Today we remember, pray for and celebrate Father Jacques Hamel (30 November 1930 – 26 July 2016) on the third anniversary of his death. Father Hamel was a French Catholic priest in the parish of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray. On 26 July 2016, Hamel was murdered during the 2016 Normandy church attack by two Muslim men pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant while he celebrated Mass in his church.
The circumstances of his death have led him to be called a martyr by Christians, including Pope Francis, non-Christians, and the press. Calls to make him a saint started soon after his death. The canonization cause was officially opened at diocesan level in April 2017, after Pope Francis had waived the otherwise mandatory five-year waiting period for the opening of such causes.
Hamel was born on 30 November 1930 in Darnétal, France. At the age of six he became a choirboy in St. Paul’s Church in Rouen and at 14 he entered the minor seminary. He served in the military for 18 months in Algeria. He did not wish to be an officer as he did not want to issue orders to other men to kill.
Hamel was ordained as a priest on 30 June 1958. He served as a vicar at the St. Antoine church in Le Petit-Quevilly from 1958, a vicar at the Notre-Dame de Lourdes church in Sotteville-lès-Rouen from 1967, a parish priest in Saint-Pierre-lès-Elbeuf from 1975, and a parish priest in Cléon from 1988. He joined the church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in 2000. He officially retired at the age of 75, but was allowed to keep serving in the parish. As a result, he assumed his role as the parish’s assistant priest from 2005 to his death.
With local imam Mohammed Karabila, the president of Normandy’s regional council of Muslims, Hamel worked since early 2015 on an interfaith committee. After Hamel’s death, Karabila described him as his friend with whom he had discussed religion and as also someone who gave his life for others.
Hamel died when his throat was slit by two Muslim men, Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean, who both pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The attack occurred while Hamel was saying Mass in his parish in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray on 26 July 2016. During the attack, Hamel said “Satan, go!” when confronted by his killers.
A Mass was held in his memory at Notre Dame de Paris on 27 July 2016. It was celebrated by the archbishop of Paris, André Vingt-Trois, and attended by president François Hollande, prime minister Manuel Vallsand ministers Jean-Marc Ayrault, Bernard Cazeneuve, Emmanuel Macron and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, as well as former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, and the apostolic nuncio to France, Luigi Ventura.
The Funeral Mass was held at Rouen Cathedral on 2 August 2016, drawing a crowd of thousands and a large number of luminaries including senior clerics, the French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve and former prime minister Laurent Fabius. Pope Francis instructed Lebrun to place images of Hamel in all the local churches.
In August 2016, the Italian arm of Aid to the Church in Need announced it would cover the cost of training 1,000 new priests in countries like Nigeria, Cuba, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and India in response to Hamel’s murder. Likewise, in August 2016, in memory of Father Hamel’s martyrdom, Br. Alexis Bugnolo founded the Ordo Militaris Catholicus, “international defense and security initiative of Catholics for Catholics who are suffering persecution for their faith, where their defense and liberation requires military intervention or security actions, and this is allowed by local and/or international law..”
On the same day of the murder, public figures like the president of Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, called on Pope Francis to “immediately proclaim him St Jacques”. The hashtag #santosubito (“saint now”) trended on Twitter.
Hamel was called a martyr by some international press shortly after his death. On 13 August, La Croix reported that archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen said he thought Hamel was a martyr, but the decision to declare him so was the pope’s. He added that “formally, it is the bishop of the person’s place of death to initiate the procedure.”
Anthony Fisher, the archbishop of Sydney, suggested he died in odium fidei (“in hatred of the faith”), adding, “This is a term Catholics use to describe the characteristic death of a martyr, as one who dies for his or her faith, and because of that faith.”
On September 14, 2016, Pope Francis referred to Hamel as “blessed”, a title used prior to canonisation. “This man accepted his martyrdom next to the martyrdom of Christ, on the altar,” Pope Francis said on 14 September during a homily at a Mass held for Hamel’s soul at the Vatican. “He is a martyr and martyrs are beatified,” the pope continued. Two weeks later Archbishop Lebrun announced in a homily that the Pope had formally waived the five-year waiting period needed before the start of a canonization process, and that he had decided to prepare it without delay.
