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Requiescat in pace, Father Jacques Hamel
Martyred at the church of St. Étienne,
Named for the first martyr. 

Before Pure Will he bows so reverently,
His captive mind conformed to prison sheikh

Electric monitor around his wrist
Can’t leash the lust of teenage liberté.

Straps faux explosives, enters martyr’s church.
Allahu Akbar! he shouts in sanctuary

Then forces Father to his well-trained knees
And Introibo ad altare dei

Is choked by chants condemning Nasrani.
As navel-gazing terrorists tape the scene

Small blips that beep across surveillance screens
Are all that police of state can strain to see.

He draws a thin red line across priest’s throat
Who swore to judge that Muslims love mercy.

“Impossible I didn’t produce a devil”
His mother pleads “he liked to watch TV.”

Enunciate égalité and claim
Fraternité—each death equals the same.

In haste to mute the speech of demagogues
Who demonize and promise walls will save

We cannot see the blood that spilled today,
Can’t taste the bitter sanguine poured this way.

If In persona Christi could he be
We could then grace with gravity his grave

We could then hear the Father’s final words—
Va-t’en, Satan, Va-t’en, Satan he prayed.

—Joshua Hren

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