Priest slain in France during morning Mass, ISIS claims attack

          Josephine McKenna  Religion News Service   Jul. 26, 2016

(Note: Barbarism at its worst is slitting the throat of a priest saying Mass, expressing love of God and one’s neighbour. That took place in France  on 26th July by ISIS and the butchered one was an 84 year old priest. “The whole of France and all Catholics are wounded. We will stand together," said the Prime Minister of France. Truth is the whole of humanity without religious differences is wounded. The Islamic State continues to wield weapons of hate and violence and the followers of Jesus are left with no weapon other than “prayer and brotherhood among people of good will." What else was the experience of Jesus? Does it mean that things like prayer, goodwill, brotherhood, extending the hand James Kottorof friendship  have no hope of victory in this world? Reason tells us that truth is mighty, peace is mighty and violence and brute force have no  right to win. So we have to continue to hold on to ways of peace hope against hope to be true to Jesus. james kottoor, editor)

France was convulsed by another horrific attack on Tuesday morning as armed men burst into a Catholic church near Rouen and slit the throat of a priest who was celebrating Mass.The slain priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel, 84, was one of four people taken hostage by the attackers, who authorities said had claimed to be from Daesh, the Arabic term for the Islamic State group.

One of the other hostages was reportedly in critical condition and both assailants were reportedly killed by security forces.French President Francois Hollande said ISIS was behind the attack in northern France, and Prime Minister Manuel Valls called it “a barbaric attack on a church.”“The whole of France and all Catholics are wounded. We will stand together," he added.

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 News Service reported.

"The Catholic Church can take up no weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among people of goodwill," 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."

The attack took place at the parish church in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy.It was the latest in a string of deadly terrorist attacks in Europe in the past couple of weeks, including the Bastille Day attack in the French city of Nice and killings in several places in Germany.

The imam of the mosque in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray said he was “appalled by the death of my friend,” according to the French newspaper, Le Figaro.“He gave his life for others,” the imam, Mohammed Karabila, was quoted as saying. “We are shocked here at the mosque.”

At the Vatican, Pope Francis' spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi issued a statement saying the pontiff has been informed "and participates in the pain and horror of this absurd violence, with the most radical condemnation of all forms of hatred and prayer for those affected."

"We are particularly affected because this horrific violence took place in a church, a sacred place where the love of God is proclaimed, with the barbaric killing of a priest and the involvement of the faithful," the statement read.

The conservative Guinean prelate, Cardinal Robert Sarah, said he was praying for the victims and for France and asked in a tweet: "How many more dead before European governments understand the situation in which the West finds itself? How many more decapitated heads?"

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