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Barbarians Inside the Temple

Fellow Catholics, we’ve been put on notice: Our sanctuaries are no longer safe.

The brazen, broad-daylight murder of a French priest in a small town in Normandy this summer by two jihadists has driven home the point that Catholics and Catholic churches are very much targets of Islamic terrorism in the West.

The details are horrifying: On July 26 Fr. Jacques Hamel, 85, was celebrating Mass at Église St.-Étienne, a seventeenth-century church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, when two men armed with knives stormed the sanctuary, took parishioners hostage, and slit the priest’s throat. Three other Catholics were wounded during the takeover. According to a nun who witnessed the attack, the jihadists forced Fr. Hamel to kneel before them so they could film themselves slaughtering him, after which they delivered a “sermon in Arabic” at the altar (Daily Mail, July 26). The nun was able to escape unnoticed and alert the police, who shot the two terrorists as they emerged from the church shouting, Allahu Akbar!

The Islamic State (ISIS) later claimed responsibility for the attack. Two ISIS “soldiers” — both Algerians who grew up in France — the group said, attacked the church “in response to the call to target Crusader coalition states.”

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