Priest killed by jihadists laid to rest
FRANCE paid its last respects to Father Jacques Hamel, the 85-year-old priest murdered by jihadists last week, at an emotional funeral held under tight security at the cathedral in Rouen.
“As brutal and unfair and horrible as Jacques’ death was, we have to look deep into our hearts to find the light,” said Rouen Archbishop Dominique Lebrun.
Some 2000 mourners packed the soaring Gothic sanctuary, with hundreds more watching the ceremony, which began minutes after a heavy rainstorm, on a giant screen outside.
A section of pews in the 11thcentury cathedral was filled by residents of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, the nearby industrial town where the two jihadists, both 19, slit Mr Hamel’s throat as he celebrated mass in an attack that shocked the country as well as the Catholic Church.
A red stole, symbolising Christ’s martyrdom, was draped over a giant cross beside the altar, with the Rouen diocese saying that “Father Hamel’s death was similar to that of Christ, unjustly convicted and put to death”.
Another red stole was set atop a white priest’s vestment lying over Mr Hamel’s coffin.
In a show of inter-faith solidarity, Muslims and Jews were among the mourners. –