28 March 2018, The Tablet

Christopher Howse on the murdered French Gendarme and dying for the 'scattered children of God'

Why the heroic self-sacrifice of Arnaud Beltrame illustrates that martyrdom is the opposite of terrorism


I’M NOT SURE the international press quite got the drift of Bishop Alain Planet of Carcassonne’s quotation. It was sent out by news agencies reporting the Mass at which the police officer Arnaud Beltrame was remembered. Colonel Beltrame took the place of a woman hostage at the Super U supermarket at Trèbes and lost his life.

“It is better that one man dies for the people, so that the nation doesn’t perish,” are the words reported from the bishop’s homily. They originally came from the high priest Caiaphas, not usually a role model for bishops. But then the evangelist notes that “He did not say this on his own” but prophesied in his office that Jesus would die “for the scattered children of God, to bring them together”.

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