Rouen (Agenzia Fides) - Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen presided over the final session of the diocesan inquiry into the life and martyrdom of Fr. Jacques Hamel. Fr. Hamel was killed July 26, 2016, when two men stormed a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen while he celebrated Mass, the attackers slit Fr. Hamel’s throat, (see Fides 26/7/20126).
Pope Francis allowed for the French priest’s sainthood cause to begin in 2017, customary when it is believed the candidate is a martyr for the faith. Father Jacques was a good man of peace, but "he was killed like a criminal - said Pope Francis on September 14, 2016 -. He gave his life for us so as not to deny Jesus. He gave his life in the same sacrifice of Jesus in the altar... He is a martyr and martyrs are beatified! The Pope asked the faithful to pray for his intercession, so that he "gives us the courage to say the truth: to kill in the name of God is satanic".
Announced on Holy Thursday, 13 April 2017, the diocesan phase of the beatification cause officially opened on 20 May 2017, and ended on 9 March, with the closing session in the chapel of Notre Dame de l'Annunciation of the Archbishopric of Rouen.
The inquiry gathered the testimony of 66 witnesses, including five people who witnessed Fr. Hamel’s murder. The main questions concerned the murder, the conditions of the alleged martyrdom, the life of Fr. Hamel and how he lived the Christian virtues, as well as his reputation for holiness and the graces attributed to his intercession. Two theologians, according to the statement released by the Archdiocese, examined the writings of Fr. Hamel published in the parish news and the texts of his homilies, around 650 in all. The complete dossier, now sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, consists of 11,496 pages plus some attachments. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 12/3/2019)