Rest in Peace, Fr. Hamel.

(32 Posts)
ReActiv Tue 26-Jul-16 15:58:01

I am a lapsed Roman Catholic. Though still do attend mass a few times a year with my daughter, mainly for the community events.

I can actually remember a few months ago, the priest discussing middle eastern Christians being killed and asking us to join him in praying for them. And hoping that such level of persecution may never find its way into Europe. And I can remember sitting there and thinking just how easy it would be for a terrorist or any other dangerous person to just walk into that church, barricade the door, and do whatever they wanted to do with us parishioners. The volunteers at the church are mostly elderly - two pensioners who stand at the door handing out the hymn sheets on our way in, and opening the door to let people out to their cars etc during and after mass.

There doesn't appear to be any cctv inside the main church. Nor in the car park.

And I have to admit that today's attack has made me very nervous about ever going to mass again. My daughter attends a Catholic school and they go to mass once a month as a school. I am now worried sick about this monthly trip restarting once the schools go back in August. A church with no security and full of school children. What a target that would be.

I know that this is incredibly selfish to think of myself and my daughter in light of this poor man's demise. But i can't help but feel scared that I may be putting my daughter at risk by consenting for her to keep going on these visits with the school. I'm also worried that I'm depriving her of engaging with the community and her friends as the church puts on lots of free family-friendly events throughout the year. I'm now very worried about attending these ever again in future.

Common sense tells me that these attacks can happen anywhere. I live a five minute walk from the church. The school is across the road from it. So it is likely just as risky to be living where I am, or to be sending my daughter to her catholic school each day as it is for her to go to mass. At least the school has a buzzer entry system though. And CCTV.

Anyway, this has just turned into a ramble. I'm seeing lots of priests on Twitter calling Fr Hamel a martyr and saying that his death will strengthen the catholic church, not weaken it. And it just makes me feel incredibly sad. He was an old, frail man.

I worry that this will put a lot of religious people off attending their various places of worship. I worry that the lack of security in places of worship make them easy targets for terrorists.

Anyway. Just needed to get this off my chest. I just wish there was enough money in the UK to to put body scanners everywhere (shopping centres, schools, places of worship, public transport) and more police presence and security guards in these places to perhaps prevent any of the recent German/French attacks from happening here. A very naive wish, i know. But I just feel that nowhere is safe any more. Fr Hamel and the other victims were probably in the place they considered the safest for them.

I wonder if other people feel worried going to their various places of worship? If not before, then how about now after today's tragedy?

Toddlerteaplease Tue 26-Jul-16 16:09:37

I was in Lourdes a couple of weeks ago and suddenly realised that it is a sitting duck. 1000's of people in the underground basilica with nowhere to hide. sad

Toddlerteaplease Tue 26-Jul-16 16:11:37

However this country has better security and we need to remember that although these attacks seem common at the minute you are still more likely to be run over by a bus. We must not stop going to mass. That is what the terrorists want. They must not get what they want.

poshme Tue 26-Jul-16 16:16:02

It is very sad, and as you say- brings to Europe a reality that thousands of Christians face further afield.
But- you are far more likely to die in your car. That is statistically true- and yet you probably drive at least once a week right?
So yes, be sad, pray for those affected, but do not let these terrorists stop you doing things.

DitheringSJ Wed 27-Jul-16 15:34:58

No way would I stop going to Mass.

I feel if more people engaged in their Christian faith more fully then there would be less chance of ISIS thinking that they can take over.

Unfortunately it's trendy to be 'atheist' yet a lot of people that probably don't even know the meaning of the word still, 'celebrate' Easter and Christmas.

ReallyTired Thu 28-Jul-16 08:52:07

I think it's understandable to feel scared, I feel that Fr Hamel's murder is an attack on all Christians. As a world community we should not think of ourselves as being Catholic, Protestant or Eastern Orthodox. There have been a lot of Christian martyrs this year and we must remember the Coptic Christian martyrs as well. In many Muslim countries the punishment for apostasy is death.

What is a challenge is that as Christians we are expected to forgive and love those who hate us.

We have not done enough to protect our Hindu, Seikh, Buddhist, Jewish brother and sisters who have been murdered around the world. Religious freedom should be for everyone.

ReallyTired Thu 28-Jul-16 09:28:47

Of course Muslims are some times victims of religous persecution. It needs to be remembered that ISIS does not represent ordinary Muslims anymore than the Spanish Inquisition represented Jesus.

Lumpylumperson Thu 28-Jul-16 09:36:37

I feel if more people engaged in their Christian faith more fully then there would be less chance of ISIS thinking that they can take over.

That's a very bold statement and one that I think I initially recoiled at but you are absolutely spot on.

I totally agree.

OP I understand what you're saying and it's reasonable to have such concerns but I'm not going to stop going to church. I hope more people start coming to church to stick two fingers up to these murderers and show that we aren't going to let them win.

DitheringSJ Thu 28-Jul-16 20:51:07

Thanks Lumplumperson.

I expected it would provoke a reaction but I think it needed to be said and I can't be the only one that has come to that conclusion.

I'd like to encourage a habit of encouraging parishioners to also attend a daily Mass at least once a week to assert and be proud of our Christian country. With school holidays and parents taking time off who can't spare half an hour a week?

The Muslim family that we rent our house out to are exemplary in demonstrating their commitment to their faith. I only wish we could be as proud of ours.

niminypiminy Thu 28-Jul-16 22:14:09

There's an excellent piece here by Gikes Fraser on Fr Hamel's death - I found it very moving: he calls the crucifixion 'the non-violent absorption of others' violence -which is what it sometimes takes to make peace'.

niminypiminy Fri 29-Jul-16 08:04:58

And also, and even better, After Normandy We Must Open the Church Doors Wide - by an Anglican priest who has made her church a haven for refugees.

