Dearest Father Jacques, remember us down here as you enter eternal life. Thank you for your priesthood in Christ Jesus. Thank you for laying down your life even as you offered Holy Mass. Just… thank you.
=== Let’s analyse this, shall we? Let’s use the FOX story as a base. We’ll add some comments of the Holy See. My emphases and [comments].
PARIS – Two attackers reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before slitting the throat of an 84-year-old priest and critically injuring at least one other person [an eldery nun] during a Tuesday morning terror attack on a church near the Normandy city of Rouen, officials said.
The terrorists, who French President Francois Hollande said had pledged their allegiance to ISIS, were later shot and killed by police.
The priest, identified by Sky News as Jacques Hamel, was dead at the scene, and another person, possibly a nun, was clinging to life, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.
The killing Tuesday inside the church, in the small northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, “is obviously a drama for the Catholic community, for the Christian community,” Brandet told reporters. [Just “for the Catholic community, for the Christian community,” and not all people of good will? Wow. No. This kind of word-play is how it all gets much worse much more quickly. This is a supremely stupid move of Brandet. Perhaps he thought he was being nice, but, no. Watch for the liberal media to follow his example, you know, just sectarian violence or workplace violence in which surely Father Jacques was at least partly to blame, you know, just because…]
The attackers were not immediately identified. [Actually, they were. They had already tried to enter Syria to fight for ISIS. They were wearing electronic ankle GPS locators. The alarms should have been screaming away in police stations all around, but suicide terrorists don’t care if they are followed and killed after they’ve done their dirty work. They want to die. Does no one, after tens of thousands of incidents counting just since 9-11, perceive any of this? (Correction! No alarms since they turn the alarms off on purpose so that they can get in a morning’s terrorism while not being tracked!)] Police said the pair entered through the back door of the church and took the priest, two nuns and two parishioners hostage during morning Mass. [The priest was immediately beheaded. The word “hostage” is incorrect. They are not immediately killed in order to torture them in horrific ways and let the media scene play up outside. Remember the Paris attack in the theater? They neglected to tell us of the horrific tortures, eye-gouging, eviscerating, dismembering, etc. The captives are not hostages. They are there to set an example.]
Police responded and later confirmed that the attackers had been “neutralized,” Sky News reported. Three hostages were rescued in good condition, while another was taken away on a stretcher, according to reports. [And other reports say that the motive is not clear. What? Really?]
=== Now, let’s see what the Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See has to say:
[…] Le Saint-Père est particulièrement bouleversé par cet acte de violence qui s’est déroulé dans une église au cours d’une messe, action liturgique qui implore de Dieu sa paix pour le monde. Il demande au Seigneur d’inspirer à tous des pensées de réconciliation et de fraternité dans cette nouvelle épreuve et de répandre sur chacun l’abondance de ses Bénédictions.
In my translation (skipping the expected bit about solidarity in grief): The Holy Father is particularly upset by this act of violence that took place in a church during a Mass, a liturgy which implores God’s peace for the world. He asked the Lord to inspire all with thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity in the face of this new trial and to spread on each of the abundance of His blessings.
So, nothing from the Secretary about ISIS or Islamist fear mongering. Nothing. Just a complaint about the place and time. I mean, is anyone really shocked that ISIS has no pious devotion for the Mass? Do we really expect ISIS to kneel at the altar rail, wait until Mass is over, and then behead the priest? And that makes it all better? I’d like to see the Cardinal just go ahead and condemn ISIS (which immediately claimed responsibility, by the way). In fact, I’d like to see him be a signatory of the Regensburg address of Pope Benedict XVI.
=== Now, my own comment: If ISIS thinks that they are spreading fear and terror by this, it’s certainly not working on me. Perhaps that’s a tactical fault of mine, but fear is not any kind of great motivator for me. A desire to make a positive contribution to the virtue of justice in the proper self-defense of self or others in the face of unjust aggression is a source of motivation. And that, I think, is consonant with the Lord inspiring all with thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity even as He spreads on each the abundance of His blessings. Self defense for self or others is a part of those blessings as well.
Again, I wish it were not this way. I wish Father Jacques Hamel had not been beheaded. I wish the Sister had not been grievously wounded. I with the others hadn’t been taken hostage. I wish all people would kneel before our Lord and Savior, accepting redemption and salvation. I wish, in fact, that we were already in heaven. Wouldn’t that be great?
But, to be frank about it, had I been in the sacristy during Mass, say, collecting old Mass vestments and altar cards with the permission of the good priest, and the ISIS crowd had come in that back door next to me wielding their knives and shouting Alahu Akbar and starting in on their attack, I would not have let the attack proceed. I mean, no hesitation about “Oh, let’s wait just a minute and let’s see if we can alert the media about sound bites of setting up encounters of dialogue with multi-cultural participants so that we can be perceived as being heroic men of consensus,” or something like that. In that amount of time, the good priest’s head would already be balanced on top of the chalice, right? So, instead, in a nanosecond, my CCW would already have been drawn and the “neutralizing” would already have been accomplished.
We live in a violent world. And the Mass is a most violent place already: it is Calvary where being tortured to death is the order of day, of that hour, when all hell is broken out, when Christ claims victory by not giving in right to the end (and then rising from the dead). Is it bad and evil to defend priest and people at Mass? No, it is not bad and evil. It is good. Our Lord is our Redeemer, not any priest or any parishioner. We are mere sheep, all of us.
Meanwhile, two things today, my “day off”:
(1) As soon as I click “Publish” for this post, I will be offering Holy Mass for those involved in this and in all recent terrorist incidents both oversees and here in these United States.
(2) I’m going to go and kill some paper targets, which I haven’t done for a full week. A friend says I need to start working on muscle memory. Meanwhile, Aliengear holsters (IWB and OWB) came in yesterday afternoon. I may need to adjust them for ease of use. For now, I can only use the OWB as I haven’t taken the CCW course yet (outside of acing the qualification test).
And, yes, I know. I still have to write something about the why of guns and priests. Patience!
P.S. Please don’t think that I am devoid of knowing something of the Mystical Body of Christ. I know that when Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, lays down His life he is also laying down our lives with His, especially His priests – as the Master so the disciple – especially when we offer the Holy Sacrifice and say His wedding vows to His Bride the Church: This is my body given for you, my blood poured out for you in sacrifice. Yes, I know. And Father Jacques is a hero for me. When I say the consecrations I am aghast at the torture and death; when I say the consecrations I am in awe of Jesus as I then kneel beneath the weight of the glory of His love; when I say the consecrations I tremble and find it difficult to move on to the rest of Mass, wanting to continue to stand there, beneath the Cross. But, more on this later. Now, it’s time to offer Mass for Father Jacques and the others. Accompany me, if you would, with a Hail Mary for the eternal repose of his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed. Hail Mary…