ROUEN, France (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Dominique Lebrun, bishop of Rouen, offered a funeral Mass on Tuesday for a priest slain by ISIS militants while he celebrated Mass last week.
In the archbishop's homily, His Excellency said the slain priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel, tried to push away his attackers with his feet after his throat was slit, defiantly shouting, "Go away, Satan!"
"Isn't that what you wanted to say, Jacques, with your last words, when you fell to the ground?" Abp. Lebrun asked. "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.'"
Daesh (ISIS) are claiming responsibility for the attack, and a video has been released showing the two murders pledging allegiance to Daesh. Daesh has called the two men their "soldiers."
Father Hamel's burial was private, but the message Abp. Lebrun gave during Hamel's funeral to attendees of other faiths, including Muslims, was public: "Never again."
An Italian politician, Roberto Maroni, has urged Pope Francis to announce the canonization of the slain priest.
The President of Italy's Lombard region said via social media that "Father Jacques is a martyr of faith" and also requested that the Holy Father "immediately proclaim him St. Jacques." A hashtag following the tweet picked up traction: #santosubito, which translates as "saint immediately."
France's interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday that since December, France has shut down around 20 mosques in the country considered to be preaching what the French government deems to be radical Islam.
There is no place ... in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques, and who don't respect certain republican principles, notably equality between men and women. ... [T]hat is why I took the decision a few months ago to close mosques through the state of emergency, legal measures or administrative measures. About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared last week that owing to the concern of foreign funding of many mosques in France, he would consider proposing plans to ban foreign funding to mosques temporarily, and would urge a "new model" for civil relations with Islam.
Valls, despite being fought by his own party, the Socialist Party of France, has also called for the ban of Muslim headscarves at universities in France. "It should be done," he insisted.