During Chrism Mass (on Holy Thursday, 13 April 2017), Archbishop Lebrun publicly announced the opening of the Canonization cause, with all of Rouen’s clergy gathered.
Archbishop Lebrun also said the Pope himself allowed a photo of Fr. Jacques to be put in a church, and called him blessed. Fr Paul Vigouroux, vice-chancellor of the diocese of Rouen, has been appointed postulator of the Cause, in charge of the local investigation. The Archdiocese of Rouen distributed a prayer to request Father Jacques’s intercession. The prayer makes reference to the circumstances of his murder, including his unmasking of Satan, the divisor and his death in the habits of prayer.
- At Washington, capital city of the terminally self-absorbed, mortal man holds to fleeting, feeble and fallible opinion, God immutable fact.
In sunshine and in shadow~~I hold tight to the Republican view of time and money~~I write night and day~~yet~~while impecunious~~I am vastly overpaid~~in that taking pay to do what I love is unfair~~to my employer~~in a fair system~~under such circumstances~~I should pay him~~not he me~~I am far, far too old a man to be sexually confused~~praise Jesus~~but I am yet young enough to be politically confused~~is anyone not~~in an absolute sense~~I am a Catholic Royalist~~in a practical sense~~I am a Classical Liberal~~a Gaullist~~a Bonapartist~~an American Nationalist Republican~~in either sense~~my head is soon for the chopping block~~to hasten my interlude with Madame La Guillotine~~I write without fear~and without favor of~any man.~~Finis Origine Pendet…The escape commences…~~September, 1957~~Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic parochial school, called, by anyone of any background, simply: “Chan~al,” a place where, of an autumn day in 1957, school, for me, began and ended in the first convening of the first grade in which a tiny nun, one Sister Dom Bosco, appeared before me, just behind the window appearing at far left of this photograph, and piped out this: “I may be small, but so then, is the Atom Bomb.”~~My determination to escape school commenced immediately on hearing about this Atom Bomb business and took 16 dicey and arduous years to finally accomplish.~~~~Non SibiThe declaration that:“I am here to save mankind,” means that:“I am here to rule mankind.”The escape continues…~~September, 1966~~The Cathedral Latin School~~Finis Origine Pendet~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~
Rejoice and Glad!!
~The Original Angry Bird~~The Catholic University of America Screaming Red Cardinal Mascot~~
~~EX LIBRIS~~~~THEOS EK MĒCHANĒS~~26 July, Monday, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, the 2016th
Tweets: @jtdbegg“Jean-Marie Le Pen is a friend. He is dangerous for the political set because he’s the only one who’s sincere. He says out loud what many people think deep down, and what the politicians refrain from saying because they are either too demagogic or too chicken. Le Pen, with all his faults and qualities, is probably the only one who thinks about the interests of France before his own.”~~
John Daniel Begg raises cotton.
In the Old South, the real Southland, we had a charming expression, when asked what an idle man did for a living:
~~“Oh, he raises cotton.”~~
Which meant, he did absolutely nothing at all, as cotton, “the white gold,” raises herself.
CONCEPT OF THE CATHOLIC AND ROYAL ARMY OF AMERICA (CRAA)
THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICASeal of The Catholic University of America
Deus Lux Mea Est
Acta Est Fabula
The escape concludes…
The Catholic University Of America, Washington, District of Columbia.
1976, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi.
“Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt? Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd The Mother of Mankind" ~~ Paradise Lost Book One Verse 35 Our Mr MiltonHow short the list one could compile of those of whom it can be said that fame and money did not deprave?
Acta Est Fabula.
Ne plus ultra
Our Ubiquitous Presence
Our Queen now 64 years on
Simply the best President we could ever hope to have.
Regina ~ Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi