Tag Archives: ISIS

Arnoud Beltrame: prayer for *him*?Striving to follow his example

arnoud beltrame

If you google – Arnaud Beltrame Hero – you’ll get the story about his taking the place of an ISIS hostage in a supermarket just the other day in southern France, a boring little out of the way supermarket like any other as in any small town anywhere in the world. Here’s that supermarket, your supermarket:

isis terrorism hostage trebes U location

Arnaud Beltrame is just another guy with a bit of military background like most Law Enforcement Officers anywhere in the world. But just another guy, Catholic, as most people are in France. The ISIS guy shot him four times and, by the way, no, he did not get the opportunity to get sacramentally married before he died from those wounds).

We recall Maximilian Kolbe taking the place of a fellow prisoner facing execution. Yet, the response is muted by a lot of conservative Catholic blogs. He was civilly married, though on his way to a sacramental marriage. I was a priest in France for two years but I wasn’t responsible for marriage prep and don’t know if getting civilly married means anything. In some places it doesn’t mean you are living together, just that you have an intention to get sacramentally married sometime in the foreseeable future. He had some 30 hours of prep time put in, his pastor “accompanying” them (ooooh, Amoris laetitia). I assume with all that prep time that this couple was living chastely and had always done so. But even if they were not – he in that case being no Maximilian Kolbe before his death – I would still nevertheless assume that he went right off to heaven with this selfless act of love.

Arnoud Beltrame laying down his life for someone under his protection – he being a Law Enforcement Officer – has done what Jesus calls the greatest act of love. That’s God saying that:

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)

Oh, and let’s not forget what we read elsewhere as inspired by the Holy Spirit:

“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.” (1 Peter 4:8-9)

Question from a reader: Can we ask for prayers for him?

Answer: Why would you want to do that?

I mean, sure, go ahead. Yes. Pray for him. And, by golly, there will be a massive funeral like France hasn’t seen for perhaps a half century or more for Arnoud Beltrame. Great!

But here’s how I think that will go. Those prayers and that Mass will go for those in purgatory, but not him. Indeed, I think Jesus will laugh at the attempt of such prayers and ask you if you are serious about that. Why oh why shouldn’t this guy go straight to heaven? I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t, you know, taking Jesus’ words seriously. Fulton Sheen once said about another soul that was controversial: “Upon hearing of his death, I firstly prayed first for the repose of his soul, and then I immediately prayed to him.”

I suppose I will be condemned by ultra-traditional-ism-ists for playing a dark side of Amoris laetitia. But, no. That’s not the way it is. I suppose I will be condemned by ultra-liberal-ism-ists for not confirming everything they exaggerate in Amoris laetitia for their own dark ends. And I’m good with that condemnation by them.

OK, now let’s give the proper direction to this event

There are lots of words being thrown about, like “hero,” and I agree entirely, and with that I would also point to similar selfless accomplishments of Arnoud Beltrame in the military. Really, very impressive. I rejoice in all that for him. What a great guy.

But in saying those things we had better not be “building the tombs of the prophets” in all hypocrisy, running away from doing the necessary when it is our turn. I dread my weakness and ask my guardian angel to help me in such a situation. Exclaiming “He’s a hero” is not about us basking in the limelight simply because we are the one’s voicing words like “hero.” As one operator of operators told me (“The Guy”), having a hero is not about lifting someone up; it’s about striving to follow their example.

Personally, I have a profound reverence for Arnoud Beltrame. O.K. We pray for him: Hail Mary… And now, I say: Arnould! Pray for me! Pray for us!

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Filed under Law enforcement, Military, Officer Down!, RIP, Terrorism

ISIS murders priest during Mass. R.I.P. Père Jacques Hamel. My comments.

Père Jacques HamelDearest 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].

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…

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Filed under Guns, Priesthood, Terrorism, Vocations

Day 7: Father Tom held for ransom

fr tom

Father Tom, one of the few survivors in the Missionaries of Charity massacre, is being held for millions of dollars in Ransom. This is the kind of priest who is a missionary of mercy. Let’s pray for his strength in the Lord.

The Divine Mercy novena prayer for today is for those who especially venerate and glorify Jesus’ Mercy:

Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy