Churches in France tolled their bells and rang the death knell at 3 p.m. on Thursday after a terrorist attack in Nice killed three individuals and injured several others, beheading two. The Churches tolled their bells to commemorate and honour the victims of the terrorist attack after the French bishops’ conference requested parishes to do the same.
Churches ringing their bells Around #France, showing a sign of solidarity with the 3 Victims that have lost their lives in #NotreDameCathedral Church #Nice from a stabbing Terror attack pic.twitter.com/PyMLZMLu9k— ܡܐܪܝܘ 🇱🇧🇬🇧 (@MarioLeb79) October 29, 2020
The French bishops said in a statement, “The murders perpetrated this morning in Nice in the Basilica of Notre-Dame plunge the French bishops’ conference into immense sadness. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, the injured, their families and loved ones.”
“These killings remind us of the martyrdom of Fr. Jacques Hamel. Through these horrible acts, our entire country is affected. This terrorism aims to instil anguish throughout our society. It is urgent that this gangrene be stopped, just as it is urgent that we regain the indispensable fraternity that will keep us all strong in the face of these threats,” they added.
While the reaction of Christian priests to the Jihadist violence in France has been quite honourable, the reaction of their Indian counterparts has been disgraceful in the past to say the least. When the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by the Indian Parliament to help religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan suffering persecution by Jihadists, Christian priests in India were at the forefront of opposing the move.
In Secunderabad, Telangana, Wesley Church on Christmas Day congregation had people standing with placards that read “We Indians reject CAA” and “CAA against constitution”. Others proceeded along similar lines on Christmas. Churches also proceeded to declare the Republic Day as ‘Constitution Protection Day’.
“The country is going through an unprecedented social situation. The Prime Minister who took over charge by kissing the Constitution is leading the attempts to violate the values provided by the Constitution for this country. Most important among this violation is the division of society on the basis of religion. We should react strongly to exclude one particular community from the CAA,” Bishop D’Souza said.
“The CAA is against the Constitution. It is not just against Muslims but all of us. So, on January 26, the Preamble would be read out in all the churches under the KRLCBC. Bishops —whichever church they are— would take the National Pledge along with the laity and lead the Preamble readings,” said Kerala Regional Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) general secretary Fr Francis Xavier Thanikkaparambil.
Thus, we see a remarkable difference between the stance taken by Christian priests in France towards Radical Islamic terrorism and that by their counterparts in India towards those persecuted by the same in Islamic countries. It is also to be mentioned that the CAA has provisions for Christians from the three countries as well. However, that did not stop Churches in India from prioritizing their politics over humanitarian concerns.