in the house and beheaded outside. He cried help before he died. The murderer shouted "Allah Akbar!". The alleged insanity of the murderer is now to be excluded. There is no medical certificate to prove it. Murat Altun accuses the dead bishop of being a homosexual. Turkish minister of justice condemns the murder and promises to shed light on the incident.

The concluding paragraph of the story with my bolding:

But according to experts of the Turkish world, the killing of Mgr. Padovese shows an evolution of organizations of the "Deep State" being the first time they aim so high. So far they had targeted ordinary priests, but now they have attacked the head of the Turkish Church (Mgr Padovese was president of the Episcopal Conference of Turkey). At the same time, their actions are becoming more sophisticated, less crude than before. There not only limit their defence to claims of “insanity”, already used for the murder of Father Santoro [covered here in 2006], but offer more explanation to confuse public opinion nationally and internationally.

Just as the developing story of Murat Altun's murder of the bishop gained steam, the Pope traveled to Cyprus and Sandro Magister has his usual report on the journey and its results. After recounting the ecumenical nature of Benedict's visit to the island, Magister recounts this meeting between the Pope and a Muslim which I give here in full:

On Saturday, June 5, on his way to the Mass at the Catholic church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia – right on the border of the part of the island occupied by the Turks – Benedict XVI came across an elderly Sufi sheikh, Mohammed Nazim Abil Al-Haqqani. They greeted one another, and promised to pray for each other. They exchanged little gifts: Muslim prayer beads, a plaque with words of peace in Arabic, a pontifical medallion.

So instead of the expected meeting with the mufti of Cyprus, Yusuf Suicmez, the highest Muslim authority on the island, there was the encounter of the pope with a Sufi master, an exponent of a mystical form of Islam, a form of Islam that "presumably through Christian influence stresses the love of God for man and of man for God," instead of an inaccessible God "among whose 99 names that of Father is missing."

The words just quoted are from Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar for Anatolia and president of the Catholic episcopal conference of Turkey, killed in Iskenderun on June 3, the eve of the pope's trip to Cyprus, in which he was supposed to have participated.

Magister then goes on to condemn the official Vatican response Padovese's murder, which he characterizes as "submissive and counterproductive".

Despite this, Benedict addressed the situation in Cyprus with two steps, decrying the situation of the division of Cyprus and the forcing out of Christians from the Turk occupied areas, and calling upon Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, because "for them, and for the great Islamic and Christian philosophers who followed in their footsteps, the practice of virtue consisted in acting in accordance with right reason, in the pursuit of all that is true, good and beautiful," starting with that "natural law proper to our common humanity."

Before departing for Rome, the Pope offered these words while visiting a church dedicated to the Cross:

[It] offers them hope that God can transform their suffering into joy, their death into life. [...] And if, in accordance with what we have deserved, we should have some share in Christ’s sufferings, let us rejoice because we will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed.

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