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Montpellier attack: Archbishop Carré, “missionaries under shock, but life must go on”

“Life goes on. We want everyone to know that we do not feel under threat. That is what we did even after Fr. Hamel was murdered: we faced the situation with courage, without losing trust in others, showing prudence without giving in to terror, and we moved forward without fear, our hearts full of peace”. This was said by the Archbishop of Montpellier, Monsignor Pierre-Marie Carré, who early this morning visited the retirement home of “les Chênes verts” in Montferrier-sur-Lez, 10 kilometres north of Montpellier. The facility accommodates about 60 religious men and women from the congregation of the “Missionaries to Africa”. At about 10pm last night, a man burst into the retirement home and stabbed a woman to death before running away. After the alarm was raised, the police immediately arrived at the scene. “I come from the home where the missionaries live and where the woman was murdered”, the Archbishop told SIR in a phone interview. “We still do not know the reasons behind the attack; at present, we do not rule out any motive. We do not know why the woman was killed. We were told it might not be necessarily out of a religious motive. There might be other reasons”. The facility is home to elderly missionaries. “They were under shock. Primarily because they knew the person who was murdered extremely well. She was a woman who was providing care services in the house, a woman they saw every day, and they loved her so much. But as missionaries, they do not feel under threat. They were shaken, especially because of the intervention of the security forces who stormed the house as soon as they were told an attack was underway, knowing that the man might still be inside. They broke into the house smashing down the door. That is why they were shaken”. The Archbishop confirmed that the motives behind the housebreaking and the killing of the woman are still unclear. “The director of the house told me that no one was heard speaking Arabic, and that it did not look like a Jihadist threat. We are waiting for the killer to be arrested. Only then will we be able to understand many things”. Mgr. Carrè never spoke of “fear”. “We are concerned about what has happened to us, but our attitude will always be the same: we may be worried, we have to be prudent, but we do not feel under threat as Catholics. I have seen this attitude even in the Fathers housed in the retirement home: they are under shock, but their attitude is one of great dignity”.

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