Killing of Fr Jacques Hamel in Normandy: A ‘New Frontier’ for the Church?

26/07/2016Print This Post
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Fr Jacques Hamel, d. 26-07-2016

‘Absurd.’  This comment by Pope Francis’ spokesperson on the brutal slaying of an elderly French priest is translated by the Manchester Guardian’s correspondent in Rome as ‘having no meaning’.  Is this intended to counteract Catholic anger against Islam per se?

Like all such events this murder calls for the deepest prayer, bringing even nearer to Ireland as it does the horrors occurring almost daily this summer in a region we see as ‘next door’.

To read the Guardian‘s assessment of how this event may impact on Catholic relations with Islam, and on the already challenged morale of Catholic clergy everywhere, click here.

Comments

3 Responses to “Killing of Fr Jacques Hamel in Normandy: A ‘New Frontier’ for the Church?”
  1. Martin Murray says:

    Absurd indeed. Lets not dignify this cruelty with reason other than to say, another nail in the coffin of the cause it claims to support.

  2. Mary Vallely says:

    Let’s not forget the majority of good Muslims who are also living in fear. Islam is a peaceful religion and the perpetrators of these violent acts are not doing this because they believe in a loving God. I think it is a natural human reaction to want to paint them as madmen, or as evil and harder to accept that when we see the faces of those young misguided, deluded teenagers who murder innocent people.
    I agree this calls for the deepest prayer. We are helpless to do anything until we are guided by the One who knows the hearts of all. Fear is corrosive and leads to the triumph of Trumpism and other destructive forces and we need to be so careful not to allow ourselves to overreact because of that fear. God of mercy and compassion, look kindly upon us all and guide us to learn from your Son in how to be better human beings.

  3. Martin Murray says:

    “Fear is corrosive and leads to the triumph of Trumpism and other destructive forces and we need to be so careful not to allow ourselves to overreact because of that fear. God of mercy and compassion, look kindly upon us all and guide us to learn from your Son in how to be better human beings.”

    Well said Mary. The natural human reaction is to either seek to protect ourselves with more violence or to seek revenge. The Christian response, in theory at least, is counter intuitive and is symbolised by the figure of its founder hanging on a scaffold of execution (a cross). What it asks of us is to break the cycle of violence by somehow absorbing the pain and suffering directed at us, rather than perpetuate and escalate the violence through retaliation. A tall order. Something we can’t demand off others, only ourselves. From the outside this may seem like passivity and weakness, but on the inside it is just the opposite. So much so that only when we are in a situation that requires a response do we know if we have the capacity and inner strength for what it entails. The cost is huge.

    However I believe Jesus taught us this not just because it was a noble thing to do and that we can look forward to our reward in the next life, but because it works in the here and now. But humanly and logically it seems impractical on an individual level, impossible at community level and ridiculous at international level (folly is the biblical term). Because it is rarely tried there are few examples where results can be measured against the alternative of all out war. Maybe in this case at least, this means faith is more about ‘believing Jesus’ than ‘believing in Jesus’.

    Nevertheless it gives a whole new meaning to the term a ‘Christian country’. This is something way beyond the experience and imagination of most of us and our governments (e.g. if Britain was truly a Christian country in this sense, it couldn’t possibly need or want to renew Trident).

    Its called the Kingdom, or if you prefer, the Republic of God.

    “The Catholic church has no other arms than prayer and fraternity among men,” (Dominique Lebrun, the Archbishop of Rouen.)

    “The only way to combat evil is by bringing a similar force of goodness into our society. In the long term, people have to be convinced that “goodness will always win in a combat with evil.” (Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin.)

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