The closing session of the diocesan inquiry — first stage in view of the Beatification of French priest Jacques Hamel, took place on March 9, 2019 at 10:30 am in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Annunciation of the Archbishopric of Rouen. The 11,496-page dossier will be sent to Rome under seal, to be studied by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
The process of Beatification of the Servant of God Jacques Hamel, presumed murdered out of hatred for the Catholic faith on July 26, 2016, in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, opened on May 20, 2017: Pope Francis decided to wave the five-year delay, habitually necessary after the death of a baptized person, to open his/her process.
The Postulator, Father Paul Vigouroux conducted the diocesan inquiry: a total of 66 hearings took place, notably with the five witnesses of the tragedy of July 26, 2016, and 51 other witnesses (family, friends, parishioners, priests of the diocese etc). According to a press release published by the diocese of Rouen, the questionnaires for these hearings focused on the July 26 tragedy, the foundations and the consistency of the presumed martyrdom but also on the life of Father Hamel.
Moreover, two theologians examined, among other things, his homilies (some 650 were found) and sent a report indicating if in these documents’ elements were found contrary to Catholic Doctrine and on the recurring points of his preaching.
The diocese stressed “four points of attention for an eventual Beatification in recognition of his martyrdom: the need to determine if it was a violent death, if the intention of the murderers was “hatred of the Christian faith,” the manner of Father Hamel’s dying and his reputation as martyrs which appeals to the “sensus fidei.”
The 85-year-old priest has his throat cut by two Islamist terrorists in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in the diocese of Rouen in Normandy, while he was celebrating Mass. A year after his murder, on July 26, 2017, Pope Francis honored Father Hamel’s memory on his Instagram account, publishing a photo of the Mass he celebrated in memory of the priest, on September 14, 2016, with pilgrims from the diocese. It was accompanied by this message: “We remember Father Jacques Hamel today who, with so many other martyrs of our time, gave his life in service of others."