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Pope Francis Calls Priest Murdered by Islamic State Terrorists a ‘Martyr’

"He gave his life for not denying Christ. He gave it in the very sacrifice of Jesus on the altar.”

Pope Francis prays in front of a picture of Rev. Jacques Hamel as he celebrates a mass to honor his memory at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. The pontiff honored the French priest who was killed by Islamic extremists while celebrating Mass as a martyr on Wednesday and urged all people of faith to have the courage to denounce such killings as "satanic." (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

Pope Francis called the Rev. Jacques Hamel, a Catholic priest murdered by Islamic State terrorists earlier this year, a martyr at a mass celebrated in the French priest’s memory Wednesday, according to Catholic News Agency.

Pope Francis prays in front of a picture of the Rev. Jacques Hamel as he celebrates a mass to honor his memory at the Vatican on Wednesday. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

As TheBlaze previously reported, Hamel was killed July 26 while celebrating Mass at his parish near the city of Rouen. The elderly priest reportedly told the terrorists “go away, Satan!” before they slit his throat at the altar.

Reflecting on Hamel’s death during his homily Wednesday, Francis said, “Today in the church there are more Christian martyrs than in the first times. Today there are Christians who are assassinated, tortured, jailed, their throats are cut because they don’t deny Jesus Christ.”

“To the first Christians, apostasy was proposed — that is, say that our god is the true one, not yours. Make a sacrifice to our god, or our gods. And when they didn’t do this, when they refused apostasy, they were killed. This is repeated today,” the pope said. “How much we would like that all of the religions would say that killing in the name of God is satanic.”

* EN: The Christians who are suffering imprisonment, death or torture because they refuse to reject Christ, highlight the cruelty of this persecution. And this cruelty which calls for apostasy, is satanic! How I would like it if all religious denominations said: killing in the name of God is satanic! * PT: Os cristãos que hoje sofrem – seja na prisão ou com a morte ou com as torturas – para não renegar Jesus Cristo mostram precisamente a crueldade dessa perseguição. E esta crueldade que a apostasia exige, digamos a palavra, é satânica. E quanto seria bom que todas as confissões religiosas dissessem: “Matar em nome de Deus é satânico”. * ES: Los cristianos que hoy sufren –sea en la cárcel, sea con la muerte o con torturas- por no renegar a Jesucristo, muestran precisamente la crueldad de esta persecución. Y esta crueldad que pide la apostasía es –digamos la palabra- satánica. Y qué bueno sería que todas las confesiones religiosas dijeran: “Matar en nombre de Dios es satánico”. * FR: Les chrétiens qui souffrent aujourd'hui, soit dans la prison, soit la mort ou la torture – pour ne pas renier Jésus Christ, font voir la cruauté de cette persécution. Et cette cruauté qui demande l’apostasie – disons-le – est satanique. Et comme il serait bon que toutes les confessions religieuses disent: « tuer au nom de Dieu est satanique ». * DE: Die Christen, die heute im Gefängnis leiden, gefoltert oder getötet werden, um Christus nicht zu verleugnen, lassen uns die ganze Grausamkeit dieser Verfolgung ermessen! Und diese Grausamkeit, die die Apostasie verlangt, ist satanisch! Wie gut wäre es doch, wenn es alle religiösen Konfessionen deutlich sagen würden: „Im Namen Gottes zu töten, ist satanisch!”. #JacquesHamel

A video posted by Pope Francis (@franciscus) on


Francis called Hamel “a martyr” who accepted death “on the cross” with Christ.

“Jesus Christ was the first martyr, the first that gave his life for us, and from this mystery of Christ comes all the history of Christian martyrdom,” he said, adding that Hamel “gave his life for us and he gave his life for not denying Christ. He gave it in the very sacrifice of Jesus on the altar.”

Francis said the “good, meek man” should serve as an example to the faithful to “go forward without fear.”

The Associated Press reported that Rouen’s Archbishop Dominique Lebrun and Hamel’s sister Roselyne Hamel were in attendance at the mass.

Roselyne Hamel told the AP that her brother’s assassins “accepted influence of the devil, of Satan,” but that she doesn’t believe Islam itself is responsible for her brother’s death.

"Our Muslim brothers pray to a God who is our God and who is a God of love, of tolerance of sharing," she said. "It is certain that these young men killed my brother, they assassinated him, in the name of a God who kills, and that is not the God of Islam and it is not the God of Christianity."

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