WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed prayers and support after the latest terrorist attack on a Catholic parish in Normandy, France, that left a priest dead and another person seriously injured.
According to reports, the attack took place while Father Jacques Hamel was celebrating Mass, he and five other people were taken hostages inside the church.
Full statement follows.
Attack on Our Catholic Church in Normandy
A Statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catholic faithful around the world experienced the shock and sadness of this morning's barbaric attack on Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France, as if the loss was in our very own parish. We pray for Father Hamel and his parishioners knowing, as St. Paul stated regarding the Body of Christ, "if one suffers, all the parts suffer with it." (1 Cor 12:26)
The Holy Mass is the most sacred and joyful act we, as Catholics, celebrate. Never are we closer to our Lord Jesus Christ than we are when we receive the Eucharist. No act of desecration – no matter how vile – can obscure the merciful presence of God.
Jesus calls us to be sisters and brothers, to strive to care for one another, and always to reject the evil that seeks to divide us. We give thanks to God for the unforgettable witness of the faithful this morning at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.
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Norma Montenegro Flynn