Europe

Pope honoring French priest: Killing in God's name 'satanic'

  • Roselyne Hamel, of France, holds a picture of her brother, Rev. Jacques Hamel, during a meeting with journalists at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. Pope Francis honored the French priest who was killed by Islamic extremists while celebrating Mass as a martyr on Wednesday and urged all people of faith to have the courage to denounce such killings as "satanic." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Roselyne Hamel, of France, holds a picture of her brother, Rev. Jacques Hamel, during a meeting with journalists at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. Pope Francis honored the French priest who was killed by Islamic extremists while celebrating Mass as a martyr on Wednesday and urged all people of faith to have the courage to denounce such killings as "satanic." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Flower petals are tossed by faithful as Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St.Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Flower petals are tossed by faithful as Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St.Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Roselyne Hamel, of France, holds a picture of her brother, Rev. Jacques Hamel, as she attends a press conference with Rouen Bishop Dominique Lebrun at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. Pope Francis honored the French priest who was killed by Islamic extremists while celebrating Mass as a martyr on Wednesday and urged all people of faith to have the courage to denounce such killings as "satanic." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Roselyne Hamel, of France, holds a picture of her brother, Rev. Jacques Hamel, as she attends a press conference with Rouen Bishop Dominique Lebrun at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. Pope Francis honored the French priest who was killed by Islamic extremists while celebrating Mass as a martyr on Wednesday and urged all people of faith to have the courage to denounce such killings as "satanic." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has called the French priest who was killed by Islamic State militants while celebrating Mass a martyr and urged all people of faith to denounce killing in the name of God as "satanic."

Francis celebrated a morning Mass on Wednesday in memory of the Rev. Jacques Hamel. Two extremists slit Hamel's throat in his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, outside Rouen, on July 26. Police later killed them; the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Several members of Hemel's dioceses and his bishop attended the Mass in Francis' hotel chapel. In his homily, Francis lamented the persecution of Christians today for their faith.

Francis called Hamel a martyr and urged all believers to "have the courage to say the truth: killing in the name of God is satanic."