Catholic World News

Murder of Father Hamels was attack on French secularism, says author in Jesuit journal

August 29, 2016

In an article published in the authoritative Italian journal Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit scholar argues that the murder of Father Jacques Hamel by Islamic terrorists should be understood as an attempt to undermine French traditions of secularity and create conflict between religions.

Father Giancarlo Pani takes aim at the argument that the killing was primarily an attack on the Catholic Church, writing: 

The priest’s murder is not to be seen as an "assassination in a cathedral" but as a hard blow to the heart of French secularism, the birthplace of the revolution, of liberté, égalité, fraternité, the envy of enlightenment, the nation that bases its secularism on respect for all religions and all people, whatever their nationality.

The Civilta Cattolica essay sees the attack on a Catholic priest as "a way to strike right at the heart of France, its institutions, its fundamental principles," and particularly its commitment to coexistence of different religious and cultural traditions. 

Articles in Civilta Cattolica are regarded as authoritative because the contents of the Jesuit journal are approved in advance by the Vatican's Secretariat of State. The editor, Father Antonio Spadaro, is a key adviser to Pope Francis.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Aug. 30, 2016 11:58 PM ET USA

    "...the nation that bases its secularism on respect for all religions and all people, whatever their nationality." As in the U.S., so goes France. A secularism based on respect for all religions is an atheistic principle which treats all religions as mere opinion, with no basis in reality. This is not respect but rather the ultimate expression of disrespect. This type of secularism considers religion a human weakness, evolved by "nature" to assuage our primal fear of death and suffering.

  • Posted by: k_cusick1963 - Aug. 30, 2016 8:23 AM ET USA

    To the ISIS jihadists who perpetrated this atrocity, it was an attack upon "the Infidels"--anyone who does not subscribe to Sharia law and the teachings of Mohamed in the Quran, and most particularly, the Roman Catholic Church, which is their ideology's mirror opposite. They call it Caliphate. The sooner we understand that these people mean never to be our friends and have declared war on us, the more realistically we will understand their motives.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Aug. 29, 2016 10:25 PM ET USA

    What hogwash. The left will do anything to avoid calling anti-Catholic terror what is really is.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Aug. 29, 2016 9:07 PM ET USA

    Scandalous. Pani seems more determined to save the atheistic French Revolution than the Church he claims to serve. What's wrong with the Jesuits, anyway? (I know, it would take several books...). Do they still resent getting their order temporarily suppressed in the 1700's?