The official website of the Catholic diocese of Milan asked the Archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan to reflect on the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel at the hands of Muslim terrorists in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray; a town in Normandy.
Cardinal Scola responded:
The barbaric attack this morning in France, near Rouen, arouses in us a sense of dismay and violent reaction. Only in prayer are we able to accept such a merciless act. Particularly, it deeply saddens us that a brother priest was killed during the celebration of the Holy Mass and other worshippers were injured.
What can we ask the Lord of History before this real escalation of violence that is, by now, attacking Europe? There is no other way than to resume right away, and through patient educational and cultural work, a sense of life that may allow us to face our daily living, in its basic manifestations, sustained by truth and good.
How not to grasp from this killing brought to the heart of Christianity the value of martyrdom that Christians regularly celebrate during Holy Mass?
This fact tells us, and tells everyone, not only to believers, how to act: the first universal message that comes from this crazy murder is that Christians, if they are truly such, just like Father Jacques was, are already building what is good: not only for the Church but for society as a whole.
The first contribution Christians can give to this new Europe is to be themselves. The churches of Europe must once again become vital expressions of a beautiful life, conscious of history and abandoned to the embrace of the Trinity that awaits every man and every woman in the "forever."
One cannot but say a word about the need for a European revival: we need men and women –common people – who may help established authorities find a way of sense for our Continent.
Migration, integration, economy, finance, politics, can be building blocks to construct the European home only if the sense of living in a plural society, respectful to all but directed towards a recognition of what is good, will be constantly pursued and documented in the implementation of all freedoms. This is the only way to overcome fears and also to defeat terrorism in the long run.
Even in the deepest pain and in solemn anguish we cannot but look at the hundreds of thousands of young people who are traveling to Krakow for the World Youth Day. They are already this new sense of Europe that is in action at this precise moment.
Certainly, they will listen and put into practice the call for mercy through which Pope Francis is prophetically indicating to us a pathway to rebuild Church and society.