· An eighty-four year old priest brutally murdered by Islamic terrorists during Mass in a Church in Normandy ·
Paris, 26. Schock and horror at the “absurd violence”, radical condemnation for “every form of hatred” and prayer for the victims. These were the first sentiments expressed by Pope Francis – through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi - at yet another episode of jihadist terror in Francis, barely two weeks from the attack in Nice of 14 July. Two men armed with knives broke into a church in Saint-Étienne-du Rouvray, near Rouen, during the celebration of Holy Mass and killed the parish priest after holding him hostage along with two sisters and three members of the faithful, one of whom was also stabbed and is in critical condition. The so-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, confirming that it was carried out by two “soldiers” from the fundamentalist group.
Upon learning the tragic news, Pope Francis – in a telegram to the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, signed by his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin – wished to assure him of “his spiritual closeness” and that he joined in “prayer for the suffering of family members, of the pain of the parish and the diocese of Rouen”. In his message the Pontiff “invokes God, the merciful Father, that he welcome the Abott Jacque Hamel into the peace of his light and that he bring comfort to the wounded”. The Holy Father said he was “particularly shaken by this act of violence that took place in a church, during the celebration of Mass, a liturgical act that implores God for peace on this earth. He asks the Lord to inspire all to thoughts of reconciliation and brotherhood”.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 20, 2020
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