Pope expresses shock over violence in French church

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The murder of a priest in northern
France, taken hostage with a handful of other faithful during a weekday morning
Mass July 26, is another act of “absurd violence” added to too many
stories of senseless violence and death, said the Vatican spokesman.

Pope Francis was informed about the hostage situation at the
church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray
near Rouen and the murder of 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, said Jesuit
Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

“With pain and horror” for the “absurd
violence,” Pope Francis expressed his condemnation of “every form of hatred”
and offered his prayers for all those involved.

“We are particularly stricken because this horrible
violence occurred in a church — a sacred place in which the love of God is
proclaimed — with the barbaric killing of a priest,” Father Lombardi

Police said two men, armed with knives, entered the church during
Mass. They reportedly slit the throat of Father Hamel. Apparently alerted by a
member of the congregation who escaped, police killed both hostage-takers. They
said another person present at the Mass was in serious condition at the

Archbishop Dominique
Lebrun of Rouen, who was in Krakow, Poland, with World Youth Day pilgrims when
the attacked occurred, said he would return to his archdiocese.

Catholic Church can take up no weapons other than those of prayer and
brotherhood among people of good will,” the archbishop said in a statement
from Krakow. He said that while he would leave Poland, hundreds of young people
from his diocese would remain. “I ask them not to give in to violence,”
but instead “become apostles of the civilization of love.”

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Original Article