ASK FATHER: Pope Francis said Fr. Hamel is a martyr. Is he now “Blessed Jacque Hamel”?

Fr-Hamel12-540x300From a reader…


I saw today that Pope Francis confirmed that Fr. Hamel is a “martyr.” Does this mean we can now refer to him as St. or Blessed or Venerable Fr. Hamel?

I strongly suspect that Fr. Jacques Hamel, recently killed in his church at Mass by an Islamic murderer in N. France, is a martyr.  The murderer was pledged to ISIS.

However, just as the Church has procedures when promulgating laws and teaching definitively, so too the Church has procedures when determining if a slain Catholic was martyred.   “Martyr” is also a technical term for someone who was killed precisely for hatred of Christ, the Faith, or some aspect of the Faith that is integral to it.

Now the back story.  Pope Francis celebrated his daily Mass at Santa Marta for Fr. Hamel today.  HERE  He also gave quite a good sermon.  English language reportage HERE.

To the congregation gathered at Santa Marta and which included Archbishop Dominque Lebrun of Rouen, along with 80 other pilgrims from the diocese, Pope Francis said that “to kill in the name of God is satanic”. [Pope Francis does not shirk from talking about the Enemy.  That’s good.]

Reflecting on the many martyrs that are part of the history of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said: “this is a story that repeats itself in the Church, and today, he said, there are more Christian martyrs than there were at beginning of Christianity”  [Francis used the word “martyr”.]

Today – he continued – there are Christians “who are murdered, tortured, imprisoned, have their throats slit because they do not deny Jesus Christ”.

This history, the Pope said – continues with our Father Jacques: he is part of this chain of martyrs.

“Father Jacques Hamel was slain as he celebrated the sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion. A good man, a meek man, a man who always tried to build peace was murdered (…). This is the satanic thread of persecution” he said.  [There’s the s word again.]

And, Pope Francis continued: “What a pleasure it would be if all religious confessions would say: ‘to kill in the name of God is satanic'”. [He’s on a roll!]

Pope Francis concluded his homily holding up Fr Hamel and his example of courage and said we must pray to him to grant us meekness, brotherhood, peace and the courage to tell the truth: “to kill in the name of God is satanic”.

On the altar, a simple photograph of Fr Hamel who was slain by two Islamist fanatics while celebrating Mass in the Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on 26 July 2016.

The liturgy was broadcast live by the Vatican Television Station.

The Roman Pontiff has the highest authority in the Church after Christ Himself. He is Christ’s Vicar. He is the chief teacher and the lawgiver. However, the Pope must exercise his office in a prudent, responsible way lest confusion be sown. If he is sloppy about law and doctrine, people can become confused. “Did he teach X or not?” “Did he change the law about Y or not?” Confusion and doubts harm the whole fabric of the Church. Therefore, even Popes, for the sake of the good ordering of the life of the Church, have to follow the procedures which they (in the persons of their predecessors) have lain down.

Popes have established the Congregation for Saints to study the cases of those who have been killed, possibly as martyrs. They study all the evidence, carefully gathered and verified, in what is very like a court case. Once they make a determination that the person was martyred, they submit their decision to the Holy Father who can confirm it or not. If he confirms it, then he can either announce the decision in a public ceremony for the martyr or allow a delegate to make the announcement in the local church where the person was.

The point is that Pope Francis and his predecessors have an official procedure for these matters. If the Pope wants to change that procedure he’ll make it clear that that is what he is doing. Until then, Francis can call Fr. Hamel a martyr every day until the parenthesis of his pontificate closes, but he will not be officially recognized as a martyr until he makes that clear in the right way.

Meanwhile, it really does seem that Fr. Hamel is a martyr, doesn’t it. It wouldn’t surprise me at all were Francis to accelerate the process.

BTW… Francis wore red vestments for the Mass because it is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, not because Fr. Hamel is being honored liturgically as a martyr.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Francis, Modern Martyrs, Saints: Stories & Symbols. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Benedict Joseph says:

    Since I was a boy I have had a love and devotion to the Saints. Some would say it is actually over exaggerated. I would say it has been critical to my perseverance in the faith in these challenging times, let alone this pontificate.
    While fearing to be perceived as the wet blanket, and with no intention of disrespecting the person, life and death of Father Hamel, I need to throw in my two cents.
    We have got to draw back from this drive to beatify and canonize every albeit excellent Tom, Dick and Harriet that comes down the pike. This has gotten completely out of control. It is diminishing the concept of heroic virtue, debasing the veneration of the saints, and cultivating a cult of celebrity in the Church – mirroring the narcissism of the popular culture.
    Despite my deep veneration of Pope Saint John Paul (upon his election I was enthused with the intuition he would see to the canonization of Edith Stein – twenty years later I was there for it) he did push this program a little far. That given, we are endangered of seeing proclamations of heroic virtue handed out like gold stars for the satisfaction of various constituencies. The Church has become another open class room. This is a concern in place for the declarations of Doctors of the Church as well.
    Just because we are justifiably taken by an individual – their life, their work, their writings – even one who has died under the sword — does not necessarily require presenting them for public veneration. I write this remembering the row of men in orange jumpsuits kneeing on the beach with their black garbed executioners salivating for the slaughter. God reward those victims.
    The process revisioned by Pope Saint John Paul appears to have been tweeked a bit too much. It might have served us well to even have seen him held in reserve for a bit longer.
    Pope Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

  2. Ann Malley says:

    Question, Father, in all sincerity. If Pope Francis is stating unequivocally that to kill in the name of God is “Satanic”, how then does the Holy Father explain the Old Testament? Seriously.

    I understand the importance attached to His Holiness seemingly getting real about what the tenets of Islam are, how they are being enacted in our day, but the question above remains.

  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The Pope’s homily is a perfect example for our Protestant friends of how the Pope can choose to either say things as his own opinion as a believer, say things as a magisterial teacher, or make infallible declarations. If the Pope’s homily was an example of an infallible declaration, Fr. Hamel would have been canonized and raised to the altars today. But he’s not even a Venerable today, even though the Pope clearly believes strongly in his martyr status and is encouraging private devotion to him by all the faithful.

    Benedict Joseph — Actually, there have always been thousands and thousands of saints who show up on the calendar. Local calendars. Rouen’s been running behind its normal score as a diocese for the last few centuries, even if you count St. Joan of Arc. Centralization of canonization has had its advantages and disadvantages, frankly.

    Ann Malley – What about the NT? Sapphira ended up dead.

    Just like a blasphemy charge, I’d say. If you are God, you can play God all you want. If the real God really does tell you to kill in His Name (or rather, to defend the innocent and smite the unjust, therefore committing acts of social justice in a rather definite way), it can hardly be Satanic.

    But Satan does love to trick people into thinking that they are God, or that they know God’s will. As Jesus warns us in John 16:2, “Yes, the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will think that he does a service to God.”

  4. WmHesch says:

    There was a kindred kerfuffle when St. Clare died… Innocent IV dispensed with procedure and ordered the Office of a Virgin Saint to be intoned, in lieu of the Office of the Dead.

    The manualists freaked out, one of whom canonized her a couple years later.

  5. APX says:

    Benedict Joseph,

    Someone who receives the crown martyrdom exhibits heroic virtue par excellence, and by dying the death of a martyr, the Church teaches that the soul goes directly to Heaven…even if the person didn’t receive Baptism by water.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Good post, Pater. I take the occasion to press my question of a few weeks back: Does being murdered (at Mass even) out of blatant religious hatred suffice to make one a martyr?

    [Good question. Quickly… virtually all of the martyrs I can think of were put to a test: deny Christ or some essential aspect of religion or die. This doesn’t have to be made explicit by the murderer. “Renounce Christ or die!” The martyr choses to bear witness to Christ and die. If someone who hates Christ or the Church or some aspect of the Faith shoots a priest in the back and that priest is entirely ignorant of his impending assassination, is that priest a martyr? He is probably a victim. Must the priest know that it is coming and then make the choice to offer up his suffering and death? Manuals (and my training at the Congregation for Saints) included that along with death out of hatred for the Faith, etc., there must be voluntary acceptance of death in witness to the Faith, etc. Someone who is simply killed by someone who hates the Church isn’t thereby automatically a martyr. For example, children who haven’t attained the use of reason and don’t understand what is going on are not martyrs. They are victims. The Holy Innocents are the exception to this, however, since they literally substituted for Christ in the shedding of their blood. They experienced baptism of blood. The non-baptized, such as catechumens, can be counted among martyrs, also by baptism of desire and by blood. We might be able, however, to argue that the bushwhacked priest died as a martyr because he was giving witness, in hostile times, by his clerical dress. It would also be really helpful if it could be shown that the priest commonly prayed to have the grace to accept whatever pains and death God might will for him, etc. But martyrdom means witness, and without some sort of witness, there doesn’t seem to be martyrdom.]

    Ann Malley: Fair question. When p. Francis said “kill” did he mean “murder”? Does that helps us see it?

  7. Boniface says:

    Fr. Hamel is a martyr, but not yet a Martyr.

    By the way, I remember reading that St. John XXIII made a comment in public about his predecessor (now Venerable) Pius XII along the lines of seeing him “already” in heaven, or something to that effect. I can’t find the source for it offhand right now or I’d share it. Sometimes popes say things like that, but there’s no reason to think the present Holy Father meant to set aside the canonization process.

  8. Polycarpio says:

    As the keeper of a blog specifically dedicated to the martyrdom recognition process, and that of one of the most closely debated cases at that (Bl. Oscar Romero), I come to this discussion with some familiarity with the competing interests at play. (Hat tip, of course, to the great Dr. Peters.) Ultimately, I agree with Fr. Z. that the process we have in place does a lot of good and, in fact, needs to be strengthened in many respects. Having said that, just as there are cases when the process needs to be rigid and the strictures need to be followed to the punctillio to remove all doubt, there are cases where liberality is appropriate. John Allen has a piece out about the popular fervor for St. Padre Pio; the universal acclaim of the “santo subito” signs for John Paul are another example; probably, Mother Teresa, as well. When it is obvious to all that someone is a martyr or possesses heroic virtue, the Supreme Pastor should not remain superficially standoffish or cold to uphold some artificial respect for process; in other words, there should be some freedom for fervor to short-circuit process when the fervor can be properly verified. To state this in Bergoglian terms, there should be a “pastoral” path that complements the canonical process.

    [And yet, in this era of swift communications, in this time of close scrutiny of everything the Church does, it hurts nothing and does not interfere with workings of the Holy Spirit to make sure all the i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed. And if they case is truly obvious, then it should be that much easier, and quicker, to verify it with with the process in place (which is not really that onerous, given the issue and the stakes).]

  9. Nicholas says:

    What blog?

  10. un-ionized says:

    I guess it’s this one:

  11. Polycarpio says:

    That’s the one. Thanks Un-ionized.

  12. The killing in the name of God in the Old Testament, say, for cities and peoples under the ban, was to demonstrate to all the gravity of sin, personal and original sin, and the necessity of accepting the revelation of God. This pedagogy about the gravity of sin and how far we have gone astray would reach its fulfillment in the crucifixion of Jesus, who took this ban upon Himself; it is a pedagogy which cannot be surpassed and so is not to be continued after the passion and death of Jesus.

    It was a good and holy thing for Samuel, for instance, to give the order to Saul to kill the Amalekites in God’s name, including the little children and sucklings at the breast (parvulum atque lactentem). They resisted the chosen people and resisted God’s revelation. But because Jesus took all this upon Himself, any such rebellion today has the reality of hell awaiting the perpetrators of violence in the name of God.

    This is not at all to say that even overwhelming defense of the innocent is evil. No. The crusades defended those who were helpless. Today’s resistance to the deadly aggression of Islamists is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice. But killing on behalf of a blood-thirsty sadistic Allah is evil.

  13. onemore says:

    The normal process seems very clear… but what if the pope wrote a private letter to a group of bishops expressing his agreement with their interpretation of a person being a martyr?

  14. Benedict Joseph says:

    In the current climate I cannot imagine a more frightening scenario than the decentralization of the processing of causes. Surely a decentralized process would allow someone to find a caveat to promote Harvey Milk. “Ah!” they will say, but he wasn’t Catholic. Given the gas being given to the upcoming “fiesta” surrounding the Reformation for October 2017, we could be seeing all kinds of surprises. Actually, decentralization was a topic of discussion in the past few months, but I can’t recall the context. I see no disadvantage to centralization at all. In fact, it is time to revert to the fifty year waiting period to introduce a cause.
    And while those dying for the faith surely do receive eternal salvation, and while their heroism in the face of death, by the grace of God, is worthy of emulation, not always their lives. Many martyrs have waited in line for recognition – Theophane Venard, Maria Goretti, Maximillian Kolbe, the martyrs of the French Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, and the Mexican Cristeros. Even among these the wait was not undue. Excessive haste is the concern.
    The candidates are not going anywhere.

  15. Supertradmum says:

    Question: Could the pope make a ruling that any Catholic killed by Islamists, because they are Catholic and witnessing the Church and Christ, be honored as a martyr? Sort of a carte blanche martyrdom acknowledgement? Were the early Roman martyrs ever individually declared so? Of course, the 40 martyrs of England and Wales were as we have their names….

  16. Benedict Joseph says:

    Supertradmum, at the risk of being deemed impertinent, I would suggest you consult today’s (Wednesday) essay by Robert Royal entitled “A Bizarre Papal Move” at The Catholic Thing. It appears just about anything can be done. But of course this has been known now for over three years.

  17. Polycarpio says:

    I don’t essentially disagree with Fr. Z’s comments under my comment above. My point was simply that there is a body of pastoral authority reserved to the Holy Father on the subject of canonizations. For example, we have this process of equipolent canonizations. It was revived under the Pontificate of Benedict XVI for the canonization of St. Hildegard of Bingen and it has been continued under Pope Francis. There is also (modern) precedent for a martyrdom decree that is produced by papal authority rather than by the usual process (which is having a congress of theologians study the case, and make the necessary findings, which is then approved by the cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation). When St. Maximillian Kolbe was beatified, he was raised to the altars using the process for a confessor, and not a martyr. However, when he was canonized, Pope St. John Paul II personally authorized naming him a martyr, even though he had not gone through the martyrdom confirmation process. It is also undeniable that each Pope’s personal preferences come to bear on which causes are accelerated and perhaps which causes are slowed down–John Allen had an article several years ago analyzing the traits of “fast track” causes, and Papal approbation was one of the top five. Finally, I don’t think any of this is improper. Part of the formal canonization requirements are that a particular Servant of God (candidate for the sainthood) enjoy a reputation for sainthood, which depends in part on popular fervor, and it seems to me that the Church’s pastors must have a role in steering and guiding that fervor. To sum up, all of these pockets of “papal prerogative” result in what I have called the pastoral element of canonization–but I agree, Fr. Hamel is not a saint yet. He is just looking like a real shoe-in …

  18. Polycarpio says:

    Agree with Benedict Joseph that decentralization would be bad. The current system was put in place in part to stop the abuses of a former system that was seen as a bit slapdash. Yet there is a kind of “Federalism” at play in balancing the role of Rome and the Local Churches in the canonization process. An equilibrium needs to be struck with roles for both. Pope Benedict sought to reinforce this division of roles by declining to participate in beatification (ceremonies); there is a role for the Local Churches. They initiate the processes. First there is a diocesan phase; then the Roman phase. Beatification is an event for the Local Church; Canonization is of the Universal Church. But Rome has the final word and monitors and gives its approval at each step of the process, and this is necessary to ensure uniform standards throughout.

    Supertradmum, the Pope may not make a blanket declaration–each case must be individually adjudicated, and your harkening back to the Roman persecutions is perhaps unknowingly very wise. Those cases set the standard for the process we have today, and each of those cases initially began with a Roman trial or proceeding. It was sometimes in those proceedings that Christians were asked to renounce their faith or at least pay tribute to the Roman gods. When we talk about “testimonies” of the faith and “witnesses of the faith,” that was literally true because it was a legal process. When the Church instituted its own processes centuries later, it seemed to recreate those early trials, and the canonization process works a lot like a courtroom process. It is possible, by the way, to have a large group of people declared saints at the same time: the 813 Martyrs of Otranto were beatified together by Pope Clement XIV in 1771, and canonized by Pope Francis in 2013. But, even there, you have a finite event, not an open ended one.

  19. DaveP says:


    Thanks again for a thought-provoking post. Fr. Hamel may very well be a martyr; now it is up to the Church to recognize him as one. In such cases, do they do the same level of due diligence as they do for canonization of a blessed or saint that died naturally? To me the threshold should be lower given the supreme sacrifice the martyr makes, but he can’t have been a heretic, right?

    The facts were sketchy, but I gathered that he actively resisted the terrorists, which makes him all the more endearing, as in “Nobody’s going to mess with the Altar of Sacrifice on my watch!” If so, that may be the action that could support a finding that he indeed was martyred.

  20. Ann Malley says:

    @Dr. Peters
    @ Father Byers

    Thank you all for your additional points and further explanation.

    I believe this, “But killing on behalf of a blood-thirsty sadistic Allah is evil,” is what I was searching for. I cannot take issue with God Almighty behaving in the manner that He did in the OT. He is God. And yet that is why when the Holy Father makes sweeping statements and does not tease out this nuance – precisely that Allah is not God, but rather a bloodthirsty idol – it is still problematic.

    Dealing as I do with myriad non-Catholics, non-Christians, this kind of issue arises and so these sweeping statements are often only an additional obstacle to be overcome.

    Again, thank you all!

  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Benedict Joseph – I certainly agree that the advantages and safety of our current canonization process are great, and I don’t think Fr. Hamel needs any more subito than he’s already got. But I don’t think the Pope’s done anything wrong here; talk is not a short circuit of the process. Adding him to the calendar by fervorino alone — that would be a problem!

    Dr. Peters – Well, actually the history of martyrs is pretty full of “Yup, we found him dead, and yup, we’re pretty clear that the pagans/faith-haters killed him.” For example, St. Killian (Cilian) and his companions, Ss. Colman and Totnan, were murdered and their bodies hidden. The proof of martyrdom? Circumstantial.

    Folks found the bodies. The duke gathered all the local people and asked who did it. The hitman confessed that Geisila, the wife of Duke Gozbert of Wurzburg, had ordered their murder, because St. Killian had let her husband know that they weren’t really married in God’s eyes. Her husband had promised to separate from her, so Geisila had acted to remove a “bad influence” on her husband, by hiring a hitman.

    Now, the husband was a convert from pagan Frankish beliefs, and the law of marriage is part of Christian teaching. So it was hatred of the faith, just like Herod killing St. John the Baptist. But there wasn’t any test, other than that Killian and his helpers stayed in town and didn’t run from the hostile queen. The hitman certainly didn’t ask them any questions or give them any options. He whacked ’em. The 9th century Passio says that Killian exhorted the other two guys to be happyfor martyrdom as they saw the guy coming up with a sword, but we don’t have any dialogue from Colman or Totnan.

    The other major evidence seems to have been that St. Killian’s body was found to be totally intact, with “not a page of his book or a fringe of his clothing rotted away.” Also a bunch of cures were associated with all three bodies, once they got moved into church.

    St. Foillan and his companions were murdered in the forest by bandits while on a mission journey. They were ambushed, killed, stripped of their clothes, and their bodies hidden; St. Foillan’s head was thrown into a pigsty to be eaten. (St. Ita found it intact there, when they found all the other bodies three months later.) Nobody seems to think it was anything but bandits, but they are always called martyrs because they were coming back from saying Mass at Nivelles.

    So yeah, there’s a pretty long list of CSI martyrs, where most of the evidence of martyrdom was circumstantial or forensic. Most of the time there’s no dialogue or actions known, other than “brave and holy missionary continued to go walking through the dangerous forest” or whatever. That might not be good enough for modern canonization criteria, but it sure worked back then.

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  24. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “Manuals (and my training at the Congregation for Saints) included that along with death out of hatred for the Faith, etc., there must be voluntary acceptance of death in witness to the Faith, etc. Someone who is simply killed by someone who hates the Church isn’t thereby automatically a martyr.”

    Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.

  25. Filipino Catholic says:

    Now if the cries for the French version of “santo subito!” start to rise in volume, a little clarification would be in order. On the off chance that someone actually proposes a cause for Fr. Hamel, would there still be an advocatus to argue against it?

    [One of the elements which must be demonstrated in a cause or claim about martyrdom, is that the person in question has widespread or growing “fame” or “reputation” of martyrdom. That’s one of the things put into the balance, not the only thing.]

  26. Supertradmum says:

    A voluntary witness would include anyone caught, like Edmund Campion, and tried unfairly. I assume it would also mean anyone passively accepting death at the hands of enemies of the Church. Father Hamel did not fight his killers. Would that not suffice?

    No one goes up to someone and asks for martyrdom. Even the great martyrs of England and Wales tried not to get caught.

    Hence, priest holes…. [Right. No one is not obliged to seek martyrdom. We can evade and even fight to protect ourselves and others. However, when the moment comes, we must, with the help of grace, strive to make a good act of contrition and try not to hate our enemies while accepting whatever God wills. Also, I think that many people die in the way that they lived. If we get into the habit of praying for the grace to accept whatever befalls us, according to God’s will, and reflecting about the Four Last Things (don’t forget to think about how magnificent Heaven will be!), there is a greater likelihood that we won’t fail in extremis.]

