"Killing in the name of God is satanic" because the cruelty that asks Christians to deny Jesus "is satanic" and "in the Church today there are more Christian martyrs than in the early days”, said Pope Francis at Mass Wednesday morning in Casa Santa Marta, celebrated in memory of the French priest Father Jacques Hamel, killed July 26 in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, and the entire community of Rouen.
A group of
80 pilgrims from the Diocese of Rouen, together with their bishop, Msgr.
Dominique Lebrun attended the Mass.
“Today”, began the Pope “the Church celebrates the feast of the
Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ. We understand that it is a
mystery. This mystery of annihilation, of closeness to us. Being in the
condition of God, Paul says, [Jesus] does not hold on to a privilege of
being like God, but emptied Himself, taking on the condition of
servant, becoming similar to human beings. He humbled himself, and was
obedient unto death, even until death on a Cross.
This is the mystery of Christ. This is a mystery. That is martyrdom
for the salvation of men. Jesus Christ is the first martyr, the first
One Who gives his life for us. And from this mystery of Christ, begins
the whole history of Christian martyrdom, from the early centuries until
The early Christians confessed Christ by paying with their lives. The
early Christians who were asked to confess other gods, to say that ‘our
god is true and not yours,’ when they refused to do this, were
crucified. This story is repeated through today. Today, in the Church,
there are more martyrs than martyred Christians in the past. Today,
there are Christians martyred, tortured, slaughtered, because they do
not deny Jesus Christ.
In this history, we get to our Father Jaques: he is part of this
chain of martyrs. Christians who today suffer in prison, with death,
torture, for not denying Jesus Christ, show precisely the cruelty of
this persecution. This cruelty that asks for apostasy is – let’s say the
word – satanic.How much I would like that all the confessions would
say: to kill in the name of God is satanic.
Father Jacques Hamel was slaughtered on the cross, just as he was
celebrating the Sacrifice of Christ. A good, meek man, of brotherhood,
who always was trying to make peace, was assassinated, as if he were a
criminal. This is the thread of satanic persecution, but there is one
thing of this man who has accepted his martyrdom there, that makes me
think so much about the martyrdom of Christ on the altar. One thing that
makes me think so much …
In the midst of the difficult time that he lived in the midst of this
tragedy he saw coming, he did not lose the clarity of accusing and say
the name of the assassination. And he clearly said: “Go away, Satan!” He
gave his life to not deny Jesus, gave his life in the same way Jesus
[does] on the altar. And from there, he accused the author of
persecution: “Go away, Satan!”.
May this example of courage, along with the martyrdom of his life to
empty himself to help others, help us to move forward without fear. We
must pray, eh! He is a martyr, the martyrs are blessed … We must pray he
gives us brotherhood, meekness, peace, and even the courage to tell the
truth: to kill in the name of God is satanic”.