Turkey, France, England

Turkey: the murder of Msgr. Padovese, “only silence” “I am saddened that silence has enwrapped this tragic event. Local sources made known that the man who murdered Msgr. Padovese was hospitalized in Adana, for a ‘supposed’ mental instability, which he will hardly recover from since nothing serious was detected. Let us hope that the future will not be as that of Fr. Andrea Santoro, namely, an easy absolution of everything!”. Msgr. Ruggero Franceschini speaks from Smirne, the diocese where he serves as archbishop. After the tragic death of Msgr. Luigi Padovese, killed on June 3 by his driver Murat Altun, Msgr. Franceschini was entrusted also with the responsibility of the apostolic vicarage of Anatolia on the mandate of the Holy See. “We are serene – he told SIR Europe -. I found a strong Church: after the turmoil animosity ended, and absolution was granted without problems. We are aware that more suffering awaits the journey of the Church in these places, but once initial discouragement was overcome nobody considered leaving. Now more than before they want to stay and give their help”. Msgr. Padovese commented on the several hypothesis on the cause of Msgr. Smirne’s death. “I am sorry that people are instilled with such fabrication. I would be disappointed if the case of Msgr. Padovese, who was a transparent person, were described as a crime of passion, a conjecture which must be ruled out also given the scientific evidence. The murderer’s mental instability must equally be excluded in the crime’s motivations, although it is present in the offender. Rather, investigations ought to focus on the reason why mentally instable persons are often used, being incapable of such gestures otherwise. I have my own ideas on other assumptions made, which will keep to myself. Concretely, we are waiting to learn the truth on this death. Awaiting in silence makes me suffer”. France: the Church against alcohol abuse The French Church takes action against the unrestrained consumption of alcoholic beverages by the youth. Dioceses are in the process of promoting a public-awareness campaign on the issue. A youth educator in Choisy-le-Roi, near Paris, Jean-Francois Moll, brought together groups of young people to address the question of alcoholic consumption. Starting from the assumption of responsibility, participants are gradually encouraged to commit themselves in reducing and cutting out alcoholics. Similar initiatives were undertaken also in the dioceses of Nantes and Creteil, the latter being particularly committed in addressing “binge drinking”, which causes drunkenness. The phenomenon, imported from Great Britain, is growing among the youth. Given the gravity of the situation the bishop, Msgr. Michael Santier, issued a report on “The youth and binge drinking”, which is the result of two-year’s work by the Diocesan Pastoral Council. The document provides insights for reflection by parents and educators. “We are involved in this question – the prelate said -. We are not judging or being moralistic. Rather, we want educators to be fully prepared to help the youth and engage in dialogue with them”. Alcohol-consumption is the third cause of death among French youth, after cancer and heart diseases. This led the diocese of Nantes to issue a pastoral letter signed by the bishop, Msgr. Jean-Paul James. The experiences shared show that the youth sympathize with the experiences of ex-alcoholics. According to Thierry Magnin, deputy-dean of the Catholic Institute in Tolouse, an “existential void” lies behind alcoholic consumption”. French bishops addressed the subject with a document dated January 1999, “Problems of alcohol, Church and society”. England: Papal vigil in Hyde ParkA lively celebration of Catholic life in England, Scotland and Wales with dance, music and theatre, along with the performance of “The priests”, the Irish priest group. Some 80,000 faithful are expected to attend the prayer vigil presided over by the Pope next September 18, which “The Tablet” described as the most important event of the Pontiff’s September Visitation, after the beatification of John Newman. Pilgrims will convene in Hyde park four hours prior to the Pope’s arrival, who will take part in the vigil for one-and-a-half hours, until 08:00 p.m. An opening concert will be followed by the procession of 3000 people, representing the dioceses of England and Wales. The program includes a presentation on the work of the Church with audiovisuals and live-testimonies. Upon his arrival His Holiness will be received by the archbishop of Southwark, Msgr. Peter Smith. And the Gospel Beatitudes will be proclaimed, followed by the procession with the Most Holy Sacrament. The “Tablet” reports that the event’s coordinator, Fr. Andrew Headon, hopes that in his speech the Pope will refer to Tyburn, a site of public executions, where many Catholics suffered martyrdom. Their sole concession was to speak before their last breath. The tradition continues today in the Speakers’ Corner of Hyde Park where anyone can take the floor and address the public.

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