Woodburningstove Fri 29-Jul-16 21:38:38

I am scared. Really really scared. I keep imagining an Islamic terrorist coming into church and the utter terror of my children. I haven't told them of the attack. We tend to sit on the front row in church as the kids have more space to wander around and I think they will be in the first line of fire. I am considering stopping going or switching to a more rural church but I love our church with its vibrancy and it has loads and loads of children and I don't think a small church with a handful of families would suit us.
I have emailed the church to ask if they are getting more security but the email back was a copy of a letter from the Police saying be alert but not alarmed.
I emailed the Police and they said there is no specific threat but Places of Worship are a potential target.
I love church and I want to keep going but I love my children and question whether I should put them at risk of such a terrible terrible death or terror.
If it was just us adults I would be worried but with our young children too it has me in a dilemma.
We can't go to church for the next few weeks so I can delay the decision but I don't know what to do.

Lumpylumperson Fri 29-Jul-16 21:52:50

Wood I know what you mean but the way I've rationalised it is, of all the churches in all the western world is it really likely to happen in your church? The odds are massively stacked that you'd be more likely all wiped out in a car crash but I'd wager you still go on journeys on the roads.

I totally understand why you're scared, I've had the same thought but rationalising it like ^ that has helped me, maybe it will you too.

boolifooli Sat 30-Jul-16 11:41:59

I feel if more people engaged in their Christian faith more fully then there would be less chance of ISIS thinking that they can take over.

But they attacked a very visible believer. He was taking his faith fully. If you look at the way society works the more secular a society is the less religious violence you have, not more. And by secular I mean faith is separate from society and its laws, not that no one can have a religion, they're just not allowed to impose it on anyone.

Unfortunately it's trendy to be 'atheist' yet a lot of people that probably don't even know the meaning of the word still, 'celebrate' Easter and Christmas.

Putting aside the groundless insult, it is entirely possible to enjoy the food and family time of Christmas without believing any of the supernatural claims of a religion. I don't feel like a hypocrite when I put up a Christmas tree. I would if I claimed to be doing it because I believe Jesus is the son of God. When you go to a firework display are you saying 'I am aligning myself with Guy Fawkes beliefs', or just having a nice time?

boolifooli Sat 30-Jul-16 11:45:16

(Interestingly Guy Fawkes was the Catholic version of IS terrorists)

Shallishanti Sat 30-Jul-16 11:50:02

actually on bonfire night we 'celebrate' the execution of Guy Fawkes which always strikes me as rather horrid (hence burning the guy)- but I agree we can participate without assenting to the original meaning- and to return to the point of the OP, let's not forget that there was a religious motive there too- our country has a history of bloodthirsty religious conflict

boolifooli Sat 30-Jul-16 12:02:26

actually on bonfire night we 'celebrate' the execution of Guy Fawkes which always strikes me as rather horrid

I agree. I find it a shame that the Christian symbol is a means of barbaric execution. And that Christians celebrate someone being tortured to death in such a way. I get that they think it means they can be forgiven but still, couldn't Jesus have chosen to die by a less barbaric method. Maybe dying in old age due to pneumonia although not sure what symbol Christians would use in that circumstance.

Shallishanti Sat 30-Jul-16 16:45:58

I think the whole point is that he died horribly as a criminal when in fact he was innocent, dying in old age of pneumonia wouldnt have 'worked' but you'd have to ask a Christian to explain that.

headinhands Sat 30-Jul-16 20:32:27

ask a Christian to explain it

And there'll be as many explanations as Christians grin

DitheringSJ Sat 30-Jul-16 21:51:51

I'm proud of my Christian values and I pray many others will not use the terrorist threat as an excuse to abandon their faith.

There's no point in arguing with a fool(i) so I'll leave it there.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Sat 30-Jul-16 23:32:12

Atheists aren't atheists because it's "trendy". They are atheists because they see no evidence for a god.

We're not losing ground to Islamist extremists because we are no longer Christian. We're losing ground because in our adherence to western values of liberalism and tolerance we have unwittingly invited in ideas that are both illiberal and intolerant.

Maybe it is you who doesn't know what Christmas and Easter mean. They are pagan festivals which have been co-opted by Christianity. Jesus wasn't even born at Christmas and the word Easter comes from the name of a pagan goddess.
Feel free to celebrate them but they don't belong to you.

ReallyTired Sun 31-Jul-16 08:37:23

Atheists are not part of the problem and neither are most Muslims.

We need all children to be taught about cults and the techniques they use. The brain washing techniques that ISIS used see the same used by then Nazis, North Korea, the Moonies etc. Even highly educated adults can be sucked in. All these cults feed of people who are vulnerable, lonely and in desperate need of friendship and acceptance. Prisons, mental hospitals, universities all have a concentration of people who are desperate to make friends. Immigrants are also vulnerable.

Fighting ISIS with hate is never going to work. It will just create more hate.

HeroOfFerelden Sun 31-Jul-16 12:30:20

Nothing wrong with being proud of your religion, but insulting people who don't share it is just shitty ffs.

headinhands Sun 31-Jul-16 15:44:26

Totally. These western young men, and women, aren't being radicalised because we're so secular. There are extremist terrorists in countries where atheism is almost unheard of.

headinhands Sun 31-Jul-16 15:50:40

And where individuals who are openly atheist are threatened with, and have been murdered because of their lack of beliefs.

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