    I conclude that Fr. Hamel is a martyr. And should be honored as such.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    ps and what about local custom? Many saints were honored, even for centuries, in local places, before being canonized formally. Again, the 40 – 80 martyrs of England and Wales, who were canonized hundreds of years after being so honored publicly are examples.

    As to the French crying out “santo subito”, not the French way, at all. However, if locals began a shrine or asking the martyred priest for prayers, etc., that could be an indication. But, we live in a society where people are now afraid of terrorists, so it is highly unlikely that public honor would spontaneously occur in areas where such terrorism is a threat…especially in France, where so many horrible things have happened.

    Being killed by Islamists, who have hated the Church and Christ for centuries, is being killed for Christ and His Church.

  28. Supertradmum says:

    Father, just saw the comment above. Thanks. Yes, I agree. In fact, as I grow older, I contemplate the Four Last Things more and more. Such would have been the habit of the Jesuit martyrs across the world. Thomas More himself, as he looked out of the window at the proto-martyrs, the Carthusians of London, some of my favorites, admitted that he would have done better contemplating and praying rather than being caught up in the things of Henry’s court. I quote myself, “One recalls St. Thomas More’s comment on seeing the great Carthusian martyrs from the Charterhouse going off to their horrible deaths of being dragged on wooden sledges through the dirty streets of London, to being drawn and quartered, singing like men on their way to a wedding. St. Thomas noted that if he had been on his knees more, praying and doing mortification, instead of enjoying the comforts of Court, he would have been more ready for martyrdom.”

  29. Supertradmum says:

    one more thing before I go to Mass, again, I wrote about this before..”Rarely are there, but there are a few, “last minute martyrs”, such as the one centurion who made up the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, when one left the ice and perished in a warm bath, leaving God for a short comfort. We are not called to be that fortieth martyr, but one of the thirty-nine, who stripped and laid on the ice in pain until they died”

    Yes, thank you Father, in reminding me that I have to prepare for a holy death, no matter how it comes….and I do to Our Lady of Sorrows, whose feast it is today.

    Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows for A Holy Death

    O holy mother, most afflicted by the bitter sorrow which thou didst endure at the foot of the Cross during the Three Hours’ agony of Jesus: vouchsafe to assist all of us, the children of thy sorrows, in our last agony, that through thine intercession we may pass from the bed of death to form a crown for thee in Heaven.
    Say 3 of each…
    Our Father…
    Hail Mary…
    O Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of Mercy, protect us from the enemy and receive us at the hour of death.
    V. From sudden or unprovided death, R. O Lord, deliver us.
    V. From the snares of the devil, R. O Lord, deliver us.
    V. From everlasting death, R. O Lord, deliver us.
    Let us pray.
    O God, who for the salvation of mankind didst give an example and a help in the passion and Death of Thy Son: grant, we beseech Thee, that in the hour of our death we may experience the effect of this Thy charity, and deserve to be partakers in the glory of Him our Redeemer, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.
    R. Amen.
    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.

  30. Grumpy Beggar says:

    “[He’s on a roll!]


    Thanks for the smile Padre. These smiles can make the heavier reading lighter.

    Some of the Saints had quite a long wait before being canonized:
    St. Joan of Arc was canonized 489 years after her death.
    St. Juan Diego was canonized in 2002 – 454 years after his death.

    Roughly 25 years after her death (burned at the stake for heresy) , and following an investigation ordered by King Charles VII, Joan of Arc was officially declared innocent of all charges that had been leveled against her and designated a martyr. . . designated a martyr by the King at that time – not the Church.

    There seemed to have existed, in the past at least, public customs which proclaimed certain individuals to be martyrs long before the Church did (if the church ever did).

    One of the most remarkable stories I have ever read personally was about a man named Louis Guimont. He is mentioned in the 8th day of a Novena to St Anne. The novena is currently made available in a booklet form at the shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre. Louis Guimont is mentioned as the first person to benefit from a miracle at the original shrine of Ste Anne de Beaupre back in 1658 .

    I decided to do some research on him – to learn about his healing . . .and ended up learning a lot more than I expected.

    Three years after the miraculous healing, Louis Guimont died from what is popularly called “martyrdom” . . .though I know of no Church declaration confirming this.

