“Christians who are suffering, either in prison, or dying, or tortured not to deny Jesus Christ, show the cruelty of this persecution. And this cruelty asking apostasy, let us call things by their name, is satanic. It would be wonderful if all religions said: killing in the name of God is satanic”. With these words, Pope Francis opened the Mass he has celebrated at St. Martha’s House, dedicated to Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest killed on 26 July, and to the entire community of Rouen.
“Early Christians paid with their lives for having confessed Jesus Christ – continued the Pope -. Early Christians were invited to make apostasy, i.e., ‘say that our God is the true one, not yours. Make a sacrifice to our God or our gods.’ And when they refused to do so, when they refused apostasy, they were killed.” This story, Bergoglio said, “keeps happening even at present. There are more martyrs in the Church today than at the dawn of Christianity”.
“Today – the Pope went on to say – Christians are being murdered, tortured, imprisoned, and slaughtered for not denying Jesus Christ. In this story, we reach ‘pere Jacques’ – commented Bergoglio -. He is part of this chain of martyrs. Christians who are suffering either imprisonment, or death, or torture not to deny Jesus Christ show the cruelty of this persecution. And this cruelty asking apostasy, let us call things by their name, is satanic”.
The Pope then explained that Father Jacque Hamel “has been slaughtered in the cross while celebrating Christ’s sacrifice of the cross. A good, meek, and kind man, who has always tried to make peace. He was killed like a criminal. This is the thread of satanic persecution.” “There is one thing in this man who has accepted his martyrdom with the martyrdom of the Christ on the altar, a thing that gives a lot of food for thought – said Bergoglio -. Right in the middle of a difficult moment, even in the midst of this tragedy he saw approaching, a gentle man, a good man, a man who sought borotherhood did not lose the clarity of accusing and speaking out the name of the murderer. And he clearly said Begone, Satan!'” “He gave his life for us – said Bergoglio -, he gave his life not to deny Jesus. He gave his life, in the same sacrifice Jesus made for us, on the altar. And from there, he accused the author of this persecution: ‘Begone, Satan!'”
“This example of courage – the Pope concluded -, but also the martyrdom of one’s own life, this example of emptying oneself to help the others, to make brotherhood for men, may this example help all of us to move forward without fear. May he, from heaven – we have to pray him, right? He is a martyr -, and martyrs are saints, we must pray him to give us meekness, brotherhood, and peace. Let us also pray him to give us the courage to tell the truth: killing in the name of God is satanic”.