A policeman reacts as he secures a position in front of city hall after two assailants killed 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel and took five people hostage during a weekday morning Mass at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, near Rouen July 26. (CNS photo/Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)
Pope Francis has decried the
“absurd violence” which has left an elderly priest dead after his church in
northern France was taken hostage during Mass.
statement released Tuesday by the Vatican, the Pope, having been informed of
the situation, “participates in the pain and horror of this absurd violence,”
while radically condemning “every form of hatred.”
statement said the pontiff is praying for those affected by the tragedy, which
took place in the Normandy region, adding that the Vatican is following the
Jacques Hamel, 84, was killed Tuesday after two armed gunmen stormed a church
in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, the BBC reports. The assailants entered the church and took the
celebrating priest and four others hostage.
further cites police sources which say the priest’s throat was slit in the
Reuters reports that
both of the hostage takers were shot dead by police. Authorities say one of the
hostages has been critically wounded, the BBC reports.
to the ISIS-linked Amaq news agency, the assailants were "two soldiers of
the Islamic State," the BBC reports.
especially moved because this horrible violence took place in a Church -- a
sacred place in which God’s love is announced -- with the barbaric murder of a
priest and the involvement of the faithful,” the Vatican’s statement read.
close to the French Church, the Rouen archdiocese, to the affected community,
and the French people.”
Francis has also sent a telegram to Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen,
assuring him of his “spiritual closeness,” and his prayers for the suffering of
the families, the parish community, and the diocese.
telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the
Pope prayed that God “welcomes Fr. Jacques Hamel in peace,” and brings comfort
to the injured person.
that the “act of violence” took place during Mass, the pontiff “implores God’s
peace for the world,” the telegram read. He prayed that God might inspire
“thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity.”
Lebrun, who is currently in Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day, responded to
the news of the killing, calling on believers and non-believers to “cry out to
God with all men of good will.”
archbishop said he had prayed in Warsaw with the youth attending WYD at the
tomb of Fr. Popiulusko, a priest who was assassinated in 1984 during the
Catholic Church cannot take weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood
among men,” the Rouen archbishop said, explaining that he would be returning to
his diocese where the people are “very much in shock.”
here hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity, the true ones,”
he said. “I ask them not to give in to the violence,” but instead “become
apostles of the civilization of love.”
prime minister Manuel Valls decried the ”horror” of the "barbaric attack,”
writing on Twitter: "The whole of France and all Catholics are wounded. We
will stand together."
killing comes little over a week after a teenage Afghan Islamist went on an axe
rampage in Würzburg, Germany, which left several passengers severely wounded.
More recently, just last Saturday, around 80 people were killed and 230 people
wounded after two explosions struck the Afghan city of Kabul.
Vatican’s July 26 statement came in response to the “terrible new news” of the
deadly hostage situation in a church in Rouen, the latest in “a series of
violence which, in recent days has shocked us,” and caused “immense suffering
than two years, France has witnessed several deadly attacks attributed to
Islamic state militants, with the most recent -- and second deadliest -- taking
place earlier this month. On July 14, 84 people were killed in Nice, France
when a Tunisian man intentionally drove a large truck through a crowded beach
street at high speed during a Bastille Day celebration.
13, 2015, nearly 130 people were killed in a series of attacks throughout
Paris. In January of that same year, a total of 12 people were killed in the
French capital after terrorists stormed the offices of the Charlie Hebdo
address at WYD for the launch of DoCat, a new Catholic social doctrine app for
young people, the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, responded
to the attacks.
to express also our unity, our communion of prayer, even of sorrow, with the
people of France,” he said.
little is yet known about the incident, he said we are nonetheless “shocked, we
are saddened, and we pray for the people of France.”