Pope's sorrow for assassinated Turkish priest

Pope Benedict XVI expressed his personal condolences for the assassination of an Italian missionary priest, killed in Turkey on Sunday shortly after celebrating Mass.

Catholic News Agency reports that the Holy Father sent a telegram of personal condolences to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General for the diocese of Rome, spiritual home of Father Andrea Santoro, a missionary fidei donum priest working in Trabzon, Turkey.

He said: "While I hope that his blood shed may be a seed of hope for the building of authentic fraternity among people, I raise fervent prayers for the brave witness to the Gospel of love, and I impart with all my heart the consoling apostolic blessing on his family, in particular, the elderly mother so saddened, and others who mourn his violent death."

The Pope sent a separate telegram to Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar of Anatolia (Turkey), in which he praised the priest's generosity and apostolic dedication to his ministry.

He served, the Pope pointed out "in favor of the Gospel and in service of those marginalized and in need."

Meanwhile a Jesuit priest was killed in Burundi on Saturday night when he was caught in an exchange of gunfire between government troops and rebel militia forces in the country's capital, Bujumbura.

Fr Elie Koma was killed instantly when he was struck by three bullets as he drove home. He had happened upon the scene of a gunfight, after government soldiers caught rebels who were looting a warehouse.

And in the Philippines, the Good Shepherd Tribal Ministry has denounced the killing of lay missionary Matt Morales, who was a victim of paramilitary groups that frequently attack missionaries who work with the ethnic minorities on the southern island of Mindanao.

The crime occurred in the region of San Luis (South Agusan) and was another episode in the spiral of violence that has afflicted missionaries who work with the Manobo and Banwaon communities.

According to leaders of the Ministry, Morales, who ran a hospital for indigenous peoples, was killed by a militia that combats the Communist guerrilla fighters of the People's New Army.

The Good Shepherd ministry said it would continue to reach out to ethnic minorities, despite continued death threats.

Pope decries assassination of Turkish priest, expresses hope that killing will be 'seed for building authentic fraternity' among peoples (Catholic News Agency 6/2/06)
Burundi: priest killed in crossfire (Catholic World News 6/2/06)
Catholic group denounces killing of missionary in Philippines (Catholic News Agency 6/2/06)

Pope's sorrow over the assassination of a priest in Turkey (Vatican Information Service 6/2/06)
Shooting kills priest in Turkey (BBC 5/2/06)
Italian priest killed in Trebisonda (AsiaNews.it 5/2/06)
Nuncio in Ankara: Fr Andrea Santoro, a martyr for the third millennium (AsiaNews.it 5/2/06)
Card. Ruini remembers Fr. Andrea, "he wanted to be a witness to Christ" (AsiaNews.it 5/2/06)
Fr Andrea Santoro's killer has a face (AsiaNews.it 6/2/06)
Bishop Padovese: Fr Andrea killed, while Islam is in revolt, "not incidental" (AsiaNews.it 6/2/06)
Pope: May Fr Santoro "become the seed of hope for building authentic brotherhood" (AsiaNews.it 6/2/06)
Priest's killing shocks Christians in Turkey (Catholic World News 6/2/06)
Catholic Priest Shot to Death in Turkey (The Guardian/Associated Press 6/2/06)
Priest Shot Dead in Church in Turkey (Zenit 5/2/06)
Muslim Extremists Murder Philippine Christians (Zenit 5/2/06)

7 Feb 2006