Europe

Pope comforts sister of French priest slain by extremists

  • Pope Francis reaches out to touch children as he arrives to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome, Saturday, April 22, 2017, to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in memory of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis reaches out to touch children as he arrives to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome, Saturday, April 22, 2017, to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in memory of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis arrives to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome, Saturday, April 22, 2017, to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in memory of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis arrives to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome, Saturday, April 22, 2017, to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in memory of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis caresses a child as he arrives to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome, Saturday, April 22, 2017, to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in memory of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis caresses a child as he arrives to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome, Saturday, April 22, 2017, to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word in memory of the martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has comforted the sister of an elderly French priest who was slain by Islamic militants in a church in Normandy as the pontiff paid tribute to the courage of modern-day Christian martyrs.

Francis gripped the hands of Roselyne Hamel, whose brother, Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, died when his throat was slit as he celebrated Mass on July 26, 2016.

Francis quietly spoke with Hamel during a service Saturday evening in St. Bartholomew Basilica on Tiber Island in Rome. He had just heard her tell fellow faithful in the church that her brother was killed by "two youths radicalized by a discourse of hate."

In his homily, Francis also hailed the suffering of refugees, lamenting that "international accords seem more important than human rights."