The following statements have been issued by churches and faith leaders after the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in Rouen, France:
Presidents of Churches Together in England
We are deeply saddened to learn of the brutal murder of our brother, 84-year old priest, Fr Jacques Hamel in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Rouen, France. That a man of peace who had dedicated his life to serving people could be killed during Mass is testimony to the evil that drives the actions of those who commit such a crime. We offer our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and parishioners. We pray for the wellbeing of those who were taken hostage, their families and the entire community served by Fr Jacques; indeed we pray for the peace of France, Europe, the Middle East and the world for which Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gave his own life.
We call upon all people of goodwill to pray and work for justice and peace. In particular, we implore everyone to help people everywhere to pursue the path of peace and human flourishing – which is the will of Creator God.
- Archbishop Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury
- Cardinal Vincent Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
- Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator
- HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, The President for the Orthodox Churches
- The Revd Canon Billy Kennedy, The President nominated by the New Churches, the Religious Society of Friends (ie the Quakers) and the Lutheran and German-speaking Churches
- Bishop Dr Eric Brown, The Pentecostal President
For comment please contact Bishop Joe Aldred, Churches Together in England
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Muslim leaders
Together, as faith leaders, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all those affected by the murderous assault that took place today at the Church of Saint-Etienne–du-Rouvray in France.
We are deeply saddened and shocked by the brutal murder of Fr Jacques Hamel.
To commit murder at a place where people gather in peace to worship adds another layer of depravity to the violence that we have witnessed over the past weeks. We pray for the courage to respond to all evil with truth, justice, and reconciliation.
- Cardinal Vincent Nichols
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales
- Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli
Director, Noor Trust
- Imam Qari Muhammad Asim
Head Imam, Mecca Mosque
- Sheikh Babikir
- Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra
Co-Chair, Christian-Muslim Forum
- Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi
Director-General, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
- Moulana Muhammad Shahid Raza
- Moulana Sayed Ali Raza Rizvi
Senior Imam & President Emeritus, Shia Ulama Council Europe
The statement is available on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website.
Archbishop of Birmingham
Archbishop Bernard Longley talked to Sky News – available on Soundcloud.
Pope Francis is said to be horrified and shocked by the attack in a church in Rouen according to a statement released by Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office.
Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson
‘Once again today our thoughts and our prayers turn to France where another act of terror has shaken the nation and the world beyond.
‘An atrocity which has seen a priest murdered while saying Mass and hostages taken in the church in the small town of Saint–Étienne du Rouvray in the suburbs of Rouen in Normandy has brought the violence and hatred to a place of worship, to a Christian church.
‘Our prayers again are for the President and people of France and those affected by this latest attack as they seek a way forward which respects the ideals of French society along with freedom for all to worship in safety.’
For the full statement see the Church of Ireland website
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland has condemned the ‘brutal, senseless and tragic’ murder of the French priest.
The Rev Dr Martin Scott, Secretary to the Council of Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said the Kirk stood in solidarity with its Catholic brothers and sisters following the death of Father Jacques Hamel, but said the shocking attack would not deter the Church of Scotland from continuing with its work.
For the full statement see the Church of Scotland website.
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said ‘Every violent death matters, but the murder of Father Jacques Hamel – an elderly and faithful priest brutally killed as he celebrated Mass – is particularly shocking and indeed sacrilegious.
‘This dreadful act strikes at the beliefs of people of many faiths – of all who believe that faith is expressed in prayerful worship, in loving service and in the building of a peaceful world. We continue to pray for all who are suffering as a result of the shocking acts of violence of recent times.’
The statement is available on the Scottish Episcopal Church website
Conference of European Churches (CEC)
World Council of Churches (WCC)