Pope Francis condemns attacks and killing of French parish priest.

Pope Francis has totally condemned the attack on a church near the city of Rouen in Normandy, France, by two men who killed a priest and took four people hostage—two nuns and two lay faithful, before the police intervened and shot them dead.

“It’s another terrible news that sadly adds to a new series of violent acts which in these days have already shocked us, creating immense sorrow and concern," the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, S.J., said in a statement issued two hours later.

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Pope Francis “has been informed” of the deadly attack, he said, “and participates in the sorrow and horror at this absurd violence with a radical condemnation of every form of hatred, and with prayers for the persons who have been hit.”

The attack took place on the church of Saint-Étienne –du-Rouvray, near the city of Rouen, on Tuesday morning, July 26, when two men armed with knives entered between 9 and 9:30 a.m. as the priest was celebrating Mass.

After blocking the door, they took five hostages, including the priest. They cut the throat of the 86-year-old parish priest, Father Jacques Hamel, and also hit at or cut the throat of another hostage who is in critical condition at the hospital.

Lombardi said, “We are particularly struck because this horrible violence took place in a church—a sacred place in which the love of God is proclaimed, with the barbaric killing of a priest and involving the faithful, too.”

“We are close to the church in France, to the Archdiocese of Rouen, to the community that has been hit, and to the French people,” Lombardi stated.

The Vatican is “following the situation and await further information to understand better what has happened,” he added.

The alarm was raised by a third nun who was in the church at the time of the attack, but managed to escape and alert the police.

The French police and army quickly cordoned off the area and shot the two killers.

The identity of the two attackers is not yet known. Some media reports allege that they may have been mentally unstable. The French daily ‘Le Figaro’, quoted police sources as saying that one of the attackers, a bearded man, was wearing the characteristic woolen head cap worn by Muslims in Tunisia. Another French paper, Le Point, alleged that at the moment the two attackers entered the church they shouted “Daesh”—the name for the Islamic State or ISIS.

Some time ago the name of the church was found on a list of targets of an Algerian student who was, according to French media, an Islamic fundamentalist. He was later arrested after killing a gymnastics teacher.

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Bruce Snowden
1 year 3 months ago
Directly killed by terrorists, or indirectly by other lunatics, the French Priest, 86 year old Fr. Jacques Hamel was martyred because of his Faith in Christ. The circumstances, assure this and he should be declared a martyr and saint. Fr. Hamel and as a matter of fact, all who because of their Faith in Christ have been executed by ISIS or any other terroristic group are martyrs of the Church and saints and hopefully will be proclaimed as such by Holy Father Francis in a collective canonization, which ipso facto will continue to be officially acknowledged by the Church, as martyrdoms continue to happen. Additionally, I respectfully suggest that the Holy Father should include in the collective canonization non-Catholics also, who were executed by ISIS or any other terroristic group because of Faith in Christ. Recall the words of Pope Saint John Paul II who said, that in our day not only Catholics, but Anglicans, other Christians too, are shedding their blood in the name of Christ. Once done, I respectfully hope the Holy Father will establish a Feast in the Church honoring all who were martyred for the Faith, by ISIS, or any other terroristic group. May all these martyrs pray for us. Holy Father Francis, is this possible, or is it simply a pious pipe dream?
William Rydberg
1 year 3 months ago
Bruce, Religion is a serious matter, it does no good to revert to Enthusiasm. I encourage you to consider the counsel of the Gospel and Catechism. We all take this matter seriously... in Christ,
Bruce Snowden
1 year 3 months ago
Mr. Rydberg, Thanks for OYO on what I tried to say. Yes, Religion is serious matter, specifically in our case the Catholic Religion, understanding that as Pope Francis has said, God is not Catholic, or Lutheran, or Baptist. He isn't a member of any Religion. He is not Religious - he is Spiritual. Non-Catholic blood shed for Christ is as holy and sanctifying and spiritual as Catholic blood shed for Christ. They are saints and martyrs. I do take the Counsels of the Gospel, the Catechism of the Catholic Church seriously. But I do not feel imprisoned by them, indeed a certain liberty of spirit arises from them for me. I like to believe its the same liberty of spirit that Jesus showed when some Apostles complained that a nan not of their Company was doing signs and wonders and those Apostles still locked in the chains of stiff, stern Fundamentalism, wanted Jesus to rebuff the man. But Jesus said, in effect, "No! Let him be.". Also I fail to see why reverting to Enthusiasm is not good. After the Coming of the Spirit at Pentecost the early Christians became Enthusiasm-driven. After all doesn't the word "enthusiasm" find roots in the Greek word, "enthousiasmos" which broadly speaks of Godly, or Divine inspirations, or God within? Well, enough said I guess. You're the Professor, I'm the 84 year old student. Again, thanks for bothering to Offer Your Opinion.

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