Placing our differences aside, I believe we are in agreement across Christendom that Fr. Jacques Hamel of the Roman Catholic Church is a martyr (privately, of course) of great significance of the times.
We often see or hear on the news about Christians being persecuted; God, through His Holy Scripture, teaches us that persecution will happen to those who live in the Way of the Lord. As Saint Paul wrote in the second Epistle to Timothy – chapter 3, verse 12: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”.
But a parish priest in France seems to hit home so much harder for many – as they go to Church this Sunday and think at any moment someone could enter their church, their safe haven and sanctuary, and perform such a barbaric and cowardly act. It’s not what we have grown accustomed to in this part of the world; we are a Christian nation – Europe is a Christian continent. We have values as civilised people – values that stretch back to Old Testament times, and have made us the people we are today. Islam, however, goes against the grain of everything decent.
The expectation of persecution and being prepared to be martyred for the Lord doesn’t make events like these any less horrific, our only comfort is knowing that Fr. Jacques did indeed die for Christ, serving God, and will find peace in the hereafter.
It is the living, however, who suffer most. Beyond the grief and shock there is the cold, hard reality that Islamists are prepared to target ordained clergy and defile a church in the worst possible way during the Eucharist – the most Holy Mystery.
Roman Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox – the Islamists don’t care about our differences and ecumenical relationships; we are Christians – we represent everything they despise and more. Their purpose in life is to destroy everything that can take away from their power and control, just as it was in Muhammad’s day.
As we pray ‘Memory Eternal!’ (or Requiem Aeternam to my RC friends) for Fr. Jacques, please also pray for these people who have been brainwashed by the cult of Islam to carry out such evil acts.