Pope Francis on Wednesday morning celebrated Mass for the French priest of Rouen, Fr. Jacques Hamel, whom he described, as part of the chain of Christian martyrs that runs throughout the history of the Church.
Father Hamel was murdered while celebrating Mass in the Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on 26 July 2016, by two men swearing allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.
To the congregation gathered at Santa Marta and which included Archbishop Dominque Lebrun of Rouen, along with 80 other pilgrims from the diocese, Pope Francis said that “to kill in the name of God is satanic”.
Reflecting on the many martyrs that are part of the history of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said:
“This is a story that repeats itself in the Church, and today, he said, there are more Christian martyrs than there were at beginning of Christianity. There are Christians “who are murdered, tortured, imprisoned, have their throats slit because they do not deny Jesus Christ”. This history, the Pope said – continues with our Father Jacques: he is part of this chain of martyrs.
“Father Jacques Hamel was slain as he celebrated the sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion. A good man, a meek man, a man who always tried to build peace was murdered. This is the satanic thread of persecution” he said. And, Pope Francis continued: “What a pleasure it would be if all religious confessions would say: ‘to kill in the name of God is satanic'”.
Pope Francis concluded his homily holding up Fr Hamel and his example of courage and said we must pray to him to grant us meekness, brotherhood, peace and the courage to tell the truth: “to kill in the name of God is satanic”.