“We are horrified at the barbarous attack on the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in which we lost the parish priest Jacques Hamel. On behalf of the State of Palestine and the Palestinian people, we condemn the vile and hateful terrorist attack and any justification anyone dare give in the name of religion for these crimes against humanity ”. These words were part of a letter of condolence sent by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to Pope Francis, the successor of Saint Peter following the heinous murder of the elderly priest whose throat was cut by two terrorists as he celebrated mass in the church of Saint Etienne du Rouvray, near Rouen. “We will stand always shoulder to shoulder” we read in the presidential missive sent to Fides, “to spread love, mercy and justice, overcome hatred and extremism and promote justice and peace for the whole of humanity”.
The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land yesterday sent a message of condolence to the Church in France and to all the French people. “From the Holy Land which continues to suffer from violence and instability” says the message, made public by the official media of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “we raise our voices, urging an end to the use of violence in the name of religion and instead, to use religion as the path to promote mutual respect and understanding among all nations.” The Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land continued “we believers, need to pray to the Almighty to keep all people united and together cooperate for an end to all kinds of terrorism and that world leaders be inspired to act wisely and decisively to uproot terrorism and its causes in all of the regions now suffering from this plague”.