Statement on the Killing of Fr. Jacques Hamel

It is with heavy hearts that we grieve the acts of violence taking place in the world. As people of faith rooted in the social teaching of the Catholic Church we are saddened by the recent brutal murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel during the celebration of the Mass in France, and the subsequent killing of his murderers. We pray for Fr. Jacques, the people who killed him, the officers who killed them, and all those affected.

It is easy to go along with the fearful rhetoric surrounding this event, but we choose peace instead. The signs of the times tell us that there is a preponderance of division among us. We see groups pitted against one another in politics, religion, and society. We see that many forget we are all human and that we all need one another.

Monsignor Oscar Romero, who was also killed during the Mass, gives us inspiration and direction during this time. He said, “I don’t want to be anti, against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of God, who loves us and who wants to save us.” Romero’s words are the answer. We do not need to blame, we do not need to be against anyone, but we need to be a purveyor of God.

We know the antidote to the division the world is experiencing is love, justice, and peace. Instead of being anti-hate, let us choose love. Instead of being against others, let use practice acts of unity. Instead of fear, let us pray for courage. Romero said, “You cannot reap what you have not sown. How are we going to reap love in our community, if we only sow hate?”

Let us reap love, and ask God to show us what we can do right now to join in the creation of love. Perhaps the answer will be to hug our neighbor, write a loving note, or express unity with a local mosque. If we sit in silence with our Creator, the answer will come. The many prayers and acts of love, peace, and justice we all lift up creates a world where peace cannot help but prevail.

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