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Revealed: French Priest's Final Words to Islamic State Terrorists Before They Slit His Throat

Faith

Rev. Jacques Hamel's last words were revealed Tuesday during a funeral Mass held in his honor.

ROUEN, France (TheBlaze/AP) — The archbishop of Rouen led a solemn funeral Mass Tuesday for an elderly priest slain a week ago by two Islamic State extremists. During the ceremony, attendees learned the last words that the Rev. Jacques Hamel said to his murderers as he tried to push them away with his feet.

"Go away, Satan!" the 86-year-old cleric commanded before the assailants slit his throat at the altar of his parish.

The coffin of Father Hamel is carried outside the Rouen cathedral in Normandy before his funeral Mass Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Hundreds of priests and bishops filled the sumptuous Rouen cathedral alongside several hundred people, including Muslims who have joined in the grieving since the brutal attack that occurred as the priest celebrated morning Mass.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in which Hamel, two nuns and an elderly couple were held hostage before the killers slashed the priest's throat and seriously wounded the other man. Another nun at the Mass slipped away and sounded an alarm. Police shot to death both attackers as they left the church.

The Christian Post reported that since the murder several French Muslim leaders have refused to bury the two 19-year old radicals.

Hamel's grisly murder came less than two weeks after 84 people were killed in an attack in Nice, France, by a man who drove a truck into a crowd of Bastille Day revelers. The events sent shockwaves throughout a country rattled by a series of violent attacks carried out by Islamic extremists.

From left, French Junior Minister for Local Authorities Estelle Grelier, French President of the Constitutional Council Laurent Fabius and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve stand during the funeral Mass for Father Jacques Hamel at the Rouen cathedral in Normandy Tuesday. (Charly Triballeau, Pool via AP)

"Evil is a mystery. It reaches heights of horror that take us out of the human," Archbishop Dominique Lebrun said Tuesday during the two-hour Mass. "Isn't that what you wanted to say, Jacques, with your last words, when you fell to the ground? After you were struck by the knife, you tried to push away your assailants with your feet and said, 'Go away, Satan.' You repeated it, 'Go away, Satan.'"

Lebrun commended Hamel for recognizing the root of the barbarous slaying as a pure evil — a sin that exceeds human comprehension, and must therefore be the work of the devil himself.

With those words, Lebrun said, "You expressed ... your faith in the goodness of humans and that the devil put his claws in."

Roselyne Hamel, the priest's sister, told the crowd, "Let's learn to live together, let's be workers for peace."

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, also in charge of faiths, was among those attending the Mass in the 12th century cathedral. Hundreds of people watched the ceremony on a big screen outside, under constant rain.

Lebrun, celebrating the Mass, extended thanks to Catholics attending the service but also to "believers of other religious faiths, in particular the Jewish community and the Muslim community, very affected and already decided to unite for: 'Never again.'"

Tuesday's ceremony was organized under tight security, and the burial was private.

Lebrun invited people to return to churches on Aug. 15, the day celebrating the Assumption of Mary, to express that "violence will not take over in their hearts."

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