    But if one were to read about the details of his actual death (scroll roughly 60% of the way down the page of This Article to the section entitled “Chapter 3, Martyrdom) , one would admit to a similarity, a semblance of the deaths suffered by St. Jean Breboeuf and St. Issac Jogues.

    . . . Lots of unknown martyrs in our Holy Catholic Church.

  31. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Emphatically speaking under correction (and quite possibly as a fool, and/or opener of rabbit holes), I wonder if one saying, “to kill in the name of God is satanic” might, in some circumstances, be in danger of being a ‘diabolos’ in the sense of St. Paul to St. Titus (2:3), and even if the saying of “to kill in the name of God is satanic” might itself, in some circumstances, be ‘satanic’. (For, in the ‘name’ of Whom or What is it permissible to kill a human being (given the range of meaning of ‘uccidere’ in Italian)? ‘Justice’? But how is such ‘Justice’ related to Justice Himself, Creator and Legislator of justice among men?)

  32. pelerin says:

    I understand that Fr Hamel’s last words were ‘Va t’en satan’ – ‘Go away satan’. Did he recognise satan in his killers?
    Interesting to note that Fr Z explains that the vestments worn by the Pope for the Mass on Wednesday in the presence of relatives of the dead Priest were red due to the Feast day on which it took place. On one of the French news bulletins I watched they said Pope Francis was in red in honour of Fr Hamel. Do journalists ever check their facts?

  33. Dying like a martyr does not make you an instant saint. Nope. There are exceptions.
    I was reading about an ancient martyr saint who was stricken off of the list of martyrs because he was suspected of being an apostate, even though he died ostensibly the death of a Catholic martyr. Eventually, this person’s attitude was verified as being faithful, and the Pope re-instated him as a martyr for the Faith.

    Doesn’t it make sense that one would have to be united to the Church in all its aspects to go to heaven? Yes, there are the arguments for baptism of blood and desire [I’m afraid this is over-abundantly used and allows us to think everybody goes to heaven]. Yes, there are the arguments about perfect desire, contrition, becoming fully Catholic at death as the Truth is revealed to us at Judgement [I think this also is overused and reduces our fear of losing heaven]. But really we are supposed to be and act Catholic to very last.

    Up until the 70s the Church gave us confidence in the saints she declared by using the centuries-old detailed process of canonization, presenting to us the very best examples of saintly lives for us to emulate. Not just those that were “okay”. But that process and the devil’s advocate has been destroyed. Now we have simple statements that we are supposed to believe. Sketchy miracles that the involved doctors denounce? So let’s reconsider.

    Really. Think about it. God has standards. The entire history of the Church demonstrates all the teachings telling us how to behave. She is very clear that there are works we must accomplish to win heaven. God really means it: Christ suffered to tell us that there is no salvation outside of the Church and anyone who fails to be united to that Church doesn’t enter heaven.

    Fr. Hamel may be a martyr, sure. I hope he is. We don’t know. But I see this rule of ‘dying for God’ applied way too liberally today as if that is the only criteria for winning heaven.

  34. Polycarpio says:

    @ DaveP – You are correct in surmising that the standards are a bit more “lax” for martyrs. That’s a short-hand way of saying it, and you can argue that it’s exactly the opposite: it’s harder because you have to have a martyrdom! The quintessential thing you have to have to prove someone was a saint is to show “heroic virtue” and divine approbation of their virtue (i.e., miracles). “People that die naturally” who are considered for sainthood are called confessors. For them, you have to have a very thorough showing that they lived a life of virtue, examining all the virtues and making the corresponding assessment. You also have to show two miracles–one for beatification and one for canonization. For martyrs, you also have to show “heroic virtue” but martyrdom itself is considered a sign of virtue, so the virtue analysis is not so exacting. Additionally, since the reforms of John Paul II, you only have to show one miracle for martyrs. No miracle is required for beatification–the candidate can be beatified following the recognition that s/he is a martyr. That is why Francis said that Fr. Hamel is a blessed because he is a martyr. However, martyrs still need a miracle for canonization.

  35. pelerin says:

    I have just read that yesterday evening the breviary belonging to Fr Hamel was given to a church in Rome – San Bartolomeo all’Isola – a basilica situated on an island in the Tiber.

    This seems to be significant as the church has been designated as a church holding the relics of Saints from the XX and XXI century.

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