Priest Murdered by ISIS Already on Path to Sainthood
Jacques Hamel was murdered in his church in France
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2016 1:48 PM CDT
Pope Francis prays in front of a picture of Rev. Jacques Hamel as he celebrates a mass to honor his memory at the Vatican on Wednesday.   (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

(Newser) – An 85-year-old French priest murdered in his own church by Islamic militants in July is already being prepped for sainthood, Reuters reports. Speaking during a Mass Wednesday at the Vatican, Pope Francis called Jacques Hamel a "good, humble man" and a martyr. "He gave his life for us so as not to deny Jesus," Francis said. "He is a martyr and martyrs are beatified." According to the Telegraph, Francis said Hamel joins a long line of Christians "who are murdered, tortured, imprisoned, have their throats slit because they do not deny Jesus Christ."

Beatification is the first step toward Catholic sainthood but typically requires a miracle—though that requirement can be waived in cases of martyrdom. Francis also reportedly said Hamel should be venerated, which would move him even closer to sainthood. In Catholicism, saints are people thought to be so holy that upon death they may convince God to perform miracles. Hamel was killed when two French citizens entered his church, made him get on his knees, then slit his throat. Before killing Hamel, the men recorded a video pledging their support to ISIS, Newsweek reports. They were killed by law enforcement as they left the church.