In Mourning with the People of France After Parish Priest Martyred by Terrorists

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People of goodwill from all over the world join in unison with Pope Francis in condemning the violence that took the life of an 84-year-old priest in northern France. As Father Jacques Hamel was saying Mass, two men proclaiming allegiance to the Islamic State stormed the Saint-Étienne- du-Rouvray parish church, took nuns and others hostage, and proceeded to slit the priest’s throat.

It is difficult to find the words to properly express our sorrow in the wake of this heinous attack, but the sentiments shared by Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, in response to this tragedy are fitting: “We must not be intimidated, but cherish our freedom, including the freedom to worship. We must speak out and not be silent. We must defend each other, and we must look after one another: one religious community after the other, one country after the other. This evil scourge won’t be defeated unless we are united in our resolve to defeat it.”

May the unspeakable violence today in Saint-Étienne- du-Rouvray reinforce our common determination to root out terrorism, bring down its infrastructure, and lift up the values that bind us together in liberty and religious pluralism, and may all those affected by terrorism find peace.

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