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French Priest Killed by Islamists Could Be On Course For Sainthood

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French Priest Killed by Islamists Could Be On Course For Sainthood

Pope Francis has described the priest who was killed by Islamist militants in northern France as a martyr, and indicated he may be on course for sainthood. Sky News is reporting.

 Father Jacques Hamel, 85, was killed by two French citizen who chanted in Arabic as they slit his throat in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in July.

Francis, speaking during a special mass for people from that area of France, said: “He accepted his martyrdom there on the altar.

“He gave his life for us so as not to deny Jesus … He is a martyr and martyrs are beatified.”

Beatification is one of the first steps in the process leading to sainthood.

A miracle is also usually required prior to beatification – but it can be waived if there is evidence the candidate died a martyr.

During his homily in the chapel of the Vatican guest house where he lives, Francis used the words martyr or martyrdom 10 times.

A picture of the murdered priest was placed on the altar during Mass at the Pope’s insistence.

“A good, humble man, a man of brotherhood who always sought to make peace, was assassinated as if he were a criminal,” Francis said.

Afterwards, the archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, told reporters the pope had told him that Father Hamel should be “venerated” – an honour normally bestowed only after the procedure leading to sainthood has begun.



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