Pope prayed that God “welcomes Fr. Jacques Hamel in peace.”

The Pope has expressed his grief at a recent incident where two gunmen murdered a priest and left another seriously injured at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass. The 84-year-old murdered priest is identified as Father Jacques Hamel. The priest was celebrating mass when the attack took place in which the assailants, identified with ISIS, slit the priest's throat and took four others as hostages. The attack has shocked the world by its brutality and is counted as one among a series of similar attacks that have been occurring around Europe.

The Pope said that this was a most moving and tragic incident because it occurred in a house of prayer, a place where the love of God is preached and proclaimed. That such a barbarous incident occurred is deeply moving. The Pope also expressed the sympathies of the Vatican with the Church in France, the Rouen diocese, as well the community that has been affected by this event. Pope Francis sent a telegram to the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun which expressed the “spiritual closeness” of the Vatican with the Rouen diocese and has assured him of supporting the diocese with prayers and blessings in this difficult time. The Pope has also added that he trusts God will “welcome Fr. Jacques Hamel in peace.”

Expressing his sorrow over this incident, the Archbishop has called for the Catholic community of Rouen to react with peace and forgiveness as the Church cannot take up the path of arms and violence. He has beseeched the youth to deal with this issue with prayers and not by revenge. He further asked them to use this opportunity to “become apostles of the civilization of love.”

French Premier Manuel Valls called this act as “barbaric,” and posted on Twitter, “The whole of France and all Catholics are wounded. We will stand together.”

This is another incident of killing in France after the 2015 bombing in Paris which left 130 dead, followed by the Charlie Hebdo attack. Officials are trying to see if there is a pattern in these attacks so that future incidents like these can be avoided. Coming out against ISIS, French president Francois Hollande has assured the people of Rouen that the country will fight against the terrorist group and uphold the rule of law which makes the country of France the great democracy that it is.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter