Pope Benedict XVI said en route to Cyprus on Friday that he was deeply saddened by the killing of a Catholic bishop in Turkey but believed the killing was nonpolitical and would not cloud his pilgrimage.
Turkish officials have said Bishop Luigi Padovese was killed by his driver, who has been charged with murder and appears to be mentally ill.
The pope appeared to accept Turkey’s explanation about the killing, saying it was not “a political or religious assassination, it was something personal.”
“This has nothing to do with the themes and realities of this trip,” the pope told journalists en route to Cyprus. “We must not give responsibility to Turkey or the Turks.”
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Padovese’s killing shows the “difficult conditions” the Catholic community faces in the Middle East.