Statement by the Archbishop of Rouen following the brutal killing of an 84-year old French priest this morning (see Crux for story):
From Krakow, I have learned about the killings this morning in the Church of Saint-Etienne du Rouvray. There were three victims: the priest (84 yrs old) Fr Jacques Hamel and the two authors of the assassination. Three other people were injured – one of them very seriously. I call out to God, with all people of good will. I dare to invite non-believers to unite in this call! With the youth of the World Youth Days, we pray in the same manner as we prayed around the tomb of Father Popiełuszko in Warsaw – assassinated under the communist regime.
The Vicar General, Fr Philippe Maheut arrived at the scene very soon after this incident. This evening I will be in my diocese around the families and the parish community who are all very shocked. The only weapons which the Catholic Church can take up are prayer and fraternity among peoples. I return home leaving hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity, the truth. I ask them not to give up in the face of violence but to become apostles of the civilization of love.
Archbishop of Rouen
26 July 2016
(Translation: Fr Robert McCabe)