Catholic Priest Abducted

Some terrible news out of the Philippines. an Italian priest was abducted and authorities suspect Islamic rebels.

MANILA, Philippines – Gunmen abducted an Italian Roman Catholic priest who was on his way to a remote village to celebrate Sunday Mass in the southern Philippines, police said.

Giancarlo Bossi, 57, was riding his motorcycle in Zamboanga Sibugay province's Payao township, about 500 miles south of Manila, when about 10 armed men blocked his path then seized him, said Senior Superintendent Francisco Cristobal, the provincial police chief.

Cristobal said he suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels who operate in Zamboanga Sibugay, despite a cease-fire agreement with the government.

Hours after the kidnapping, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the abductions of priests and others around the world and said he was praying for all those who were being held hostage. “I direct my appeal to the authors of these abominable acts, so that they realize the wrong they have done and quickly return their prisoners to their loved ones,” Benedict said.

Bossi was assigned as parish priest of Payao in April and is a member of the Pontificio Instituto Missioni Estere, Cristobal said. Sundalo Jianni, an official from the mission, appealed to Bossi's abductors to free him.