“Sharpen attention”

Mission in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray © Charly Triballeau

Archbishop Ludwig Schick © Elisabeth Schomaker (KNA)

The hostage-taking in a French church and the brutal murder of a priest have struck France to the core. Still, we shouldn't freeze in fear now, even if our churches can't possibly all be protected, says Bamberg archbishop.

Following the hostage-taking and murder of a priest in northern France, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg has called for decisive action. It is important "that we form a society together in which fears do not get out of hand," he said Wednesday on Bavarian radio . At the same time, Schick demanded that refugees who had committed crimes be deported.

On Tuesday, two men had stormed a Catholic church near Rouen, Normandy, taking five people celebrating Mass there hostage. They brutally murdered 85-year-old priest Jacques Hamel. Another hostage was critically injured. As the attackers left the church, they were shot dead by police. Politicians and churches reacted with horror to the attack, to which the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS) claimed responsibility.

Attacks on Christians not only in Europe

"It is not the first act that Islamists have done in a church," Schick stressed. He recalled incidents in Pakistan and Egypt. Politicians must do all they can to ensure citizens live safely, he said. "We know there are too few police officers in our country," archbishop says. "But it is also important that citizens become more alert."Refugees who have committed crimes or threaten to do so must either be expelled from the country "or also be secured in the country so that they cannot do any harm".

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