Catholic priest murdered in France, says country’s interior minister – Catholic Telegraph

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by CNA staff

Paris, France, Aug 9, 2021 / 5:40 AM

The French Interior Minister announced Monday that a Catholic priest had been assassinated in western France.

Gérald Darmanin wrote on his Twitter account on August 9 that he was traveling to the French department of Vendée after the murder.

“All my support for the Catholics of our country after the tragic murder of a priest in Vendée. I’m going to the scene, “he said.

He gave no further information about the incident.

The diocese of Luçon, which includes the department of Vendée, appointed the murdered priest Bro. Olivier Maire, provincial superior of the Montfort Missionaries (the Company of Mary).

On her Twitter account, she wrote that Bishop François Jacolin de Luçon and the diocese of Luçon “express their deep sadness and sadness” following the news of the murder.

“Bishop Jacolin and the diocese of Luçon share the immense sorrow of his family and of the whole Montfortian family.

France Info reported that the suspect in the murder of Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, a commune in the Vendée department, was already under investigation in connection with the fire at Nantes cathedral in July 2020.

Reuters reported that the suspect surrendered to police.

French media said the 60-year-old priest welcomed the 40-year-old suspect, identified by media as Emmanuel Abayisenga, to the community of Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre after the fire.

The incident immediately sparked a political row, with Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally, an anti-immigration party, accusing the authorities of not having expelled the suspect, identified on social media as a man of Rwandan origin.

“In France, you can be an illegal immigrant, set fire to Nantes cathedral, never be deported, then reoffend by murdering a priest, “she wrote on Twitter.

Darmanin rejected the criticism.

“Rather than expressing her compassion for the Catholics who welcomed this murderer, Ms. Le Pen argues without knowing the facts: this foreigner could not be deported despite his deportation order as long as his judicial control had not been lifted “he replied.

Le Pen is preparing to challenge the French presidential election against incumbent President Emmanuel Macron in April 2022.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, former prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, responded to the news by invoking the intercession of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, founder of the Company of Mary, and of Saint John Paul II, pope from 1978 to 2005.

“St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort and Saint John Paul II, stay with us, we implore you”, he wrote on his Twitter account.

Brother Hugues de Woillemont, secretary general of the bishops’ conference of France, expressed “his pain and his incomprehension” in the face of the murder.

In a homily preached in October 2020, Fr. Maire spoke of the importance of serving those on the “periphery”, citing the last encyclical of Pope Francis Fratelli tutti.

“Let us dare to sit down for a time of fraternal sharing, let us dare to sit down with the poorest, the excluded and the rejected of humanity”, he said.

This is a developing story.

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