Thursday, June 3, 2010


This blog entry is in tribute to Bishop Luigi Padovese OFM cap, who was stabbed to death allegedly by his driver, today in Turkey. I have fond memories of Mgr Padovese from my first days at the Alfonsianum in October 1997. His was the first course I registered for in my Master's program. He was a kind and affable man and his classes were very interesting. But what really drew many of us to register was the clarity of his Italian. He spoke clearly enunciating the words and it was so easy to both understand and note down his inputs. His course entitled: Christianity and Politics in the First Four Centuries, took us through new terrain. He meticulously examined texts from the New Testament, the Early Church, and the Fathers indicating the challenges faced in the encounter of the 'new faith' with political power.

He was ordained bishop on 7 November 2004 in Iskenderun—ancient Alexandretta—in Southern Turkey. He was appointed the Vicar Apostolic in Anatolia. He was known to be a good pastor and had won laurels for making overtures to the majority Muslim community of his diocese. He was the ordinary of Don Andrea Santoro, another missionary priest who was stabbed in his church in 2006.

Speaking during the memorial Mass for Don Santoro, Mgr Padovese said, "we forgive whoever carried out this act. It is not by destroying someone who holds opposing views that conflicts can be resolved. The only path that must be taken is that of dialogue, of reciprocal recognition, of closeness and friendliness. But as long as television programs and newspaper articles produce material that shine a bad light on Christians and show them as enemies of Islam (and vice versa), how can we imagine a climate of peace?" Always talking about Fr Santoro, he added, "Whoever wanted to erase his physical presence does not know that his witness is now even stronger."

Reacting to the death of Bishop Padovese, Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said, "What has happened is terrible. . . Let us pray that the Lord may reward him for his great service to the Church and that Christians not be discouraged," but instead "follow his strong witness and continue to profess their faith in the region."

He will be sorely missed. We trust that his death will not be in vain.

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